Wednesday, 24 July 2019

AND FAR AWAY : A Continuing Journey

(c) Rachel Maloney

From. 2007 to 2016, I was photographed by 425 photographers. Some of them photographed me more than once. Between them, they took thousands of photographs in different styles, using different camera and ideas and concepts. I called this project "Over the Hill". I did not have one bad experience. I could have gone on and, as Rankin said, go for the 500 but I felt that there had to be an end point - I wanted to put it all into a box, tie it up with ribbon and put it on the shelf and, every so often, take it down and marvel at all the wonderful people I had met and experiences I had had and places I had been.

However, I did not want to stop seeing these guys but I wanted to try a different approach which was not all about numbers and choosing one image from each shoot. I wanted to go further (whatever that meant). So, I continued approaching photographers but with a view to examining the whole shoot and also the intellectual and emotional connection with the photographer. So began "And Far Away"......

Sunday, 21 July 2019

LENKA RAYN H - Home - Part One

I stepped on the cobbles
leading to your garden gate.
you stood up
in a blue dress
I returned your wave.
home,
I felt I was coming home.
we arrived at the gate at the same time.
your open face,
full of smile and wonder,
greeted me.
I entered your house made of wood.
I entered your soul.
the floorboards creaked
it was as if the house was sighing.
we talked in circles
you pulled the curtain aside.
your dog, Kaja, was asleep.
the floor was covered in grey
you photographed me.
you stood behind me
and clicked
then it was over.
we ate,
we talked,
I drank cordial.
you invited me to walk with you and Kaja
but I declined.
I left,
I did not look back
until now.
I understand,
everything,
but me.



Sunday, 7 July 2019

JANE ANDREWS - ROOM 235

I came whistling down the corridors past Room 237, then 236 then a door with no number and then Room 235. Friends were there and greeted me as I walked in - Michael, Clare, Phil, Tim B and, of course, Jane, wonderful Jane, infuriating Jane, crazy-mixed-up-kid Jane, beautiful Jane, talented-up-to-her-eyeballs Jane.

yesterday tomorrow 

If you have to ask then you might as well go back to first principles. "Those that ask, don't get" - I'm not sure that I agree with that dictum. I think that, however open or closed the viewer's mind, he or she will always come away with something from a show containing work by Jane Andrews. It hits you smack between the eyes - the colour, the humour, the defiance, the poignancy. It blazes with ideas, quests and possibilities. A look, a long look, at the first piece opens you up for the next one. You want to scramble under the bed clothes in "Yesterday, Tomorrow" and see what the fuck is going on with the poor creature under there.

St. Teresa Pray for Me

"If you ever meet a nun, lift your cap". Have you ever met a nun like St Teresa? With arms, fingers, feet and teeth in her care but out of her control. Lift her cap and what do you find? Rotten gums, atrophied tissue or an empty shell under a forbidding sky - well, step inside the rubber ring and float about among the detritus and you will discover that the answer lies in your own mind.

Keep the Home Fires Burning
"Bye, busy backsun". Even a bear with little brain will love this room -it has a little smackerel of something for all the animals in the wood.

I am not going to comment on any more except to say that there are surprises galore. The MA show at Brighton University 58-67 Grand Parade, Brighton BN2 0JY is on until Saturday 13th July. It is open today until 4pm and every day thereafter from 10am to 5pm. The caretakers/security clear the place on the dot of closing time so, give yourself plenty of time not only to enjoy Room 235 but also the rest of an excellent show. 


I  really, really don't want to talk about it any more.



....and Pooh lay back with his paws under his head and asked himself "What are all these honey bees doing, buzzing around in my head?" And the more he wondered and found it difficult to understand, the more he liked the feeling the buzzing gave him. He got up and said to himself I must tell Piglet about this and he set off for Piglet's house. He found Piglet nailing a sign to his front door - it said "MiNe" Piglet sat down to rest and Pooh sat next to him and they both looked at the sign. After a while, Pooh said "Piglet, when you thought of what to write on that sign, did you feel a buzzing feeling inside your head?" Piglet thought back a few hours. He had thought of putting a door knocker under the sign but maybe a buzzer would be better. But he was tired of putting things on his door and said "I really, really, don't want to talk about it anymore " and Pooh closed his eyes and said "I understand".........

WEBSITE: www.janeandrews.co.uk

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Further Adventures of Ameena and Tim

Previously on Blogger.............




The Further Adventures of Ameena and Tim (it has a certain ring to it, doesn't it?). This is the story of our third shoot together, this time in a studio in Croydon which Ameena is using temporarily.

I love being shot in a studio because you can do whatever you like with complete abandon and Ameena is basically up for trying anything. We had a go at using different light, backgrounds, poses and costume and it was such fun. The shoot was about three hours I guess, I wasn't watching the clock - I was just enjoying myself immensely. Ameena has a wonderfully positive outlook towards her work and, therefore, fun always ensues but she is also very serious, very committed and very talented. Add this to a wise head, ambition and youth and, well, the world is her oyster.


We began with some clothed head shots and then these in different lights. Ameena was very strong in her direction in so far as where I stood and in what direction I faced but the rest she tended to leave to me. I seem to look sad in these shots (above and immediately below) but it was, in fact, more feeling the sheer emotion of being in that situation with a photographer who I know well - almost sacred.



In complete contrast are these shots where Ameena borrowed two heads from the artist who normally inhabits the studio. And I love the resultant shots, shown below.

 



In between, Ameena wanted to do some studies of my hands which, I adore. I adored doing it and I adore the results. When is a door not a door? When it is ajar - an old family joke. Seriously though, what is it about hands? They do tell a story.  In my case, the story of the right hand is that, in 1958, at the age of seven, I came home from hospital after having my tonsils removed and found, the following day, that I had contracted Polio. I was extremely lucky in that it seemingly affected only a muscle in my right thumb. Years later, in 2005, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's which initially affected my left side starting with a tremor in my left thumb. So, that is the story of my hands, not immediately obvious from Ameena's beautiful pictures shown below.



Finally, to the music of Vampire Weekend, I danced so that we could produce some blurred images. I don't think Ameena was a great fan of blurred photographs before but either my superb dancing or her great photography (guess which) seemed to change her views and some came out wonderfully well as you can see below.

 

 

So, there we are, another lovely day in the company of Ameena Rojee, Freelance Photographer and all round great friend. I sure that we shall collaborate again and that she will produce even better images. You may wonder how that could be possible but, with, Ameena, anything is possible.

WEBSITE: https://www.ameenarojee.co.uk/

Thursday, 20 June 2019

NICOLAS LABORIE - A Summer's Tale - Part Two

 
When I went to London to see Nicolas for our second shoot, it was June, the beginning of Summer. The leaves on the trees outside the window of his flat were bright green, not the tired hue of late summer. As I write this, the early summer has come round again and so it is an appropriate time to talk about the wet plate collodion shots that I have received from him.

I love Nicolas' easy way of communicating and working. He is not afraid to express his feelings about life, art, music anything really and therefore, one feels that there is no armour to pierce and that there is a direct route to his soul. A bit like a non-stop train where you go straight to your destination. So, Nicolas is the human equivalent of the Brighton to London Gatwick Express without the stop at Gatwick. In fact, he is French so maybe a non-stop TGV train.

Anyway, enough of toute cette sorte de chose. Nicolas and I had lovely day together. He prepared something easy to eat and he asked me to sprawl on his floor while he took and developed the wet plate collodion photographs. It was some time ago but I know we talked about poetry, photography and music. His photographs are meant to be handled - sometimes they appear grubby and blotchy, streaked or stained but this somehow makes them more beautiful and Nicolas' love for his work and the subject in hand is clear.

He loves the photograph above as I do. One hand grasping the leaves of the palm and other resting on them. They each reflect both the gentleness and strength of man, not surprisingly, as Nicolas has both qualities. The two photographs below which Nicolas regards as a diptych again accentuate gentle qualities with the covering of flowers on my body.



After the shoot, Nicolas walked with me to the bus stop and he stayed until I stepped on to the bus and he waved as it drew away and again, as I have done countless times before and since, I reflected on how much happiness and goodwill has been generated through my decision to be photographed by people as kind and thoughtful as Nicolas Laborie.

I know some people think it is weird, pervy or narcissistic, maybe all three but I have no misgivings - it has given me a purpose at a difficult time in my life and I have come to know a great deal of good people in the process.

WEBSITE: http://www.nicolaslaborie.com/fine-art

Thursday, 13 June 2019

AMY GRANTHAM

(c) Amy Grantham

This story began a long, long time ago in the Swinging Sixties when I was a teenager - a shy retiring teenager. I attended a private school in Woodside Park, London called "Holmewood". It was paid for by The Royal Masonic Institution of which my father had been a member for a short time before his death in 1953 when I was two years old. In May 1964, we moved from London to West Wittering in Sussex which coincided with a band called The Hollies releasing a single called "Here I Go Again". I had already bought their single "Just One Look" and what I loved were the harmonies which I could sing along to and feel as if I was a part of the band. I admired the voice of their lead singer, Allan Clarke, but it was the voice of Graham Nash which I particularly liked. 

At about the same time, there lived (this is beginning to sound like a fairy story and I guess that is what it is) a young girl of 10 years of age near Guildford called Jane who was also into music - but how could one not be at that time? In 1965, she attended her first pop concert at the old Guildford Odeon and one of the bands playing was The Hollies. 9 years later in 1974, I saw "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young" at Wembley Stadium and 5 years after that in 1979, I married Jane.

So what has this all got to do with the artist, Amy Grantham? Well, Amy is now with Graham Nash who photographed me as part of my project "Over the Hill" in 2016. I had seen Graham play in his solo concert in Union Chapel in London and, knowing him also to be a very talented photographer, the next day at the suggestion of his roadie, I travelled to Guildford and there, I accosted him and Amy in the car park outside the concert hall where he was to play that evening. I told him about the project and asked him to photograph me which he very graciously agreed to do. Amy said she was a photographer too and so I asked her to photograph me and Graham which she did. I wrote a piece on my blog about all this and Amy kept in touch and we met again in 2018, when she kindly arranged a pass backstage when Graham was playing at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.

(c) Amy Grantham
A few days ago, she sent me a link to her website and I was astounded by the depth and the variety and vitality of her work. Her photography on the site comprises self portraits and photographs of Graham. There is so much to see and admire in these photographs and I would love to see how she would photograph people she doesn't know and maybe landscapes too*. There is one very simple nude self portrait of her sitting on a chair. Her face is quiet and calm but her hands clenched hard together reveal a desire for more and a determination to go further. 
However, it is her paintings and her works on paper which I found astonishing. The paintings blaze in glorious colour and shape showing such freedom of expression and movement. They are alive - they are cool, they say Fuck you, let's dance and run and jump and roar. The works on paper are still and tranquil and soothing. And then, after all that, you move on to the collages where Enid Blyton meets Ryan McGinley in a constant assault on your senses.

(c) Amy Grantham

Put all these together and what have you got? A great artist. But and this is a big BUT - who am I to say? Take a look yourself and make up your own mind, go on - just one look.

WEBSITE :  https://www.amygrantham.com/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/iftheyonlyhadwings/ or https://www.instagram.com/woodstockings


Monday, 10 June 2019

A FILM by DAVID WARES


After the shoot with Dave, we discussed at some length how the film would look and the more we looked at the footage, the more we liked the questions and answers which produced far more spontaneity on my part. 

The editing took a while and the sound was a problem but we got there and it ended up very much Dave's film complimented by his excellent photography. I learned a lot during the whole process. There is a wonderful scene in Fleabag which, if you haven't seen it, is now on BBC iPlayer and if you have seen it, I would certainly recommend a second viewing. The scene is where the heroine meets the character played by Kristin Scott Thomas who says ''All we've got is people" which is true (to a certain extent - I'm not going into our relationship with animals, pets, nature etc) and lucky old us especially when one of those people is David Wares. 

I hope you enjoy this  -  https://vimeo.com/341162944

It was made by people, for people and with love. What more do you want?