Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Wrap

Neice #2's first Christmas. Yay.

Neice #1's um ... sixth (?) Christmas. Yay.

Neice #2 surrounded by some of her presents. Yay.

And what happens an hour or so later.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The Father

Christmas 2005.

Santa can be scary.

It didn't take too long for the wee one to come round though.

And become Santa's little helper.

Mind you it probably helped that the Santa was my dad (a gentle man if ever there was one), and 90% of the presents were for the wee one.

Insert appropriate seasons greeting here.

Monday, 24 December 2007

The Godfather

Yesterday I had to get up far too early for a Sunday.

Partly my fault, cos there's a photo I've been hoping to get for a couple of weeks which I thought required me shooting it soon after sunrise. I was wrong. As I found out yesterday. It's either just before sunrise. Or a couple of hours after.

Partly cos these two ladies (snotty nose and all) got baptised at the ungodly hour of 8am.

It was the first church service I've been to for years. Last time I was in this church was for the kids parents wedding nearly 10 years ago. There have been a couple of memorial services, and a funeral or two, but nothing full on church service like yesterday.

From memory the last church service I went to was midnight mass at the Catholic Cathedral in Seville in 1998 - just the place for a born and bred Anglican to be spending Christmas Eve. Interestingly enough, at least I thought it was, the service was in Latin and the only locals in attendance seemed to be those taking the service. All them damned tourists were there probably hoping to get a taste of the Spanish Christmas only to discover the Sevillians knew better.

Anyway, growing up we always did the 10am service. I'm not sure I've ever been to an 8am service before. And crikey, talk about Gothic. I guess it was what they call High Anglican. The music was so heavy, and whoever wrote it seemed to think the melody and the lyrics didn't have to work together in any way. So you get a room full of people half mumbling words cos they can't quite figure out what they should be singing where.

My memory of church was that, boring as it was, at least there was a sense of joy, of lightness, to it. Yesterday, however it was heavy.

I was there to state before God that "I believe and trust In God the Father, maker and sustainer of all things; and in God the Son, my saviour Jesus Christ; and in God the Holy Spirit, giver of life and truth. This is my faith." And "I will love this child and share my faith with her/him." And "In faith I turn to Christ, my way, my truth, my life, as I care for this child."

I wasn't struck down, so I guess God (being omniscient) realised that I was there for my family and not for Him/Her, and decided that taking out an avowed agnostic two days before Christmas might not be the best look for the church.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

The Lazy

I wasn't going to blog today but ...

So I'm posting a bunch of images that have been sitting around waiting for their moment of glory for months. They were taken in March 2002. I posted a similar one soon after I started wasting time on this blog thing.

These three are from Charles Plimmer Park on Mount Victoria. The standards looked good there.

But ... the main reason for this post is because I just flicked through the Jim Barr & Mary Barr blog and noticed a couple of posts. One cos it's nicely frivolous in a there-are-worse-ways-to-spend-your-summer-holiday kinda way. (I can safely say I've seen six of them, and have no great desire to see most of the rest - but that's just me, no reason for you not to fulfil your arthouse duties.)

One cos it's nicely questioning - in an unquestioning kinda way. You can view the full report, and list, here. And if you click on the 'Te Papa' label at the end of their post and you get a bunch of interesting comments/points by the pair about said institution.

Friday, 21 December 2007

The Complementary

Last year I started shooting a new body of work. Or at least shooting stuff which could have become a new body of work.

I got stuck. Didn't really know what I was doing, wanting to say, etc.

I stopped shooting it.

A couple of months ago, wandering over the hill to Aro Valley I saw this. So I pulled out the camera, which by chance I happened to have on me, and I shot these.

I still don't really know what I'm doing, wanting to say, etc., but at least with these ones I can make up some rubbish about barriers - physical and implied - and colour theory.

Once I'm done it'll sound real arty. And it'll be okay that the photos are only passable and I still don't really know what I'm doing, wanting to say, etc.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

The Wannabes

Here are a couple of wannabe good photos.

They can want all they like. It ain't gonna help any.

I think I was trying to channel Wayne Barrar this day.

I could try all I wanted. It wasn't going to help any.

And on a completely unrelated bitter note - cos I can do bitter, and jealous, angsty, annoyed, peeved, depressed, I have a full range of negative emotions. I entered this thing a few months back. A few weeks ago they told me I was a loser. Today they announced the winners. I think I failed cos my pictures aren't boring enough. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Holidays

Here's some pics from where I spent my 'holidays' last summer.

I won't be spending my this summer there.


Monday, 17 December 2007

The Then

And then there's Explosions In The Sky on February 12, Broken Social Scene on February 21 (seems to be why Feist isn't playing the NZ Festival- boo hoo).

And then the one we've all been hanging out for, Wilco on March 23. And some other fellas are playing over our way too.

And then, just before this blog twists from a photo blog to a music blog, here's a poor stitching job done by some piece of software (Nikon probably) of some shots I took on my first digital camera (a Nikon point and shoot) from the top of a track in the Orongorongos in early 2004 (probably).

It is a fantastic walk. Done it twice now - once with the 4x5. It takes about six hours to do the loop. Six hours on my own with just my brain for company. Yay.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Bird

I just got an email from Little Ross of the Bird Nest Roys. This internet thing is so awesome man.

He said:

It is Little Ross lead singer/songwriter of the about to be reunited for one night only gig supporting our old mates Ghost Club at the Rising Sun on Aucklands K Rd, on Jan 2/ 2008...yep, have been roped into doing it!! Should be pretty good though as we have the odd plays for fun, and even though we dont look the same(me especially!!!think fatter, older, greyer) we still sound as good..

So ... um ... guess where I'm hoping to be on January 2.

In that thing I wrote for Public Address I neglected to say that when I was chatting to Pete he said that they had started playing together again. They had reconvened as another band but were talking about doing BNR stuff. It was early days (August 2006) and he didn't know what was going to happen. And as I didn't know what had happened I didn't want to be advertising an event that wasn't going to happen.

I'm also guessing that Ross won't mind me spreading the word to the six of you who read this.

Road trip time.


And then there's Low playing January 9, which I'm kinda resigned to missing, and the Big Day Out on January 18 - yay Arcade Fire.

So three weeks in Auckland huh. That'll be expensive.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Kudos

A week ago I stated rather sadly "but I'm still waiting for a show to break even."

I am waiting no more. I pulled down my show at Photospace having only made one sale. As I had done when I showed the work in Palmerston North. And yes, one sale is better than none sale.

But the other day I had a couple of people around and they bought a couple. Meaning that, thanks to some very nice folk - all women as it happens (does that mean anything?!) - I have broken even.

And before all of you hit me up for money thinking I'm now some rich artist, I would like to point out that break even for me means that I have recovered the cost of printing and framing the work, and costs directly associated with the exhibition. It does not mean that I've recovered the cost of producing the work - i.e. driving around the country, shooting dozens of rolls of film, getting them processed etc., the cost of cameras or insurance etc., nor the time spent doing any of this.

Still it's a good feeling knowing I can probably afford Christmas this year. So thanks ladies.

And while we're on the kudos trip. Today I collected my win from the Post Office - as shown above. Those of you who read the thing I wrote which caused me to be a winner will have noticed my pitiful plea at the end:

PS - I’ve spent the last few years trying to find a copy of the album on CD. I’d be most obliged if anyone out there has a copy they’re happy to get rid of (god forbid) or, dare I say it, loan me (nudge nudge wink wink).

Well. Last week a friend popped on to a local website she rarely visits (and one I visit regularlyish) and found a copy. She even bought it. Then gave it to me. Nice. So thanks Russell (and Grant) for the book, and thanks T Lady for the CD.

And just cos I can. And just cos I also picked it up today. I just scored myself a copy of this from Penguin. Awesome. Thanks guys. From a quick 3 second flick through I can safely say the photography looks pretty lovely. Look out for a review in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Digital

Ages ago I thought I made some declaration about posting no digital shots here. After a quick search of the archives it would appear I made no such declaration. Good thing too, as I've since broken said rule numerous times and am about to break it again. At least I would be breaking it again had I made such a rule which it appears I didn't.

I did, however, declare "You will never see a picture of anybody on this blog. I hate people. That's why I photograph." At least I've been honest enough to stick blindly and faithfully to that.

So anyway, this morning, with digital camera in hand, I was wandering off to the lounge to get a quick reference shot of some work for a meeting a couple of hours later, and inadvertently took this.

"Ooh" I said (to myself), "That's quite nice."

Then of course I uploaded the RAW file and converted it, and went (as I often do) "how come things look so much better on the tiny screen on the camera than on my desktop?!".

Oh well. It's still quite nice - especially after a bit of tweaking of contrast and saturation. Absolutely meaningless and pointless, but that's exactly what digital cameras are for.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Link

A friend just sent me a bunch of images.

I'm sure I've seen that one before somewhere.

This one looks like it could be a Matt Couper original, but I can't say for certain. It has a Matt Couper painting style, but equally it could be a Philip Guston, and it certainly contains some Gustonian elements.

And my guess is that this is a Philip Guston from 1980 called 'untitled'.

Nice wee connections there. I've been reading a lot lately about how photographers use elements of painting (composition, palette, lighting etc.) to create their work. Me, I just take pictures. If anything I make some photos because they remind me of a photo I've seen elsewhere (many of my posts make reference to these references so track them down yourself). But I've never consciously sought to 'rephotograph' a painting, so it's cool when serendipitous moments such as these occur. Thanks Matt.

I could now have a rant about the rephotograph, because there is currently a rephotography show on at Pataka. The work involved the artist finding a book of Renaissance portraits then scouring magazines to find images which approximate them, then photographing them both. When I saw this article about Richard Prince's work from the New York Time, I couldn't help but chuckle when I read this:

"My whole issue with this, truly, is attribution and recognition. It’s an unusual thing to see an artist who doesn’t create his own work, and I don’t understand the frenzy around it."

He [Krantz] added: "If I italicized 'Moby-Dick,' then would it be my book? I don’t know. But I don’t think so."

At least with painting, and this is something both Matt and Peter Ireland (amongst others) do regularly, the act of copying someone else's work in an act of creation, not just copying. The painter uses their own style and incorporates it into a work that is, generally, bigger than the elements they're referencing. Rephotography has no such creativeness and the 'meaning' is in the concept, not the work itself.

I'm sure it's been done, but I'm still waiting to see a show where all the work is artist/curator statements. A few randomly placed long, involved, art theory rantings, attempting to add great weight and intellectual meaning to a mediocre idea. At least then the artist doesn't have the hassle of actually producing the physical work.

But I wasn't going to rant. So I won't.

Oh, and flicking through Matt's site I noticed that Peter Ireland (refer to this post) does have a website with some of his paintings on it (refer to it here).

PS - just to make this wee circle complete, today I received a response to my response to Peter's response. It came in the form of a letter and was delivered to my letterbox by my friendly local postie. Awesome. And none of you are going to know what he said. Suffice to say it was lucid, well thought out, and bloody good. I really like a good letter, but very few people do letters these days. My response to Peter's response to my response to Peter's response will be winging it's way to Wanganui sometime in the next week or so all going to plan.

Double PS - this just arrived in my emailbox. It answers stuff.

Monday, 10 December 2007

The Young

Right that's enough annoying depressing ranting.

These shots were taken on the occasion of my Dad's 60th birthday. He's older now.

So is the rude little girl in the pictures. She's more than twice that age now. Time flies when it's other people's kids.

Friday, 7 December 2007

This World

I am, currently, feeling somewhat pessimistic about my place in this world. This world being the "Art World".

I feel I am constantly struggling to produce decent work, for a lack of real return. Sure I have fans. But, sorry guys, verbal support doesn't help develop a career, nor ensure it continues.

And sure, I make sales, which is great, but I'm still waiting for a show to break even.

And then I see things like this:

Celebrity Art Auction

The James Wallace Arts Trust in partnership with the Morrinsville Art Gallery Charitable Trust strongly supports the establishment of the Morrinsville Art Gallery. The Gallery will have the unique advantage of having permanent curated revolving exhibitions from The Wallace Collection which is widely recognised as being one of the most important collections of contemporary New Zealand Art. It will also have galleries and spaces for community exhibitions and activities.

Please find the attached flyer for a Celebrity Art Auction fundraiser to aid this very worthy cause.

So here we have a celebrity art auction being held to raise funds for a public art gallery. A public art gallery with unique access to one of the most prestigious private art collections in the country. And they're asking "celebrities" to produce "art" so they can raise some money to help establish/run the gallery.

And who are these celebrities? Cath Tizard. Wilson Whineray. Jason Gunn. Danyon Loader. Joe Karam. Annah Stretton. Amongst others. All exceptional artists as you'll no doubt agree.

As far as I can tell, the only one with any proven artistic talent is Rosemary McLeod.

So this question really has to be asked.

Do the Morrinsville Art Gallery Charitable Trust really not see the irony of auctioning 'art' by non artists to raise funds for what they hope will be a reputable art gallery?

Do they not think that their actions are in fact devaluing 'Art'?

Isn't this counter to the aims of both The Wallace Collection and The Wallace Award?

Why couldn't they, for example, have approached past winners of the Wallace Award - you know, well known, respected, and talented artists - and asked them to gift a work for the auction. I'm sure most would have been happy to oblige. I'm equally sure the quality of art would be substantially higher. And I'm sure the money raised would be greater.

I guess there could be an argument (a very weak argument) along the lines that people are really buying the art because they believe in, and wish to support, the cause. But why not give those people something decent for their effort instead of the worthless c#ap they're likely to be getting?!

But whatever. Every one knows art has no real value. Every one knows a Danyon Loader original is worth the same as a Bill Hammond. And it's only a bunch of elitist leftie art snobs who say any different. So who the f#ck cares!!!

Rant over.

For now.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

The Philosophy

How I spend my days.



Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The Pressure

It's been a longer day than I'm used to these days.

I can't cope with these 9-5 things - especially on one coffee and no lunch.

And I can't handle the pressure of writing some thrilling for you all.

So instead you get some bad pics from a couple of months back.

Those flowers are now fruit. Soon they'll be mush in my backyard.


Monday, 3 December 2007

The Teenytiny

This little fella was hiding in with my toothbrush this morning.

I got a wee bit of a surprise.

It probably got a bit of a surprise too.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Response

I have just noticed that the wonderful Peter Ireland (google him and you come up with masses of hits (some of which are the other Peter Ireland) cos he's written a lot, but this links to some of his paintings) commented on one of my recent book reviews.

He said:
"Hey Andy, how come you never 'fessed up before that what I wrote was "incomprehensible" theory etc?! The phone's always switched on and I long for the dialogue/debate that never happens. Maybe it got squeezed out in that moment between colonialism & globalisation?"

It appears that "This item is closed, it's not possible to add new comments to it or to vote on it" so I am responding here.

It is because, Peter, your intellect scares me. A few years ago we bumped into each other outside Christopher Moore Gallery (from memory), and went to Krazy Lounge for a coffee. Quite obviously it was a few years ago. We had a wonderful discussion about photography and art and film and music (from memory). But I did spend a bit of time going "bloody hell, this guy is a thinker, an opinion maker, an intellect, and has the most amazing recall".

A number of people have said something similar about your writing, that it falls into one of two camps - heavy theory, or incredibly approachable. Of course the people who have said that to me share a similar background to myself.

There is part of me that feels, due to my lack of formal art school education, that I am missing out on a whole other world of art. While I am educating myself, it is a slow process, because it is self-educating. I am no longer active in a creative microcosm where people are constantly producing and discussing work/art/photography, and that just makes it all that much more difficult. (And that's a very good reason for doing an MFA, eh Jodi?)

Beyond offering opinion, I do sometimes feel I'm not qualified to participate in some conversations. I have been known to just sit there and say to myself "I know nothing, I'm not worthy to be in your presence". But those conversations can also be exhilarating, and can leave me feeling exhausted and overwhelmed from the amount of new information thrown at me and the intellectual stimulation involved.

This is what you do to me Peter, along with a number of other folk I know (both within and without the art world). As much as I enjoy your company, and we have over the years, you do sometimes make me feel inferior. And I am. I just don't like to feel it. I guess I need to get over myself.

Also, I've never been one for imposing on people. I like to know that my company is welcomed, and have never really been one for calling out of the blue. Now I know that I can, I shall. You may well hear from me next time I'm in Wanganui. Likewise, feel free to call me next time you're down here. I'm not sure if you're aware of this but we do good coffee in Wellington too.

Oh, and because this is supposed to be a photo blog, here are a couple of pictures with a Peter Ireland connection. Not that most of you will know what that connection is. They are from this show.

I met Peter a couple of years after he saw these works, and he remembered them. In detail. I was impressed.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

The World

Today is World AIDS Day. As some of you will know it is a subject that has been close to my heart for some time.

I wrote this in 2001 for my first solo show:
As an adolescent growing up in the 1980’s, discovering sex and sexuality, I have grown up in a world with HIV/AIDS. While it has not really impacted on my life until this year, it has long held my interest.

It still does.

At the moment there's a fantastic series "The Age of AIDS" screening, naturally, late on Sunday nights on TV One least those of strong moral and ethical fibre be offended. Tomorrow is episode three. It's well worth staying up late for, or setting the video, or finding a bit torrent version. It's informative, scary, sad, and dumbfounding.

Here's a pic of Billy Apple at Hamish McKay's old gallery. Billy made a set of these works - screen printed perspex from memory - and Hamish had the show. It was Saturday, 26 May 2001, and it was only on for the day. A few of the Art fraternity came out, but not many - not while I was there anyway.

Being Billy, the size and price of the work was related to the Golden Ratio or something, but money from each sale was going to the NZ Aids Foundation. They were only $500 or so. I would have bought one were it not for the fact that I was a poor student (and, more likely, hadn't yet caught the Art buying bug).

This is the table they were on. You got an envelope too, complete with NZAF branding no less, and maybe a certificate of authentication and edition number (but I can't honestly say cos I didn't buy one).

Friday, 30 November 2007

The Soundtrack

As the friend who sent me the text informing me of the news said, "seems like you're getting the recognition you deserve albeit for your written skills".

Yeah. About bloody time man.

And so it is true. I have received some recognition of my talents. $50 worth of recognition actually.

You see I just won me a copy of this here book.

Just by writing this here piece. So, cos I'm making more from my writing than my shooting I'm going to write a bunch more. Today.

I tried scoring a copy of the book for my normal review folk, but their music editor had already scored himself a copy. And an interview with it's author. You can read his words here.

There's a nice connection with two of the other Public Address winners - the Kevin Bacon effect and all that . My mate and I were at this gig too, from memory discovering The Inhalers for the first time. I think we knew of them but hadn't actually seen them live. So we saw them live. And we both bought a copy of their LP 'Nudist on the Beach of Love' - signed and everything - straight after their gig. I haven't heard it for years. It's comicness soon got boring for me. So much so that when 'Holy Family Three Pack' came out a I didn't even consider buying it. I did, however, buy Nigel's book. (For this to make any sense you need to read the link above.) It came in a brown paper bag. With a weetbix. And a cassette. And, I think, some other stuff. I loved that cassette. It was more serious, more beautiful than The Inhalers. I've still got it somewhere, under the house with all my other tapes.

The main reason we were at that gig was to see the Able Tasmans. In my opinion, one of the most underrated NZ bands ever. (A lot of people are agreeing with me now, especially after the release of this a couple of years back.) They were touring this album. If I had a top five list of favourite NZ albums it would probably be there. Needless to say, the day after the gig, I was down at Chelsea Records, Manners Mall, handing over my hard-earned student allowance to buy the tape - from memory it came out in that weird period in the early 90s when Flying Nun were releasing new material on LP and cassette, and only occasionally releasing CDs (not that I had a CD player at the time). A couple of years later they released 'Somebody Ate My Planet'. It had some cracker songs, but wasn't as strong a whole. Then came 'Store In A Cool Place', which possibly betters 'Hey Spinner'. Possibly.

When I was helping write/edit/research this book I was disappointed that I didn't have/make time to write a chapter about the Able Tasmans. Especially when they played the Wellington book launch at the old Bodega. Graeme Humphreys even made a pointed comment about their omission. And fair enough too. They broke up soon after. I don't think it was because of us.

Along with fact checking and adding to the (then) comprehensive discography, I wrote too long a piece on Shihad. They'd only released two albums at that stage and didn't really deserve the space they got compared to, say, The Chills. I really wanted to write about Strawpeople too - give a bit of recognition to the burgeoning 'electronica' scene. But I was working and had my own band and a girlfriend and was still playing hockey and I didn't have the time.

So now I'm just waiting on Russell to send me my copy of 'Soundtrack' so I can find out just what an opinionated chap Grant Smithies is. Then I can sit comfortably (alone) in my lounge and abuse his choices and omissions. Cos that's what folk like me do.

Oh, and just to change subjects but kinda keeping with this Kevin Bacon thing, this blog thing is a weird wee world. I've suddenly started getting quite a bit of traffic thanks to onemomentcaller. He blogged me ages ago, and I've been checking in on him periodically since cos he writes good and random stuff. I recently added him to my links list, and he recently did the same for me. Since then I've been getting a few visits a day via him. So thanks mate. But what makes it really weird is that he's in Wellington and is completely anonymous to me. As I may be to him, though he at least knows my name if not my face. I'm still struggling to cope with these relationships of anonymity. I want to know the people reading me. I want to know the people I read. Just being able to say 'hi' and smile knowingly would be enough. Cos after all you are getting to know (the blog) me by reading this. Maybe.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Highlight

I'm in the process of joining an image library to try and finally generate some income from this damned thing I do. I live in hope that it will actually happen. So for the past few weeks, in between looking for a real job, doing the odd photography job, and doing nothing, I've been scanning my back catalogue.

It takes ages cos I have to tidy up the scans in Photoshop and add relevant metadata and all that kind of stuff.

I've had to rescan some stuff I'd previously scanned, but I've also done some unscanned films and found cool stuff like these pics.

It's all art mate. Don't know if it's really stock material but they're going to get them anyway.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Emergency

Last weekend I made an emergency trip to Palmerston North and Wanganui. It was all very last minute but there were people and shows I needed to see. Pleasantly it coincided with the opening of Matt Couper's Tylee Residency show at the Sarjeant. So we popped in on that before heading back to Wellington.

Man it's a boring drive, especially doing the return journey in one day, especially after having been to Palmerston North for work only a couple of days before. So I was grateful for the company of a couple of friends.

In between popping into the McNamara, briefly catching up with Matt and Jo over tea, and going to the Sarjeant opening, I managed to sneak in a trip to Castlecliff and knock off a couple of shots. These two to be precise.

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Seaside

A couple of weeks back a friend asked me if I would be so kind as to photograph her friend. Heaven only knows why. There was talk of this friend of a friend making an interesting subject.

So we loaded up the car and headed for the seaside. Scrambled up a hill. Set up the camera. Took our clothes off - well one of our party took some of her clothes off. And took some photos.

We did a range of poses - including the requisite Jim Morrison Jesus pose. And just to be a bit different we did a 55PN version too.


Well I reckon they are eh.