Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Claim

I'm running away, yet again, for a few days. I'm having a show in Auckland. It's at Oedipus Rex. Here's the invitation.

If you live in Auckland please come along to the opening next Tuesday and say "hi". If you don't live in Auckland, send a proxy along instead and get them to say "hi".

And just cos it'd be rude not to mention it, Jodi is in a group show up there. Here's her invitation.

If you've read that carefully you'll notice that Jess Parker is also in that show. She studied with Jodi, has shown a bit at Photospace, currently works for the Timaru Herald, and has a nice blog and a website too (permanent links over on the left there). She takes nice photos. I've nearly bought a couple ... but I'm a tightwad.

And while I'm giving others props, check out my colleague Paul's new site. There are a couple of fun games you can play flicking through the pics - well it was fun for me anyway. 1) work out how many shoots I assisted on. 2) work out how many shots I feature in. Oh the hours of fun to be had there.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

The Tester

I'm trying to clean out my hard drive at the moment. Here are a bunch of shots I've been keeping for months and I'm not sure why. They're from a camera test thing I did last October. I think it was for a job I had coming up which required my shooting a bunch of people and getting prints done. If you look at the file names, and know a bit about digital photography, you may figure out what I was doing. I'm sure it'd be quite interesting to someone, but I'm not about to bore you all with the technical detail - cos even though it's kinda important to my job, it bores me.

Even though they were only shot a few months ago, it struck me that I look much younger in them. Maybe I look like I look, and I just see myself as older. Or maybe my crappy digital takes ten years off. I'm sure one of you rude buggers will tell me.

I promise I'll try to find some interesting and exciting photos to post soon.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

The Moving

This is how I finished one of these films. You can only shoot so much stuff without feeling like you're repeating yourself when you're wandering around for hours working on a project.

Especially when you've wandered the same ground five times before and pointed the camera at the same stuff five times before.

These look like nothing I've shot before.

At least I'll state that categorically here and now and won't let you anywhere near my files to prove otherwise.

In other news, ndiginiz posted a wonderful comment responding to my conflict which, while specifically about me, has enough bloody good points about how people look at and respond to photographs that you should all read it.

Friday, 25 May 2007

The Conflict

I was lunching with a friend the other day and, as happens, we were talking about photography. During the discussion I vocalised a conflict. One I wasn't fully conscious of prior to this conversation. But the conversations you have with yourself tend to be rather one-sided and it's not until you try explaining yourself to someone else that ideas/thoughts start to crystallise. At least that's how it works with me.

And the conflict? I want my pictures to mean something, to have a deeper resonance than mere surface beauty (though surface beauty is important to me also). The conflict arises in that I’m not so willing to come out and state my position. I want my work to have meaning but am ambiguous about presenting it to you.

Maybe that isn't much of an issue most of the time, but when you're working on projects becuase of the strong view you hold, then sometimes as an artist you shouldn't be afraid to say where you're coming from. I think, after our lunch, that I am now more willing forego ideas of subjectiveness, to present a stronger point of view and damn the consequences.

I believe that much of my (exhibited) work has a political – for want of a better word – viewpoint, but it isn’t necessarily obvious and may only exist for me because I know why I took those images. Sometimes the ‘politics’ only becomes clear to me sometime later, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there all along.

Maybe all of this is completely irrelevant to the viewer, but I know I have been struggling with issues all year, though I couldn’t say what or why. It's probably just the usual artist struggle, which is always there but just manifests itself in different ways. Now, at least, I think I know some of it.

And maybe I've created this conflict myself by wanting the viewer to 'understand' my work without giving them (m)any hints as to what there is to understand. Do I expect to much from people? Probably, yes.

So look out for blatant, in-your-face, let’s-tackle-the-big-issues photography from me in the future. Probably not so much on this blog – I’m still favouring it as a vehicle of documenting my various injuries (physical only) – but out there on the streets, in galleries and … um … in my head.

Oh, and I guess by now you worked out the conflict has nothing to do with me and the church. I know where I stand on that one.

I just don't know where I stand with myself.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

The Ball

This blog has the potenetial to turn into a documentary of my various injuries - here and here. A couple of weeks back I was asked by a friend to post any further injuries however. But I didn't post that week's one - it was only a small bruise on my arm which I can't actually remember getting.

I had to put this in though. Not because it's a great injury - there is a lump, it does hurt, and I'm limping a bit no doubt - but because it looks so cool.

Who'd thought a dimpled hockey ball would leave a dimpled mark?

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

The Optimist

Just in case yesterday's post left you feeling down, or wondering about my mental state, here's something to cheer you up - maybe.

Either Way

Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will blow away
Maybe I won’t feel so afraid
I will try to understand
Either way

Maybe you still love me
Maybe you don’t
Either you will or you won’t
Maybe you just need some time alone
I will try to understand
Everything has its plan
Either way
I’m gonna stay
Right for you

Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will roll away
Maybe I won’t be so afraid
I will understand everything has its plan
Either way

Actually once you get past the first couple of lines, or maybe even when you (unlike me) read the title, you realise that it's more non-commital than unbridled optimism.

These words are the first words on Wilco's new album - Sky Blue Sky. It's nice. It's a grower. You might like it. You might not. I take no responsibility.

Oh and a picture - cos I can't not have a picture.

How about some ex-dinner, cos dinner's a good thing. Even I look forward to dinner. Sometimes I'm looking forward to dinner at before I get up.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The Pessimist

It's interesting what you can discover when you download 'educational' podcasts like these ones.

For example, the show from a couple of weeks ago introduced me to this:

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

It was written by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) in 1851, on the occasion of his honeymoon. Clearly he was a happy man. There's a beauty in his pessimism that appeals to me, though I'm not entirely certain why. Maybe I strive for a similar beautiful pessimism/cynicism/harsh reality in some of my own work. Maybe I just like the fact that he's a miserable bugger like me.

Anyway here's a picture which may or may not fit with the theme of today's post.

It was raining that afternoon.

And as a complete aside, it's odd how people find me here. Who would have thought that this little blog would come so high up on a google search such as this? It was definitely someone who knew what they wanted. I'm not sure they found it though. Definitely not here that's for sure.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

The Bypass

The other Friday night while working on a webpage essentially in the hopes that it could lead to some more paid work coming my way, I remembered about another bunch of pages I'd been meaning to get up and out in front of the public. So on Saturday night, after a trip to Wanganui and Palmerston North and an opening at the City Gallery and a few drinks at Mighty Mighty I went home and worked on it.

So I welcome you to the public launch of the "mildly exciting and historically significant" thing I mentioned in Thursday's post.

Check this out.

I warn you now that there are 669 images over 24 pages, so some pages will take an age to load up if you're still on dial-up - so best if you wait until you get to work.

I'm happy to be corrected on any of the captions if you see glaring mistakes, or can name some of the people in the shots.

The design is very simple, and hopefully the flow works. Let me know your thoughts about anything to do with the site. And feel free to let others know about it if you think they'll be interested.

And, just in case you were wondering, you can get to the site via the gallery page on my website. But of course you'll just bookmark the main page anyway, won't you my loyal readers.

Friday, 18 May 2007

The Published

Man, for a while there I thought it'd never happen. But it has.

Yes I have at long last been published ... this year. If you squint you'll see my name there in the esteemed pages of the esteemed and essential journal we call The Photographers Mail.

It's an honour. It's a privilege. It's probably the highlight of my career thus far.

And just to prove I'm not having you on, here's a close up.

Naturally there is a story as to why I took that particular photo but I can't be bothered to tell yous it, suffice to say spending a day on set at "Dancing With The Stars" is alternately educational and boring, with a brief moment (during the live broadcast!!) of tears.

And if you want your own copy of this esteemed and essential journal so that you too can have a copy of my photo, pop into any camera store over the next couple of weeks and pick one up. It's so cheap it's actually free.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Campus

These are a couple of shots I took when I was up in Auckland at the end of last year doing the Lewis Baltz masterclass thing.

They're part of the AUT campus across the road from where our gathering was held.

I'm working on something mildly exciting and historically significant at the moment. It's taking a bit of time, but all going well I'll be able to tell you all about it real soon. If you feel I've been lazy with my blogging of late please accept my apologies.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

The Court

Monday, 14 May 2007

The Emotion

I learnt something on the weekend.

I learnt that it's a very strange feeling to have a sudden burst of completely uncharacteristic emotion.

It was an incredibly intense combination of frustration, anger, and disappointment. And I very nearly responded to it primevally - beating up on the goal and breaking my hockey stick. Instead, being the sane(ish), level-headed kind of person I am, I said to myself "You'll look like a dick and it won't achieve anything" and almost instantly the feeling disappeared. So much so that seconds later I was joking with folk about it all.

You see, we were playing promotion/relegation on Sunday. Basically playing to go up a grade. At the end of regulation play it was 2-2. The referee sadistically called time just as one of our guys was lining up a huge shot at goal. It was mean, but the ref definitely showed a rather funny sense of comedic timing. Anyway, that lead to a couple of periods of golden goal, and then to strokes if it was still even.

My moment came in the dying seconds of the second extra period, having made an (uncharacteristically) decent save at the top of the circle, only to be surrounded by 3 opposition players and none of my team. Unsurprisingly they scored. Equally surprisingly I felt an incredibly intense combination of frustration, anger, and disappointment as a consequence of loosing the game, and hence our promotion, despite having done my best while feeling the rest of the team let me (and consequently themselves) down.

It was weird. It was cool. It was learning.

Neat eh?!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

The Continuation

While we're at it I might as well post the other shots from last weeks farm. Then I can move on. Maybe find something more interesting to post next time.


But probably not.

This is a shed.

This is a close up of a shed.

This is the dog area. Aaaawwwww cute doggies. Eating meat.

Friday, 11 May 2007

The Farm

Two more shots from this weeks farm. It was a lovely spot. And a lovely day.

And here's one of the crew in front of the shearing shed, late afternoon.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The Meat

I shot these images on Monday, on the farm in the Wairarapa, and I feel they are somehow appropriate to how I'm feeling right now.

I had this rant with a friend last week about how everyone thinks I'm a bum cos I don't 'work' a forty hour week, and get paid a nice comfortable salary etc etc, when the reality is that I put in far more than forty hours a week to my job. The last month has been one of working days (paid work) then coming home and having to organise exhibitions and other projects into the small hours. And sometimes it is incredibly taxing.

Today for example I was up earlyish to organise stuff for tonight. Then I put in five hours of paid work. Then I came home and did a couple of hours of unpaid work, which included an email which increased my stress levels somewhat. Then I had a two hour meeting about a project I'm working on. Then came home, and have sent a few more emails regarding paid and unpaid work (including one agressive one to a client who consistently annoys me). And now, I'm ranting here instead of going into the darkroom to work on what I need to be doing there. But seeing as it's after 10pm and I'm doing a freebie tomorrow morning and I feel like a piece of meat impaled on a butchers hook, I'm going to try and chill out a bit.

And you all sit there and go "Oh you poor dear. But you've brought it on yourself by choosing your own path, so sucks to you!!" And I go "Thanks arsehole" (in a purely loving way you understand).

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

The Cows

There's something about cows.

About the way they look. The way they stand. The way they move. They way they sound. And the way they look.

Gary Larson knew it. I know it too.

These cows were on the farm we were shooting at on Tuesday. The farm itself was nothing special. But the cows were cool. So cool.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

The Pool

I've just come back from spending the last couple of days shooting on a couple of farms out of Martinborough. It was a grand time - though the accomodation, food, and wine were not up to my usual on-the-job travelling style. Damned cheap clients.

If you remember, back in February I accompanied Sharyn on a trip to the Wairarapa. As part of that trip, I had the pleasure of introducing Sharyn to the pleasure of Martinborough Pool - not that I'd ever been there before, but Sharyn was unaware of its existence, whereas I did know of it.

I took some photos. On my camera.

Friday, 4 May 2007

The Perspective

Man I love my job. Some days.

Yesterday afternoon, for example, I wandered the streets for an hour or so looking for a wallet. A very specific wallet.

At one hip wee store I found some lovely wallets, but they didn't meet my requirements.

At another hip wee store, I found some more lovely wallets. Again they didn't meet my requirements, but these ones were funny.

I like this wee little let's-just-put-your-life-in-perspective ditty.


Yes, really I am just a wannabe rock'n'roll star out to save the world.

Then there's this one.



And I was so close to becoming a chemist (okay, a biochemist) too. But instead I decided to be an artist.

And get shot down by cool merchandise!!

Oh my fragile psyche is collapsing under it's own weight.

Right now I'm off to the Hawkes Bay for a couple of days, back in town for one night, then off to the Wairarapa. Leading the busy life of the photograhic assistant.

Oh, and a picture, seeing as this is a kinda photoblog thing. Check out that perspective!!

And for something rather wacky check out this from my friend Jodi.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

The Picture

This is a picture of me, drawn by my niece. It's me with curly hair - apparently my wavy hair doesn't cut it. And while you can't see my feet, apparently I'm wearing heels. Goes with the dress see.

When we did the family thing a couple of weeks back this same niece started calling me weird and crazy.

Is it possible she knows me too well?!!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Hives

I like bee hives. Quite frankly, I can't really say why. They are surreptitiously ubiquitous.

On a completely unrelated matter, check this out - before the lawyers step in. It's funny and topical - and I say that as a proud Genesis customer.