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.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

The Photographs

In May 2004 I went to Taranaki. I made these two photographs. Along with a number of others.

They were made on the coast east of New Plymouth. They aren't the most amazing photographs I've made, but I like all the same. Especially the one above.

In November 2007 I posted these two images on my blog. That's why you're looking at them now.

Oh, and my latest review is also online. I'm still getting the hang of this review thing, and actually bought this before realising I probably could have blagged a free copy. Oh well.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Dusk

Many years ago, possibly around the time I took this, I borrowed a 6x17 camera. I used it to take the above shot. Can you tell what it's of? Can ya?! Huh??!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The Poor

Yesterday I went for a wee ride. I got so knackered I almost collapsed in a heap of exhaustion when I tried getting off my bike at the gate. It was great fun. Oh, and I shot more for a new series.

For a couple of years now David has been talking about his poorly remembered childhood.

I liked the idea so much I've been tempted to steal it wholesale on numerous occasions - idea, title, style, just different subject matter. But I think that'd be a bit rude.

Ripping off a famous photographer is one thing. Ripping off a friend is another entirely.

So instead we get my "A Poorly Focussed Life".

There is good reason why my life is so poorly focussed though. I was a bit suspect about buying this camera cos it was sold 'as is where is', and being the suspicious bugger I am I suspected that meant it was knackered.

On getting it home and unwrapped, I found that it smelt of mothballs, and only the 18mm lens was knackered. "Phil Jacobs" I thought.

Now I'm thinking "rather than ruin the soft focus (as in no focus) of this lens, let's just track down one in better order".

Oh yeah, and my latest review is up, in which I completely rubbish a book. I'm becoming the consummate reviewer - never happy.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

The Pop

Last week I asked Andrew Ross to do some printing for me. What with this nasty digital revolution we're having it's getting more and more difficult to source traditional silver gelatin products - especially in a small market such as New Zealand. Add to that the fact that more and more manufacturers of traditional silver gelatin products go bust as the years go by, and you can see that sad old-school buggers like me are digging themselves a hole.

As happened at the end of last year when I showed some of this work, I struggled to source the specific paper I use for these prints. Fortunately I found some in Australia and purchased enough to cover the printing for my Auckland showing of the series. But I made some new images for the Wellington outing, and again I struggled to source the specific paper I use for these prints. The main reason being that the company that makes it went bust in January and no one told me - rude bloody Czechs.

So anyway last week I asked Andrew Ross to do some printing for me. He made me a couple of POP prints. It's a very old technology, in fact its an update of the collodion printing process. It's only suitable for contact printing, and uses sunlight/UV light instead of an enlarger light. I'm by no means an expert, but Andrew is getting there.

The purpose of asking Andrew Ross to do some printing for me was to see if I may be able to use the process to produce these works in the future.

So for the benefit of your photographic education below we have four images in two pairs - one on POP printed under UV and toned (which is, apparently, integral to the POP process), one on multigrade variable contrast silver gelatin paper printed using a standard enlarger and untoned.

You should note that the POP print above is flatter than the other print. This is largely due to the fact that POP printing doesn't allow much scope for adjusting contrast, therefore your negative needs to be developed with that in mind.

Below you will notice that there is sky/cloud detail in the POP print which is severely lacking in the other. I wasn't prepared to cut a mask and burn in the sky on this wasting tens of sheets of paper hoping to line up the mask exactly to stop over-exposure on the building etc.
Thanks Andrew. Definitely a successful experiment. Look out for some Andy Palmer POP originals in the near future. Or some time before I shuffle off. Hopefully.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Time

Well it's that time of the year again folks. The time I have an exhibition at Photospace. I'm making a bit of a habit of it of late. Anyone would think I'm a wannabe artist.

If you're in Wellington tomorrow evening drop on by for a looksee, a wee drink or two, and some intellectual discussion on the merits or otherwise of how I waste my time. I'd love to see ya.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Wet

A while ago I posted a bunch of pictures of a good friend. Well last week, for some reason, she decided to get her own back and shoot me.

These are some of the shots she got.

And the reason for the wee wet patch.

I have absolutely no idea what the reasoning was. I just think she wanted to make me suffer. And suffer I did.

She also took a few polaroids. Nice.

Love your work, dear. Love it.

Monday, 12 November 2007

The Past

These have been sitting around for a while. I thought it was about time to kick them out of the house and start earning their way.

These are my two sites from the IntensCITY 2007 project from September.

My next project launches this week. Here's a link to someone else's post about it.

I'm so famous!!

Though it helps when I tell them about me.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Wall

Like many other folk, including no doubt some regular readers of this blog, over the last few weeks I have been listening off and on to The Phoenix Foundation's latest album.

The second to last song, penned by Luke, contains the beautiful lines:

And by
By the time
I got to Johnsonville
I made up my mind
Parked by my favourite wall
In the light

And it got me thinking. What sort of freak has a favourite wall?

Then it struck me. People do. And some of those people even photograph the damned things.

This isn't my favourite wall, but if I was to have a top five (maybe top ten) list, this would be in it.

I made this in September after driving past it dozens of times thinking I really should stop and photograph it. I knew I would one day. Though some days one day is too late.

I was back here a couple of days ago, and discovered that very shortly it will no longer be there.

Friday, 9 November 2007

The Lady

Here we have the shots from my latest (stupid) purchase.

Being a very complicated device - by placing one of a number of black plastic frames inside the back of the camera you determine how many shots you get on a roll of film - I made a rather tragic mistake. One not without a certain amount of artiness it has to be said, but a mistake all the same.

And the complications don't end there. This camera allows a myriad of shooting options. Okay, if I could remember my permutation rules from 7th form I could tell you that the myriad is only about maybe twenty or so different combinations at most, but I can't so I won't.

However this shot uses the lensless pinhole.

And the non-lensless pinhole. That is pinhole aperture with lens attached.

And standard lens and aperture. Probably the sunny day aperture because it was a sunny day.

I especially like the small 'hair' of plastic at the bottom of the frame.

I have, however, now removed it from the camera so I won't have to spend further hours wondering where/how the annoying bugger got there.

And in case you were wondering the title refers to the camera, not the memorial which is in fact the newly(ish) relocated Wakefield Memorial at the Basin Reserve.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

The Random

A friend sent me this last night. So far she hasn't blogged it so I'm getting in first.

It's me at Deluxe. Can ya tell?

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The Serendipitous

I’ve said it before, and hell, I’ll say it again. And no doubt again. And again.

I regularly reference other photographers in my work. It may be subtle – I may be the only who picks up on it – or it may be blatantly obvious. Even to those with a mild knowledge of (New Zealand) Art photography.

But there is this thing called serendipity. In fact I think what I really mean is there is this thing called serendipitous synchronicity.

(Maybe you being a cynic will call it coincidence, but me being a poet much prefers serendipitous synchronicity.)

There are a number of places I’ve photographed, only to discover (after the fact) that other photographers have done it before me. There are places I discover and in my discovery realise that I’ve been there before in someone else’s work. Far from disheartening, this discovery is actually quite cool, finding you’re operating on a similar wavelength to folk whose work you admire.

For one reason or another Laurence Aberhart is a prime culprit here. But the other day I picked up Ink & Silver, a book I've been meaning to buy for a while if only cos it's big, beautifully printed, and contains work of someone I really admire (and a couple of people I really don't).

And then I discovered this serendipitous synchronicity.

Again, I’ve said it before (though interestingly not on this blog ... ever!!), and hell, I’ll say it again. And no doubt again. And again.

The two greatest influences on me when studying photography were Wayne Barrar and Anne Noble. In part because of their individual approaches to photography and photographing opened my eyes to new ways of looking and photographing, and in part due to the people and subjects they introduced me to. Oh, and in part cos they're both lovely people.

So anyway, this is 'Barrier, Lake Ruataniwha 1987' by Wayne Barrar.

Shot it. Myself. Earlier this year.

And Log Boom, Lake Rotorangi, 1993.

Shot it. Myself. Earlier this year.

And Wayne's third image in the book. It's from Stewart Island. I ain't ever been there. But I love this shot. Just love it to death.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Blooming

I took these the other evening. They're part of a project I've been working on for a while. I'm kinda getting over the main conceit of the project, but I liked these so much that I thought I'd share them with the world.
Of course I'm not going to tell you what the project is. You'll just have to wait and see if it amounts to anything.

Actually I'll just have to wait and see if it amounts to anything first.

And as an extra treat today you get a link to my latest amazing book review - Rick Alexander's 'Hinterland'.

Monday, 5 November 2007

The Births

Late October and early November is birthday season for me with about ten friends and family having birthdays over a two week period.

On the weekend I had two more birthdays.

Including this one.

Thanks to all those nice people who showered me with drink, food and gifts. Lovely.

Friday, 2 November 2007

The Siblings

I have a friend. I don't like him much. He works at a camera store. And he makes me spend lots of money.

A few weeks ago I popped in to pick up something irrelevant and asked him whether he'd checked out The White Stripes website lately. Being a band photographer type of guy he thought maybe they'd used one of his images.

Sadly, I had to inform him they had not. At least not as far as I knew.

There was another reason to go there. An entirely different and awesome reason.

Needless to say, a week later I was spending money I really shouldn't have been spending. All thanks to this friend.

Yeah okay it was my own fault for telling him, but between us we have the set. Awesome.

See that's his Jack and my Meg above. And here's more of my Meg. But not all of her.

My Meg is a Diana. (That'll mean something to one or two of you .)

I would have unpacked the Jack Holga but seeing as it's not mine I thought I should leave that privilege to the owner. You'll have to do your own research to find out what it looks like, and what extra crap comes with it.

Be sure to come back soon, cos I'm bound to shoot at least one roll of film on Meg before packing her up and keeping her and her box in minty fresh condition. Not that I'm a sad bugger or anything.

And for something completely different, here's the coolest website ever.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The Pale

Yeah so like I finally got my SX-70 back off Sharyn. Okay I got it back last week, and she left me some shots in it. But the point is I have it back in my possession now. And that means I can shot crap with it. So I have.

This one was taken using my new SX-70 specific close-up filter (please refer to comment in this post, you'll have to choose the right sentence to make any sense out of this wee detour mind). I think this is slightly bigger than lifesize. Awesome.

And this is just interestingly boring. Actually it reminds me of Ute Barth, just not as good.