Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Thinker

I once sent myself an email.

As you do.

When you have a thought you wish to remember.

And no notebook handy to jot it in.

It was this:

Sunday, 10 March, 2002 5:14:28 PM

it occurs to me that my talent as a photographer lies not in photographing people but in photographing the things people leave behind

It made sense at the time.

And I think it's still true.

To a degree.

It's certainly where my interest lies.

I'll leave it up to others to decide if it's where my talent(s) lie.

So here's some photographs of things people have left behind.

The reckless slobs.

And something I left behind.

Though I did pick it up shortly after.

So I'm not such a reckless slob.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The Waster

Today has been a day of procrastination. Doing things other than that which I should have been doing, and which are certainly more urgent.

So instead I have made changes to my website, spent time reading other folks blogs, playing games, scanning and making pdfs and such like (admittedly one of the pdfs did relate to what I'm supposed to be doing).

In keeping with my procrastination here are two images from the last time I was on Kapiti. I was taken for a bit of a tiki tour up along the northern ridges to places I hadn't been before. It was fun. It was different to other parts of the island.

And they have a caravan.

I believe it was delivered by helicopter many years ago, and isn't really used much now. It looked useable, but needed a bit of a tidy up. The good thing about there being no mammals other than humans on the island is that structures like this seem to be cleaner than elsewhere.

And I sepiaed it. Cos I could.

I'd like to get over there again soon, maybe once the kids are all back at school. We'll see. Anyone wanna join me?

In my random blog reading I discovered this blog - a link lead to a link lead to a link lead to a link lead to a link lead to a link lead to a link lead to this. Some of you will know my feelings about this man, so we needn't discuss those here, but one thing I found interesting was the number of times he decries the profusion of 'decorative' photography in galleries and at book fairs. To me, that is exactly what his photography is, regardless of what he would have us believe.

Mind you there are days when I feel the exact same way about my own photography - until I remember that no one buys it, so it can't be that decorative after all.

Monday, 28 January 2008

The Out

Here's a bunch more pictures to conclude my Big Day Out 2008 coverage.

Op Shop.

Billy Bragg.

Billy Bragg.

Either Pluto or Arcade Fire.


LCD Soundsystem.

The Clean.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Day

In today's instalment I give you a bunch of arty shots.

Starting in the Boiler Room with Dr Octagon.

Mmmm. Nice.

And here's Bjork. I think this is from her encore. With evening falling the fancy lighting started to look decent.

Then back into the tent for LCD Soundsystem. And I got excited using that unfocussable lens. Oh it was so pretty.

And we finish with The Clean under the moon.


Saturday, 26 January 2008

The Big

Seeing as no ones been asking for this, here's my round up of the Big Day Out - expertly produced in a timely fashion.

I didn't know exactly where I was going, having left the relevant map at home, so we arrived a little later than we meant but we made it in time to check out The Checks - no photo sorry (I thought I did but it would appear I was mistaken). They rocked. Not sure I'd be interested in their album, but they were a great show.

Moving slightly to the right we caught Liam Finn. I love his solo album but ...

Live on this stage he was a bit dull. So we left after about three songs. To be fair, I don't think it helped that he followed the high energy Checks. Even his loop-the-guitar-and-bang-the-drums thing seemed rather light compared to the boys.

Over to the main stage to catch the end of Anti-Flag's set. I'd never heard of them, but have now heard enough to know that I'm keen to hear more.

And on with Op Shop. The fact that the shot below of the main stages is taken from the back while the above shot was taken near the front probably gives some indication of my feelings about Op Shop.

Frankly I just don't care.

Popped in on Mu, mainly to get out of the sun. No photos. Can't remember his set but we got to chill out a little and there were lots of people buying expensive crappy beer.

I didn't think I'd care much about the Boiler Room but ... here's Dr Octagon.

It was hot. It was loud. It was funky. I shook my booty. A little. Then outside for a bit of fresh air, and around the corner for a bit of Surf City.

Nice local lads. Rocking. Kinda got bored, but stuck it out. I never used to mind bands like this, but these days it does annoy me a bit. These boys had absolutely no interaction with the audience. Just got up, played their tunes and got off. Good music, but I need entertainment too.

So back into the Boiler Room and Havoc - that blue thing down the bottom.

It was hot. It was loud. It was funky. I shook my booty. A little more. And then Dizzee Rascal.

It was hot. It was loud. It was funky. I shook my booty. A quite a lot more actually. It was fucking hot. We left after about three tunes. Sweat coming out of every pore in our bodies. Glistening skin. Mmmmm.

And over to the small stages to dry off, rehydrate and catch Battles. This is during Billy Bragg's set. Man that guy is boring. I wish he'd just shut up and play. He doesn't need to chat for five minutes between each song when he has nothing to say. Oh, and a song made up of Clash lyrics isn't as interesting as it should be, and is probably the least inspired way to commemorate Joe Strummer.

Then Battles. Except someone changed the times on us without letting us know and The Nightwatchman (aka Tom Morello from Rage) came on. Another wannabe folky with a guitar and some boring tunes.

We left and headed back Local Produce way to check out The Exiles. Again no photos. I can't really remember them, so I guess they didn't leave much of an impression. It's one of the guys from The Nikons/Eye TV, who never left much of an impression back last century so at least he's being consistent.

Then back mainstage way for Arcade Fire. But first we had to put up with Pluto. (Intentionally unfocussed photo.) I've never been much of a Pluto fan, the lead singer's affectations really annoy me.

So we spent the end of their set finding a good spot for Arcade Fire, who were after all, the reason we were there. So they get two photos. They're special.

They really are special. They rocked. They rolled. They fought. They really put on a show. Ten people on stage. Your eyes don't know where to look. They were fantastic. Equal to expectations. Sadly it was over too soon.

It seems that they love NZ (naturally) so fingers crossed for them coming back and playing a few more dates soon. They also ended one of their songs with "I'm so bored of the USA", which was a far better statement and tribute than old Billy's attempt.

We decided to sit out Shihad's set. I've been over them for most of this century, and hadn't seen them live for many years. Perennial BDO favourites. I didn't see them live this time either. Just sat on the grass taking shots of other people sitting on the grass.

They rocked. It was great. And their new material sounds fantastic. Like they've finally given up on their plan of taking over the US with metal-lite, and gone back to the brutality of Churn and Killjoy (my fav album of their's, and Grant Smithies' too). Awesome boys.

Back amongst the masses for Bjork. Sadly it was rather boring. Just too chilled lady. Especially after the rawness and power of Shihad. A couple of tracks were fantastic, full of energy and pumping grooves - I can never remember names of her songs, but the last one in the set and one of the encore tracks were fabulous.

Yes she got and encore so she gets two photos too.

And out. I never had any real desire to see Rage beyond a mild curiosity. So we braved the Boiler Room again to check out LCD Soundsystem.

It was hot. It was loud. It was funky. I shook my booty. A hell of a lot more actually. By all reports (well by my speculation based on the one report I got about the Rage gig) I think it's safe to say that LCD rocked a shitload more than Rage. It was fabulous. It was groovy. It was boys with loud guitars. And funk. And lights. And energy.

And some clever people started lifting the side of the tent near the end so we could all cool off a bit - though it was nowhere near as hot as Dizzee's set, seeing as it was now evening.

Then over to the small stages to catch the last of The Clean. We got there part way through 'Point That Thing' which sounded great but I didn't care for the rest.

And finally we got Supergroove. Kicked off superbly with 'Next Time', then a bunch of tracks I didn't know, and I was tired and just wanted to go home. So we left them to it and tried to beat the rush.

It was a fabulous day. Lovely and hot, exciting, not as crowded as I expected, some fantastic music, lots of water consumed, some awesome photos, two tired legs.

I'm no longer a BDO virgin and I think I may have caught the bug.

So thanks to you young lady for making me go (i.e. by buying me a ticket for Christmas to ensure you had someone to go with). Let's do it again next year eh?

And for all you technophiles out there, cos I know you're wondering, all shots were taken on this little thing.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

The Hairy

This comes up in conversation every now and then. Especially when I haven't shaved for a few days. Here we have "Self-portrait with facial hair, London, England, 8 May 1997".

I arrived in London on 29 November 1996, worked a month, then ran away to Scotland for Hogmanay. I can't remember when I stopped shaving, but it was around then. I spent a couple of weeks in Scotland and a couple of months in Ireland, before getting back to London early April.

I got another bar job - cos they're really easy to find - and spent about four weeks in the middle of Soho serving mainly really boring folk. The manager fired me for not doing tasks he never told me to do. But he was a prick, a racist bigot, who happily tipped the beer drippings back into the kegs, and poured cheap spirits into expensive bottles. I was happy to leave.

At the beginning of May I got another bar job - cos they're really easy to find. This time in Battersea/Lavender Hill. I stayed there until it was time to go to Copenhagen in June or July.

The above photo was taken the day I moved to Battersea and shaved. It is the result of five months growth. Sad. Really sad.

And the hair and the glasses are pretty ghastly too.

Oh the humanity.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

The Movies

Got back home in time for dinner yesterday. It was a good time. A damned good time.

We did a wee road trip. On our way back yesterday we stopped off in Woodville and went to my favourite second hand shop. Naturally I had to buy something.

So I bought me a Viewmaster with a bunch of reels. Oh the excitement.

Reel 3 from the Muppet Movie.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Cement

I'm off to Auckland again today. This time for the Big Day Out.

So here's a couple of pictures to tide you over until I get back.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The Fool(ish)

A couple of weeks ago I had some money.

Rather than giving it to folk who maybe deserved it- the accountant, the store, the bank - I went shopping.

I bought some books. They arrived today.

This came out a few years ago. And was rather expensive - at least in this country. But I knew I had to get it at some point. My copy is from the fourth print run. Not as exciting as a first edition but ...

This one is. Came out a couple of years later, was equally expensive and I knew I had to get it at some point too. They're books to dip into rather than read cover to cover - partly cos they weigh so much my wrists wouldn't cope with prolonged exposure.

The cover shots were stolen from photo-eye, a good place to start looking for photographic books and works.

I bought this cos, as normally happens when I'm at Amazon deciding to spend money, I got excited about buying stuff for cheap, so bought more than I meant to or needed to. But well you only live once, so why not waste money on books? Or music? Or drugs? Or hot women? Or alcohol? Or cameras? Or film? Or art? Or houses? Or travel? Or food?

I'm not sure who came up with the idea of using elaborately staged scenes to create a still work first, though I know I discovered Jeff Wall years ago (even before studying photography), but I think I'm actually a greater fan of Gregory Crewdson. Still Wall's work is interesting and his catalogue is broader than I realised. And anyway, the book was cheap (I got all three for little more than the cost of Volume I) so I ain't complain.


Oh, and Dymocks had a sale too, so I bought a couple of books there on the weekend, and I scored a copy of Glenn Busch's Working Men in Devonport last week. Not that I like books or anything.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Theme

One good thing about Auckland is Real Groovy. Aside from the fact that they have thousands of CDs to purchase, they stay open late every day. So when you have nothing better to do in an evening, you can pop in and spend lots of money - or a little, or none, whatever you prefer. Or you could hang out down the road at Borders which also stays open late for the sad and lonely and bored.

As a result of my visit to the former last Tuesday after a really hard days work (i.e. immensely tedious and boring), I have a new theme song. It's called "Cakewalk". It goes like this.

I, I wanna live on the stage,
I wanna play the guitar,
And I wanna get paid.
But no responsibilities please.
I wanna do what I want,
And I wanna get paid.

You repeat the lyrics a few times over some nice American indie rock kinda music.

It's by a band called The Snake The Cross The Crown and it expresses everything I am currently feeling - every thought, every emotion, my very soul and being.

Yes that's right, I'm giving up on my path of photography and picking up my guitar (or ukulele) again to become a rock star. Someone who just wants to play the guitar, and wants to get paid.

Here for your amusement are some shots of the first time I wanted to be someone who just wants to play the guitar, and wants to get paid. Back then, as now actually, I did play guitar. And back then, unlike now actually, I did get paid. As I said when I mentioned my band in an early posting, our one and only gig was opening for The Bats at the Old Bodega. From memory we got paid $100 for the gig. There were four of us. We regularly used a special practice room which cost money to hire. Plus there were all the strings and picks and petrol, and the guitars and amps and pedals. So I spent a few thousand dollars and made $25.

Odd. That's pretty much the way my finances work with photography too. Maybe there's a lesson here. Maybe. If so can you please tell me what it is cos it's clearly beyond me.

Anyway, I know you're all dying to see the photos so ...

That's me doing the rock'n'roll thing in my room in Stokes Valley. Put the point'n'shoot on the floor with the self-timer on. Press go. Run back put the guitar on and strike ultradumb pose. Hold it until the camera fires. Relax. Awesome.

These two weren't taken by me. You may be able to tell. You may not. They were taken at Michael Bass Player's flat in Kelburn. Self-consciously strumming away, pretending I'm not being photographed. Oh how times have changed. What with getting photographed being an occupational hazard/requirement these days.

And the get up. And my feet. Sadly that amp (which was bloody beautiful) and that guitar (which was my brother's, but still bloody beautiful) were both stolen when I was in the UK. Very sad.

And you may have seen this before. You may not have. This time it's from the negative. Just in case you were wondering. And if you're wondering where or why you might have seen this before go here.