Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Photographs, diaries, snapshots

I was talking with my friend Neil the other day. He said he was shooting after a funeral, in order to have some sort of memory of the even happening at all, and that people were most surprised of this. Somehow, the function of photographs to be reminders of events seems to be fading, slightly... it doesn't come up as the first thing in most people's minds when asking why do they take pictures. Everything goes faster. The diaries are uploaded on facebook and they are massive collections of snapshots, compared to those big books we used to have before, which due to sheer size had to be somehow edited down (and on which the events would be written down). Also, I have the feeling that the photographer himself is more self aware nowadays when shooting. If you check flickr, you'll see that lots of people that shoot daily life diaries have either an explicit or implicit artistic presumption. The thing photographed has to produce an artistic result that is greater than the thing photographed. Back in the day, when you took holiday photographs, the circle of people you shared them with was small. This lead to some unpretentious gems. Maybe the attitude to photography (by photographers) will not bring these back.

I probably wouldn't have noticed this if I had not been sailing through 70's and 80's snapshots in flickr. Rarely anybody takes photographs like these anymore. Some work amazingly well. The photographer is slightly on the shade, and the subject is well delivered through a rich composition. Some of my favourites come from the archives of Harald Hauesler:

These are from 1962 Familie Kramer.

Monday, 16 June 2008

The coffee walkers (and Arles, etc.)

These days I'm stuck into coffee shops. I spend lots of time in them usually, reading the newspaper or a book, having a coffee. These days I'm spending even more time. I just wake up, go through the usual bunch of emails and rss feeds, and head for lunch. Only reason for this is that I'm spending much more time writing my dissertation, and almost no time at all finishing off images. I carry on shooting the same amount (almost) and developing film. Sheets and sheets of negatives accummulate without seeing a scanner. There will be time for that when I finish writing... I hope...

One of the things with coffee shops is that I meet the same people almost every day. I start off in Albany Rd, eat there, later move to Wellfield Rd (now there) where I can connect to the wifi for an updated, and when everything closes, move to City Rd. A rota of other people doing the same is around.

On a different topic... I booked flights to go to Rencontres d'Arles. I'll start of visiting a friend in Bordeaux on the 7th of July, move to Arles on the 9th of July and fly back from Toulouse on the 13th. Is anybody else going? If you are, give a shout for having a beer! I only know of Audrey Bardou and Olivier Thebaud going there, and I sincerely don't want to spend the festival chasing Josef Koudelka around with my copy of Exiles. I'll do my best in making friends on the train there, I guess.

Also, I was briefly reviewed in

PS: bad photo of Neil by me.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Limited edition - Welsh Surfaces

I've not yet seen it, but Welsh Surfaces arrived yesterday and it's a limited edition of 15 signed and all that for £9. I try to remember who wanted one, so if you feel like you're not on this list and you told me, well, tell me again!

Maciej, Bartek, Giulia, Dave, Gareth J., Radek, Philip K., John G., Nick, Neil M., my mum, me. (That's 12/15)

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Written fragments

I was walking down Queen Street, around 3-4am, shooting. I was shooting piles of dirt after having too many animals and people in the previous shots. A guy shouts at me why am I shooting dirt. Hey, you have to strike many of the wrong chords before you come up with a new song, I reply. You know, I don't know why I shoot it, I don't know what it will look like, but I want to find out... it's just... different. We walked about a quarter of an hour chatting. Cardiff, born and bred. He told me that eighty years ago pubs were full of prostitutes, they had to. Like saloons in westerns. Kept me thinking.

On a bank holiday Sunday, everybody on Albany Road speaks Polish.

210 Weegee pictures have been found by two women that confused them with family snapshots. In a letter Weegee said that his shooting in Berlin was delayed because it was really hard to find two midgets there. On Friday we were talking about what is the average penis size of a midget. Somebody found the answer. In the film In Bruges, the character played by Colin Farrell loves midgets, maybe until he learns that they are people like everybody else. On Saturday a girl was telling me about some cute boy that was like a midget. She accused me of not loving midgets... I don't love them like you do, I like them, though.

I took a portrait of a girl biting my darkslide.

I bought a Boris Mikhailov book the other day. Pretty is not part of his photographic vocabulary. I read the whole thing and I enjoyed it. Maciej told me that it's interesting but could I look at the pictures? A day after reading it many of them crept into my mind. Mikhailov in the book -Look at me, I look at water- reminds me of a mad uncle with a strange sense of humour that forgets that his balls are hanging out of his underwear while he eats pasta and watches the news in the telly. Strange guy.