Day 0172

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 01

As I pounded the pavement, trying to keep my rhythm steady, my breathing even, I felt my asthma rising in my throat. The tang of metal and blood thickened with mucus invaded my mouth. Was it the virus spreading through my lungs or was it the colder weather triggering my everyday asthma?

Shangzhen Fan

Findings – Weeks 04 and 05

Findings - Week 04 and 05

Wildlife Photography, Summertime, Lemn Sissay

One of my aim for 2020 is to be more conscious of the time I spend reading/listening/watching new (to me) creative projects. I want to actively make time for other people’s work and creativity in my life. One way of achieving this has been to be more focused with my time but as the year gets busier, I am going to to lose that focus. To combat this, I am going to publicly share a list of works I’ve been enjoying on a weekly basis.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019

Ever since moving to Bristol, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition has become a yearly ritual that never disappoints.

From classic documentary shots to abstract composition, there is a lot of diversity in the images.

There are the photographers who tell a story you can’t help but be drawn into like The Moment by Yongquing Bao and The Rat Pack by Charlie Hamilton James.

There are the techinally perfect photos that mesmerise you with their details like Dinner for One by Ripan Biswas and Portrait of a Spanish Tarantula by Javier Aznar González de Rueda.

And then there are my favourites, the abstract shots where the compositions and subject blend into one like in Snow-Plateau Nomads by Shangzhen FanTapestry of Life by Zorica Kovacevic, and Old Man’s Beard and Harvestmen’s Legs by Bernd Liedtke.

Visiting the exhibition is not possible for obvious reasons but you can still see a sample of images on the Natural History Museum Website.

Summertime by Catherine Corsini

Part historical film, part feminist film, part romance Summertime is a film of many topics. Set in France in the 1970s, it explores the rise of feminist movements in Paris, French rural life of the time, and lesbian identity in those very different worlds.

The film never goes in depth into any of the topics but weaves them together as the story progresses. The narrative is nothing out of the ordinary but the execution is gentle and left me reflecting of my own experiences of rural and city life in France and the many conflicts between those worlds.

Gold from the Stone by Lemn Sissay

This poetry collection has been following me everywhere in the last few weeks. Shoved in my backpack when I was still able to work, now carried from room to room, it rests by my side.

Sometimes comforting, often lyrical, I read a poem or two every other day, rolling the words over and over on my tongue.

I find myself coming back to the same pages, discovering new ones too, and always refreshed after a moment with Lemn Sissay’s poems.

What have you been enjoying this week?

Findings – Week 03

Findings - Week 03

Forest Fires

One of my aim for 2020 is to be more conscious of the time I spend reading/listening/watching new (to me) creative projects. I want to actively make time for other people’s work and creativity in my life. One way of achieving this has been to be more focused with my time but as the year gets busier, I am going to to lose that focus. To combat this, I am going to publicly share a list of works I’ve been enjoying on a weekly basis.

Sarah Kay – Forest Fires

Last year I began to read poetry and discovered a wealth of poems and poets I’d never known about.

In a field so vast, I sometimes find it difficult to select a poem to read. So I was glad to discover Ours Poetica YouTube channel recently. The idea is simple: people (sometimes poets) read a poem out loud while you can follow the text on the screen.

I am slowly going through their catalogue of videos, listening to voices and words and seeing what I react to. One of the poems I listened to over and over again is Forest Fires by Sarah Kay.

She writes about loss and grief mingling stories of family death and natural disaster. She jumps from one to the other without missing a beat, enthralling the listener in her pattern of thoughts.

What have you been enjoying this week?

Pastrycook 1928, printed 1999 August Sander 1876-1964 ARTIST ROOMS  Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/AL00033

Findings – Week 02

Findings - Week 02

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, August Sander, Chris Boland

One of my aim for 2020 is to be more conscious of the time I spend reading/listening/watching new (to me) creative projects. I want to actively make time for other people’s work and creativity in my life. One way of achieving this has been to be more focused with my time but as the year gets busier, I am going to to lose that focus. To combat this, I am going to publicly share a list of works I’ve been enjoying on a weekly basis.

Céline Sciamma – Portrait of a Lady on Fire

It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I am a big fan of Céline Sciamma’s work. So it was evident I would see her latest film at the earliest opportunity.

While a departure from her previous films, this story retains the qualities that made me fall in love with her work. It’s subtle, minimalist, and quiet. Layers of meaning are woven through the fabric of the story enabling the viewers to decide what they are watching.

For instance, someone might have come for the love story. On one level Portrait of a Lady on Fire is that. But it’s also a powerful affirmation of the existence of women. Céline Sciamma reclaims history and writes women in history.

There are more than those two strands in the film. The visuals and the sounds are a story of their own. Always used carefully, Céline Sciamma paints her story and understand sounds. Blink during the trailer and you’ll miss one of my favourite scene of the film, a nod to multiple paintings in one scene.

I could go on, but this is not a space for a long winded review. There are plenty out there more eloquently written than this.

Rather than reading them, why don’t you go and see the film. There is bound to be something in it for you.

ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander

Since getting back into photography, I have discovered the works of many new to me photographers. One of them is August Sander. So when I learned some of his work was exhibited at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, I made sure to visit before the exhibition closed.

August Sander spent a lot of his life capturing portraits of individuals and groups of people according to their profession and social class. He presented the work under the title People of the Twentieth Century.

Beginning this project in Germany before the first world war and continuing until his death after the second world war, his photographs are an important historical document of what life was like at the time. But his portraits transcend historical documentations.

As I was walking through the room, going from photograph to photograph, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the faces in his photographs. It is evident in most of them that August Sander had a respect for his subject no matter their profession or social class. He didn’t judge people based on who they were. He captured a part of them, one that could go beyond them. By transforming them into archetype of work and class, by treating everyone with the same respect, he laid bare the similarities between us.

The exhibition is sadly closed now, but you can find a lot of August Sander’s work online.

Chris Boland – From A Balcony in Spain

Ever since I discovered Chris Boland YouTube channel I’ve been hooked.  A mixture of photos and videos, his videos are always beautiful and soothing. He doesn’t edit at a fast pace but lets the world go by.

In this particular video, he watches a street from a balcony in Spain. Life unfolds as you watch the video, slowly, gently. People go by their everyday business, there is no grandeur. Instead there is beauty in the details and an appreciation for shadows and light.

If you’ve never watched Chris Boland videos (whether about a collection of photos or videos), I recommend you check it out.

What have you been enjoying this week?

Where? - Simon Moreton

Findings – Week 01

Findings - Week 01

Where?, La FLORAISON, and early scrapbooking

One of my aim for 2020 is to be more conscious of the time I spend reading/listening/watching new (to me) creative projects. I want to actively make time for other people’s work and creativity in my life. One way of achieving this has been to be more focused with my time but as the year gets busier, I am going to to lose that focus. To combat this, I am going to publicly share a list of works I’ve been enjoying on a weekly basis.

Simon Moreton – Where?

It has taken me a long time to get to part 4 of Where? by Simon Moreton. Between moving house, settling in, and getting carried away with other reading materials, the book has sat unread on my bedside table for too long.

Where? is a beautiful memoir that explores life and death by weaving in and out of history, landscape, and personal stories. Written with prose, comics, photos, found archival text, and drawings, it is an engrossing experience to get into.

Seamlesly meandering through time and space, Simon Moreton, has crafted a memoir that expands from his personal life to the ones of ghosts long gone.

Rooted in Shropshire, it reminds us of the importance of place. Being an expat myself, the importance of a physical space to inhabit and of the story of that place has been central to my life for the past ten years.

Moving houses six times since my arrival in the UK, one of the constant of my life has been the ground under my feet and the histories of those spaces. By carving my path in those histories, I have learned to belong. Simon’s work taps into my need of a solid place in a world that can feel too virtual and ungrounded.

Buy the books here.

Chikako Watanuki – La FLORAISON

Buying this zine was an impulse. I saw a retweet, I saw the photos, I enquired about postage, I bought the zine. And I do not regret this decision. The peace and quiet that enthralled me on the digital image, held me looking at the paper copy for even longer. There is something simple about the images. Flowers against a blurred background, sometimes only a detail retains any sharpness. But this is not a work about sharpness and pixels. The softness and balance of colours is what keeps me engaged with the work for minutes on end.

For now, La FLORAISON sits on my zine bookshelf, but I know I will return to it time and time again.

See more of Chikako Watanuki’s work.

Charles Norman Sladen

I have enrolled in a few free online courses since the beginning of the year in an attempt to get me thinking about art again in a more proactive way. One of those courses is all about photography and amongst the miriad of documents to explore, the work of Charles Norman Sladen is mentioned.

A small paragraph in an article, his work held my attention. Taking photos at the beginning of the 20th century, he transformed them with pen, ink, and watercolour to create fragmentary memories, moments held in time. Whether they are real or not, I do not know but as a fan of multimedia work, his creation sparked my imagination.

What have you been enjoying this week?

A new start

Welcome to my newly redesigned website, courtesy of Éli Vercollier.

In late 2018 I began to delete a lot of my online presence, selecting to keep only what I judged of value and went to work on this website.

The website is not an end in itself but a new home for a new way of creating. In the past, my output has often been immediate, almost like an exercise in creation. Write, photograph, record sounds. Do. Make. But an ingredient was missing and that was time. I rarely allowed myself the luxury of waiting, reflecting, and then creating.

There was an urge to present something. If I didn’t share my microadventures quickly, they would become irrelevant. If I didn’t post regular creations, I would become irrelevant. I needed to feed the Internet beast. But this left little time for more thought through work and experimentation.

While accounts of day trips and week-end gateaways are valuable, they are no longer what I want to share. I want to put more focus into my creative output, and this requires time.

Updates will be slow while I work on projects, giving them time to develop, breathe, and change.

If you want to keep updated, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter.