Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bowie And McQueen

Coat design, a collaboration between Alexander McQueen (1970-2010)...

and David Bowie, housed now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bowie Under Arrest

Did anyone ever look sharper, or photograph so well, in a police mug shot? Bowie, under arrest for felony pot possession, Rochester, NY, 1976.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gentlemen Take Polaroids

... and also make collages. At least, David  Hockney does.

First up, a polaroid collage. A riff on his famous pool paintings of the late 60's, early 70's.

There's a number of well-known Hockney photo-collages, and they tend to give the impression that they're easy to do. They're not. Just google 'Hockney photo-collage' and you'll find a number of works inspired by Hockney, few of which are remotely interesting or compelling.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Children of the (Industrial) Revolution

I was born in Manchester, UK, the birthplace of the industrial revolution. Doubtless this informed my aesthetic, providing me with a curious delight in rugged industrial  backdrops.
And while these images aren't of the bleak, rugged b/w variety that typically come to mind, I still find something appealing and pretty about the forms themselves, and the pastel colors.
This last one reminds me of the thrill rides at a theme park. All of them were taken recently while on location, shooting something else entirely.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter in New York

Park Slope, Brooklyn

New York City may be at its loveliest after freshly fallen snow. Of course, residents there just now may be grousing that when you've had snow for several weeks of a difficult winter, then it loses its novelty.

Theatre District, Manhattan

Still, when I lived there, nothing was more romantic or beautiful to me than the quiet of the deserted streets, the immense grandeur of the city all about you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The McQueen is Dead

                                 Nick Knight

                                  Nick Knight

Terribly sad news today about fashion designer Alexander McQueen, an apparent suicide. Above, three typically brilliant images by Nick Knight, all collaborations with McQueen.

Polaroid Pt 1

Polaroid - first of all, don't shake it. Despite Outkast's urgings, it's counter-productive to the finished image, re-distributing portions of the film as it dries.

But anyway.
                                          Avalanche, by William Wegman

The great Polaroid company has gone bankrupt twice in this decade, courtesy of digital technology (oh, and then there's the billion dollar pyramid scheme that the owner was caught in too). One result of this is that their vast collection of artist poloaroids are going on the auction block. The collection is estimated to bring in $7.5 million to $11 million.

                                       Imogen and Herione by David Hockney

I'm a big fan of Hockney's work, and  there's remarkable stuff been done down the years with polaroids. I'll dig out more striking examples somewhere along the way...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Day Like This

                    Last visit home - Manchester city centre May 2009

Guy Garvey, of the band Elbow, speaking with singer-songwriter Jess Hoop after convincing her to move to Manchester from LA:

Garvey says: "I've got a theory about why Manchester generates the music it does and a lot of it is days like today [gestures to the grey afternoon outside]."
"And how often do days like today happen?" Hoop asks pointedly.
"Often," says Garvey. "Are you asking for your money back? Someone described it recently as it's like the whole of the city is in a Tupperware box when the sky is this grey. You don't know where the sun is and the colour doesn't change from dawn to dusk. So the passage of time isn't so obvious and I think that encourages introspection."
                                                 from The Observer (UK)

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Father, the model.

About two years ago, my dad suffered a small stroke. The main fall-out was that he lost approximately 75% of his vision. This would be a devastating loss for anyone, but for my dad, who's great passions are reading and painting (there's music, also - all of which which just goes to show that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree), it was crushing.
After the stroke, he'd go to the library and use a machine there that reads books to the visually impaired. He went there so often that when it came time to upgrade the machine, the city donated the old model to him on indefinite 'loan.'

It's a tremendous example of social services working in the way they're meant to. Recently dad was photographed for the city services calendar, and for an advertising campaign around the city. I know from experience that he's a lousy model, that he hates being photographed. The photographer seems to have done a fine job...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Harry Ransom - Magnum Man

A news story in the New York Times reported that the Magnum Photo Agency archive has been purchased by Michael Dell, and will be housed at the magnificent Harry Ransom Centre in Austin, Texas - thus confirming one thing we already know, which is that the Ransom Centre is the most important building in Austin, and probably in all of Texas. Why? Go look around....

                                        ©  Bruce Davidson/Magnum

The Magnum print archive has been bought, but not the photographers rights to their own images. Nice. One estimate says that the prints have been insured for $100 million.

                                 © Phillip Jones Griffiths / Magnum

Two sixteen wheelers were loaded up with the archive, carefully monitored by GPS for the journey from NYC to Austin.

                                 © Richard Kalvar / Magnum

The Ransom Centre plans to scan and digitize each image, as well as produce exhibitions and make the archive available for research.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life in a Northern Town

© John Bulmer

© John Bulmer

                                              © John Bulmer

I read an article in one of the English newspapers today about an exhibition of photographs by John Bulmer. I wasn't familiar with his work, but it's evocative stuff. Much of it was taken on assignment in the early '60s. The images that really struck me were from a series he shot for the Sunday Times on the changing face of the North of England.

What several images brought to mind was that Manchester, where some of the images were taken, looked very much this way when I was a kid. I'm reminded what a poor city it was then, and of where my parents come from. Also, of how far we've come, in a certain sense.

I've posted a couple of Bulmer's pictures here, but I'm a bit wary of infringing his copyrights, and so I'd rather direct you to his site, which is here:

Meanwhile, I'm inclined to look into the possibility of purchasing prints from the exhibition...