Thursday, 16 December 2010

Art as book

Today I learnt the next term I will be working on a project that centres around publication as a means of artistic production, run by these people at Byam Shaw, so thought I'd post a few examples from the master of the artist book, Ed Ruscha. Not sure how this fits in with my current work on the photograph as an object on the wall, but we shall see.

Monday, 13 December 2010


All photographs Jeff Wall, from top: Passerby; Untitled (Forest); Untitled (Night); The Burrow.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Le Mépris

Le Mépris - Jean-Luc Godard (1963)

French playwright Paul Javal is hired by American producer Jack Prokosch to save his ailing production of Homer's Odyssey, where filming - directed by Fritz Lang as himself - has been halted at Cinecittà studios in Rome. Upon accepting the job Javal's life starts to mirror that of the film's hero, with the pressures of commercial constraints (embodied by Prokosch) leading to him becoming slowly estranged from his wife Camille (Brigit Bardot). As well as an examination of the collapsing marriage of the lead characters, the film can be described as being essentially about cinema, with Godard critiquing the Hollywood model and employing numerous instances of reference and self-reference - Fritz Lang being cast as himself, Godard playing the part of Lang's assistant, Bardot reading a book on Fritz Lang, and of course the obvious mirroring of Ulysses' estrangement with his wife with Javal's estrangement with Camille. The opening shot in particular draws our attention to this explicitly, in which the mechanisms of cinema are laid bare and we see Godard's camera crew filming a tracking shot of Prokosch's assistant, the camera moving ever closer to the screen before directing itself directly at the viewer, thus implicating us as viewer or spectator in the film.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Feeling generous?

If you are, these rather special, handmade in Italy Fracap mountain boots wouldn't go a miss. May have to go and lust after them in Oi Polloi seeing as I'm in Manchester for the weekend...

An old favourite

"The sun had not yet risen. The sea was indistinguishable from the sky, except that the sea was slightly creased as if a cloth had wrinkles in it. Gradually as the sky whitened a dark line lay on the horizon dividing the sea from the sky and the grey cloth became barred with thick strokes moving, one after another, beneath the surface, following each other, pursuing each other, perpetually." - Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Just a thought

I personally think that Dulcie would have made the perfect New Wave heroine...

Studio notes

It's been a busy few weeks, trying to further my work in the studio around trips home and late night shifts at Tesco. I've been shooting medium format on a regular basis, a format I had always been hesitant about but have found myself embracing, and I've found my work coming back to a relationship with cinema that I began to explore last year. As well as this I've been slowly working myself through Jean-Luc Godard's extensive back catalogue (I've got a long way to go), this weekend watching Une femme est une femme and Pierrot Le Fou. In the meantime I've also been reminding myself how good this album is:

Should also remind anyone that's interested about my website which is now over a month old, although still a work in progress...

Friday, 5 November 2010


"Photography is truth. And cinema is truth 24 times a second"

Jean-Luc Godard - Le Petit Soldat (1963)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Currently reading

A Post-Olympic Beijing Mini-Marathon is made up of a series of interviews with a number of Chinese artists, writers and thinkers conducted by Hans Ulrich Obrist on New Years Eve, 2008. Taking the form of his now famous Serpentine Gallery Marathons, the event was an attempt to understand and evaluate the state of Beijing in the aftermath of the Olympic Games, to come to terms with the changes the city had seen and give a sense of what it is like to be living in the city at a time when it is rapidly evolving. An attempt to record history as it happened, the event focused not only on the impact of such a massive, worldwide spectacle as the Olympic Games but also issues such as the role of the Internet and the role of the artist in China today.

The book is published by JRP Ringier and beautifully produced by Vitamin Creative Space, who hosted the event at their space in Beijing.

(Photos of the Bird's Nest Stadium and CCTV Building by Dulcie Emerson)

A Week At The At The Airport

I've just finished reading Alain De Botton's A Week At The Airport, an observation of Heathrow Airport's new Terminal that he made when approached to undertake a live-in residency at the airport, spending seven days exploring the terminal, meeting the people that operate it and the customers passing through it. I was attracted to the book at first by the quote on the back cover

"a single pace that captures all the themes running through the modern world - from our faith in technology to our destruction of nature, from our interconnectedness to our romanticising of travel - then you would almost certainly head to an airport"

which seemed to sum up the essence of various themes I have been interested in for a while now regarding my own practice, and felt this could be a nice break from all the theory I've been attempting to plough through. Essentially De Botton's book is focused on the people that inhabit the airport, suggesting less that it is some quasi-utopian place of technology and travel full of people moving from one place to the next without a thought for the others surrounding them (although, on the surface, that is what it is) but that it is full of thousands of individual stories and dramas, a collection of individuals brought together for a brief interval of their life between destinations, a strange non-place of coming and going.

De Botton is also keen to aknowledge our unwavering faith in technology, reminding us of the awe we should feel that something so enormous as an aeroplane can move, letalone fly. He claims that the new Terminal 5 is an attampt to create a vision of how we'd like to view ourselves, celebrating technology and progress, the shimmering glass structure "proposing a new idea of Britain ... that would no longer be in thrall to its past". The book for me is a poignant and timely vignette that captures the magic that is air travel in our times, how quickly a far off exotic land becomes a distant memory on arrival and how we will always long to be back aboard a Boeing 777 flying 30,000 feet in the sky to somewhere different once again.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Summer sun, where have you gone...

This week I scanned the negatives from the roll of film that I put through my Olympus Pen in the summer, which had given me loads of great shots yet the majority of which were badly overexposed and had resulted in nothing more than a plain white/grey print. Amazingly when I scanned them in the overexposed frames came out perfectly and so I have even more hazy, sunny, summer memories now, like the one above. I was most happy to rescue some photos which I took at Barcelona Airport, which I've put up in a new album on my website. To see them just click here...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Monday, 27 September 2010

Book Fair Buys

Wolfgng Tillmans - Freedom From The Known, published by Steidl on the occasion of his solo show at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre New York. I've been meaning to purchase a Wolfgang Tillmans book for a while now, and this cloth bound hardback was too good an opportunity to miss at £14.50. The book contains mostly abstract works alongside black and white photocopied works, and a particularly insightful essay by Bob Nickas.

Words Without Pictures, published by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, part of the Aperture series. This book initially started out as an online project in which each month an academic/practitioner/thinker would contribute an essay on a certain aspect of photography and its place in the art world, leading to online discussion forums and panel debates, which has been carefully transcribed to exist in book form.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


"This is the anglicised version of the French Corde du Roi, for the material was used on the jackets of the hunting livery of the servants of the King of France.

It is interesting to note that, like cul-de-sac (which always makes the French laugh as it is very rude), it is never used by the French, who call it velour côtelé which is exactly what it is, namely ribbed cotton velvet.

The Germans have an even more romantic name for it, namely 'Manchester'. Manchesterhosen to the German means corduroy slacks. It is in this latter form that it is mostly seen in our lives, and is of course very hardwearing.

On a jacket the cloth is almost too 'ungrateful' as the French would say, as it is too stiff to fall attractively or mould to the body. It is also extremely hot."

Nicely put in Hardy Amies' ABC of Men's Fashion.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Just a note to say that my WEBSITE is now live! At the moment it is a collection of albums of photography but will hopefully expand to include work I make in the near future.


Today I stopped by Rachel Whiteread's current show at Tate Britain, a collection of drawings and sketches and preparatory work dating back to the start of her career as an artist. Presented as the studies and supporting material behind the sculptures for which she is known for (included are plans for many of her most well known works, such as 1993's 'House' and her Fourth Plinth commission) they are allowed to stand alone here as pieces in their own right, her pared down studies in such everyday materials as pen, pencil and correction fluid showing many of the minimalist tendencies of the much more tangible, solid structures that are her sculptures. What is so haunting about her sculptures - particularly her Holocaust Memorial, a maquette for which is displayed in the exhibition - is the sense of quietness and absence produced by something so gigantic and present. In her drawings we are instead asked to reflect upon the textures and marks made by materials on paper, the objects and spaces rendered in two dimensions with subtlety and a certain weightlessness that hints at the empty space within that is repeatedly the focus 0f her practice. Through collage, over-drawn photographs and drawings on paper Whiteread displays an affinity for the flat image that more than compliments her sculptural work.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Francis Alÿs

Really gutted I missed this exhibition at Tate Modern over the summer. If you have a few minutes spare and also didn't manage to catch the retrospective his website is worth checking out, with many of his videos and documentation of performances available to watch (and in some cases download) for free.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Let's try and revive this blog..

I moved back to London on Sunday and it almost feels like I was never away, settling a little to easily back into old routines. Anyway, as an attempt to start blogging more regularly again, here are a few things I'm looking forward to in the coming weeks...

The London Art Book Fair, held this weekend at the Whitechapel Gallery. Will have to try pretty hard not to bankrupt myself on discount books...

Launching my website, whilst I finally get past my indecisiveness and manage to finish it.

Gauguin at Tate Modern.

New releases from No Age and Deerhunter, both of which sound pretty good from what I've heard on various streams on the internet...

Ever since watching Annie Hall the other night I've also started lusting after a corduroy blazer. Whilst this stunning example from Margeret Howell may be slightly unobtainable Uniqlo do an almost identical one for a snip of the price...