Hello and welcome to my photography blog. I’m a documentary photographer and writer from Manchester in the UK. You can email me at: email@example.com or watch a short film or three here on vimeo and you can read my own publications here at Issuu.
A PROCLAMATION is a new piece 600mm x 300mm laser etched Perspex (acrylic). It was done at FabLab in Altrincham. And here’s a video of it being done…
The idea for this piece came after I wrote about the Two Minutes Silence in my booklet ‘Best We Forget’. I had argued that criticism of any war, no matter how unnecessary or unjust the war might be, was seen as disrespecting the people who had been killed in previous wars. This was encouraged with jingoism to shut down any opposition to any war, rather than out of respect for those who do the fighting. So the silence was in effect telling people to shut up rather than think about the tragedy and victims of war.
I’ve produced several pieces based on these ideas, one of which was a list of quotes about silence starting with King George V’s proclamation of 1919, asking for his subjects to observe a two minutes silence to remember the dead of the First World War.
The list of quotes grows more critical and cynical as it goes on. It was typeset in a typeface reminiscent of the inscriptions on monuments and printed onto A3 sized tracing paper. Being able to see through the text was a visual pun on seeing through propaganda if one stopped looking at the words.
I found out about FabLab in Altrincham opposite the bus and tram station. They have equipment they can show people how to use including a couple of Laser Cutters. I decided to reproduce the A3 piece as a plaque by etching the list into Perspex (thanks to Val at Lucite International for providing samples etc.). The quotes were done in Adobe Illustrator and saved as a pdf file, which the Laser Cutter ‘prints’ onto the material you use, which can be paper, wood and other stuff as well as Perspex.
After a few trials to see what sizes, depths of cut etc. what colour material to use, and with a lot of patient help from Tony and Anthony at FabLab, I finished the piece today.
Sometimes I take photographs as visual notes about things I might later develop into written pieces or photoessays – or they might just stay as a reminder or record of something that I found interesting. This video is bit more than that, but it’s not a finished piece and might never be. Rather, it’s a bit of a ‘research’ video for my on-going thingy about memorials…
There has been an explosion (pun intended) in the number of memorials to the dead of WW1 and 2 and to recent victims of terrorism. There is a conscious attempt to link the two and portray the U.S. “War On Terror” (next stop North Korea) as being linked with the “just war” (WW2).
Any debate about the justification and motives behind this is shut down by accusations of “disrespecting ‘our’ troops” or being “unpatriotic”.
I went back to London where I had written about the memorials at Hyde Park Corner in ‘A Walk In The Park’ (2016) and observed how the public interacted with these newer memorials and compared it to how they interacted to the Remembrance service held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, which I had attended last November.
One of my favourite images in Tamryn Simon’s 2007 book ‘An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar‘ is the Braille edition of Playboy magazine, which could be proof that they did “just buy it for the articles”. You can read the rather interesting story how the U.S. taxpayer came to fund the Braille edition here. And you can look-but-not-touch at it all here…
I’ve already blogged about this (and can’t be bothered wading back through all my posts to find the link). But what I found mildly amusing was the automatic response of the anti-smut filters on Issuu – the website that I used to host the pdf of Playboy for you to see. It flagged up the 96 pages of raised dots as…
I’ll be showing three videos at Subliminal Impulse (well I won’t be there, so someone else will be showing them) – I’ve shown you one already – here’s another, which is called ‘Strange Love’. If you’ve seen Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr Strangelove’ (which is beginning to look more like a documentary than the blackest of comedies) you’ll see what I was doing – and if it looks familiar, it’s because I tried to do the same thing with ‘Refuel’.
I can think of no where better than Chorlton-cum-Hardy for the world premiere of ‘Flag of Concealment’ (see the post below) – it (and one or two other shorts that I may not even have made yet) gets an airing in the 5th edition of Subliminal Impulse the arts workshop/salon/gig/event which will be on – Saturday 8 April, 2017, Dulcimer Bar, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0AE. As has become something of a tradition with me, I will be elsewhere – I really will have to sort out a Skype/Satellite link up for the next one.
I made this video a few days ago whilst on holiday in the USA. I filmed it on my phone in a Walmart store. All down the main aisle, American flags were suspended from the ceiling. These Stars and Stripes were blowing in the breeze from the air conditioning units, recalling the second verse of the country’s National Anthem (the one no one knows):
“What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?”
– ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, Words by Francis Scott Key.
Given where the country finds itself, it is fair to wonder what it is “half conceal(-ing), half disclose(-ing)”.
Doubtless you’ll get the symbolism of the music – ’Charmaine’ played by Mantovani – which I borrowed from “medication time” in ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos’s Nest’.
“I like photographers – you don’t ask questions.” – Ronald Reagan
Despite declining sales, newspapers still set the agenda that TV news follows, that the public swallows, then shares on social media. Lying may be a sin the press occasionally commit, but its not as serious as the sin of distraction:
The government has abolished the Child Poverty Unit, the Prime Minister announced,
WEARING LEOPARD SKIN SHOES!!!
That’s the story behind my latest distraction, PRAV(D)A (gettit? – propaganda/shoes???) –a 16 page newspaper, which mainly consists of pithy quotes I’ve copied and pasted from someone else and the choicest selection of photographs of Theresa May’s shoes that I could find on Getty Images picture library. In other words I gave myself the idea when I wrote the post ‘The Fourth Estate’ below.
Photographers try to make a politician reading an autocue into a picture that a newspaper will spend £458 on. They have to stay for the whole speech, so they snap a few full length shots, a few head shots, a few audience reaction shots then the same again in horizontal and vertical formats. Then they look to see if they can get the slogan on the backdrop to say something rude if the politicians head blocks out a letter. Then they spend the rest of the speech catching the talking head looking stupid. Or, in the case of Mrs May, they photograph her feet – or make her look stupid.