Friday, December 7, 2012

Colin Gray’s surreal photographs of a devastated New York

The photographer headed back into Manhattan the day after Sandy to see the hurricane devastation himself but was struck by something different

After two days stuck inside after the hurricane Sandy, VH1 and MTV photographer and photo editor Colin Gray and some of his friends had to see some of the effects of the hurricane for themselves. With no trains running they walked into the heart of Manhattan.

Friday, November 23, 2012

VII Photo's Donald Weber defends Ron Haviv

Weber defended his agency mate when asked about THAT Lockhead Martin photograph at a Frontline Club panel discussion this week

Canadian photographer Donald Weber has defended fellow VII photojournalist Ron Haviv who was caught in the middle of a controversy surrounding the use of one of his photographs to advertise a weapons intelligence company.

“Basically, he shot the photographs in Iraq for his own work,” Weber said. “And through his commercial agent – not through VII – an advertising agency bought that work.”

Back in July it emerged that a photograph by war photographer and VII Photo member Haviv was being used in an advertisement for defense, security and technology company Lockhead Martin. Much controversy surrounded the image and Ron Haviv at the time; should he have allowed his image to be used to promote the services of a company, which sold the very weapons and intelligence technology, which contribute to troubles in places that he photographs such as Afghanistan and the Middle East?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Photographs of the early days of Silicon Valley emerge

I just love it when new photographs surface. Taken in the early days of Silicon Valley many of these feature Steve Jobs and other luminaries at the beginning of something great. There's even a photograph of the possible moment that kicked off David Hockney's enthusiasm to make art with a computer. He's now known for using he iPad to paint works which have been most recently on show at the Royal Academy of art but at the time this photograph was taken he'd only previously arranged photographs by hand, creating some of his most famous works such as Still Life Blue Guitar (1982).

The photographs were taken by Doug Menuez, a photojournalist who documented the rise of the golden era of Silicon Valley over a period of 15 years. "As digital technology grew more powerful, Silicon Valley resembled what Paris in the twenties must have been like. Artists arrived from all over the world, eager to experiment," Menuez told Wired. "David Hockney, holding one of his beloved dachshunds, attends a 1990 Adobe Photoshop Invitational, where he learned how to use the first release version of Photoshop."

It's part of a set of black and white images which has just seen the light of day after it was curtailed by Steve Jobs who features in many of the images. The photographs portray Jobs in the years after he was ousted from Apple and the beginnings of NeXT (the computer that Tim Berners-Lee would eventually create the internet on) including the meeting in the soon to be NeXT factory where Jobs received the investment he needed to start his new company.

Preparations for the demonstration are not going well in Las Vegas (1992) above, is one of my favourites from the selection on Here's what Menuez had to say about it: "Unfortunately, while preparing a demonstration of the Newton for the national press in Las Vegas, the device crashed, causing event organizer Michael Witlin to hit the floor and Tricia Chan to call engineers for help."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Getting over London Fashion Week with the London Design Festival

I had an incling of how busy the last few days would be when I realised that my birthday coincided with the first day of London Fashion Week, but on the other side I now realise it's Thursday and a whole week has gone by since I last too stock.

I didn't think I'd be *that* busy.

I've been so consumed in birthday/fashion week world that the London Design Festival almost passed by without registered so much as a blip on my radar. I knew it was happening but the thought of making plans? Too much.

So yesterday when a friend emailed me and said did I know of anything good they should see, I thought did I?

My friends at Phaidon were my first port of call and sure enough they pulled through. They're showing their new beast of a book (I say book, it's not actually) and have a store selling some of their most notable titles at Design Junction down in Holburn at the Old Sorting Office.

This is a furniture and design geeks dream, there is even a Braun stand. Yes, Braun have a whole stand filled with lovely Dieter Rams designed goodness ready for you to touch and drool over. I think the stand-minder was doing a fair bit too. Make sure you wipe up after yourself.

The Old Sorting Office is so big and there's three floors, I'm going to have to make a trip back at the weekend to make sure I've not missed anything.

There's a cinema showing films by Light Surgeons as part of a Crafts Council exhibition called Added Value? which my friend seemed very excited about and there's a pop-up Canteen at which to refuel too.

Design Junction is part of the wider London Design Festival, which last year saw the Bouroullecs take over the V&A, so you know it's going to be good. Find something near you here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Do we care enough to save our memories in the digital world?

On Monday it was reported that Bruce Willis was suing Apple for the rights to the music he owns. And then on Tuesday it was reported he wasn't. Even so, this brings to light something that many of us were probably unaware of: your record collection is not yours. Yes you heard me right, you don't actually own the music you buy through iTunes, it's just on loan.

This is part of a wider problem that has been talked about in tech, design, photography, art circles for a few years now; nothing is actually real. It's not been brought to the attention of the wider public that we won't actually have anything to pass down to our children anymore - no old photographs gathering dust in albums, no record to be drawn to by its sleeve design, nothing. Indeed it was this issue that was said to be the reasoning behind Bruce Willis supposedly suing Apple - he wanted to leave his record collection to his children. Currently, under iTunes terms and conditions users are merely 'borrowing' tracks under licence and when the owner dies the tracks are the property of Apple once more.

"Willis has discovered that, like anyone who has bought music online, he does not actually own the tracks but is instead ‘borrowing’ them under a licence," The New Statesman quotes Neil Sears in a Daily Mail article.

Public awareness of the transient nature of the collections of photographs, music and books that we 'own' only increases once exhibitions, newspaper articles prompt conversation among people. Digital Crystal, the new show at the Design Museum with Swarovski is trying to do just that.

"We want to create memories, physical things that we can give our children to take away," Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum said at the opening. "And if we think about what the digital camera and the mobile phone are doing, they're destroying that."

The show features 14 designers working with digital media including Yves Béhar, Ron Arad and Philippe Malouin who used CERN's Large Hadron Collider as inspiration for his spinning crystal piece. Exploring the meaning of memories in the digital age and what our relationship is going to be with them in the future it's the first step to bringing the problem of the products we own being non-existent into the forefront of public knowledge and discussion.

But you do have to ask yourself, do people even care enough to listen to these warnings? Or are we just gearing up to shout one big I TOLD YOU SO at the masses when they complain they don't have any tangible memories to hand down to their children? I sort of wish Bruce Willis would have kept quiet about the fact he wasn't actually suing Apple for the rights for his children to inherit his music collection, just so we could have this discussion in the papers for that little while longer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fund FINDS 2 by Harry Watts

It seems this is the season for funding requests so I'm picking and choosing which ones I feature so that you know which ones to spend your hard earned pennies on. The next project (because you've already donated to Erika Larsen's right?) is FINDS 2 by Harry Watts.

Based in Brighton Watts is a photographer who's worked with The Telegraph, Salvatore Ferragamo and the BBC. He's also studio assistant to the venerable Martin Parr and recently picked up the job of managing the studio of Ewen Spencer who shot the rise of The White Stripes in Three's a Crowd.

If that wasn't enough strings to his bow he's also looking for funds for the second in his FINDS series, before I divert you to the page where you can find out what you can get for your money have a read below of what he had to say when I spoke to him about the project.

How did FINDS first come about?
FINDS first came about from an exercise started by myself after leaving University. This exercise was in keeping my photographic eye in, I bought a cheap digital camera and took it everywhere, photographing everything and anything I could do. These images would just fill up memory cards and my laptop and wouldn't go anywhere.

This changed when I started working at Photoworks - Ben Burbridge and Gordon MacDonald asked to see what I was working on. I went home that evening and put an edit together of these images, after presenting them the edit they enncouraged me to work on these found sculptures. The process then led to seeking an output for the work. Not wanting to show the images in a gallery, the street became the best option.

The FINDS work is just an extension of what I see everyday I go out on the streets.

What made you want to print a paper, and then leave it for people to find?
The reason for printing a paper was from the want to distribute the images as a collection or exhibition. If the images were printed on cards, which was an early idea, and then left on the street they would loose there value as an object. But there is a wonderful quality that a printed newspaper gives. Also it was cheap and I could print loads!

How do you see your photographs?
I see my photographs as my look on the world, yes I am a photographer and I use photography to make my art. I really do seem them as street photography but I really don't like to put myself in any section I will leave that for others to do. The FINDS work is just an extension of what I see everyday I go out on the streets.

What's next?
So if the funding is successful there'll be 5000 copies printed for the Photo Fringe. There's also going to be an opening launch at the Aubin and Wills Store in Brighton on the 12th October.

I will then be placing the papers in 100 locations around Brighton. Places in both Brighton and London can ask to stock the newspapers but I hope to make it as easy as I can for people to find a FINDS newspaper. But just keep your eyes on the streets and I'm sure you'll see one in Brighton in October.

After the Festival I'll be taking the papers to London and hope to place them in another 100 locations.

Photo Fringe runs at various locations around Brighton from October 6 to Novermber 18 and if you want to see Harry Watts' FINDS 2 there get over to his funding page NOW because it closes on Monday (September 3).

Watch the video below with Harry Watts talking about FINDS 2

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fund Erika Larsen's book about the Sámi reindeer herders

Last September I ran an interview I did with Washington DC-based photographer Erika Larsen who'd spent the last few years living with the Sámi, an indigenous tribe living within the Arctic circle in the northern parts of Scandinavia and Russia. I absolutely loved her photographs and thought that they had an amazing sense of calm, optimism and of course, anything with a bit of snow in gets me straight away.

Since September, she's cropped up in a few places and has been featured in the National Geographic magazine and on their website. Now, she wants to make her work into a book and she's using to do it. Head over there through this link to sponsor her and get your copy but first have a read of what I had to say about her work when I spoke to her last year. You can also watch the video at the bottom with Larsen talking about the experience.

Reindeer herders by tradition, the Sámi live a semi-nomadic life as they follow their animals across the Arctic wasteland. Living and working among two families and learning the Sámi language, Larsen immersed herself in the lifestyle for over four years. "I learned with the Sámi that all we have to learn exists in daily life activity," Larsen says. "I mean the daily chores and ways function as people, cultures, and family exists in the ordinary daily life. Nothing more nothing less."

Before Sámi, Larsen had been working The Hunt and Young Blood two bodies of photographs on North American hunting culture (Young Blood won a 2007 World Press Photo Award). Larsen continues: "I wanted to take that experience further and begin to live with an original nomadic hunter-gather society that was functioning and had their own economic sustainability in today's modern world. I also wanted to gain a better understanding of the primal drive of the modern hunter. I needed to get away from everything I understood and start again, with fresh eyes and fresh perspective. Begin like a child. I think the Arctic did that for me."

A version of this article originally ran on in September 2011

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Will the role of a professional journalist ever go away?

Everyone likes to think that they're a photographer now but when you find yourself in a situation in which you can indeed become a 'citizen journalist' how do we know that these people will have the nerve, or know how to actually document the situation in an unbiased and factually way? Of course there will always be the minutes, or even hours where professional journalists and photographers cannot get close and it will fall down to the everyday people in the situation to document the happenings and send out the first photographs and reports.

But a recent article in the Guardian about photographers who have been put in a position where they had to choose between getting 'the shot' or intervening to help - many of which choosing the former - and a response by James Johnson of (Notes on) Politics, Theory & Photography prompted me to think about how the photographs we see might change and how we may always need professional 'conflict photographers' and that they will probably never go away.

James Johnson asked, "Do we want them for their compassion? Or, do we want them for the ability to stomach events that we'd otherwise be able to blithely ignore?"

I would say we need to know about these things, these photographers have the ability to switch that part of the brain that would normally make someone wince, or become overwhelmed and make sure that they get the shot that makes the event sink in for those who are not able to witness it themselves. Would a citizen bystander be able to do the same thing? Can we ask them to? When the 7/7 bombings happened, the images we saw taken by the commuters on the trains were of the light at the end of the tunnels, they were images that led to a hope at the end, they'd already gotten over and didn't see the need to document what they had seen in the carriages. Why did they need to? They had seen it themselves, in person, they had probably helped some people up, got them out onto the tracks and off to safety. Would a professional photographer, used to conflict situations have done the same thing? Would they have switched into 'work' mode and started documenting the situation as an onlooker, even though minutes before they were just the same as every person on the carriage, bar one - just going about their own business?

I go back to Johnson's question "Do we want them for their compassion? Or, do we want them for the ability to stomach events that we'd otherwise be able to blithely ignore?" You wouldn't randomly find yourself in the middle of a known conflict zone unless you had some reason to be there as part of your profession, automatically making prepared for the situation and ready to see it from an outsiders point of view. These events are far displaced from many people, so they need to be sought out, documented and you need the professionals who have the stomach to do it. Events that everyday citizens may find themselves in are unexpected, they happen right on your doorstep, they are unavoidable and reported upon greatly because they are rarities. It's when things happen more frequently and everyday citizens can go about their business, planning to avoid them, or glazing over them that the role of the professional journalist comes into play. And for that reason they will never go away.

Image courtesy AP

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"He just took a picture of you." – The lost art of the non-celebritographer TV documentary

There's not enough documentaries about photographers on television and the ones that do make it onto our screens always seem to be about celebritographers recreating their idol's most famous images (I'm not going to name names). It's not often there's a documentary profiling a photographer, are they deemed interesting enough? Is it the way that so many photographers can take such interesting images because they can fade into the background? I don't know. It's quite a lot larger subject which I'm not totally prepped to tackle right now.

Either way. The only doc I can sort of remember being on TV that followed actual photographers doing their thing is a doc with Martin Parr and Lee Freidlander? I can't actually remember the name of this documentary, so if anyone can, and find a link to it that would be great. I just remember it was good and they were in a supermarket in America at some point. Not much to go on I know.

Apparently this photographer documentaries not making it onto TV thing has been happening for a while. Joel Meyerowitz, who's known most recently known for his photographs of Ground Zero after 9/11, filmed a documentary created by Robert Gilberg in 1981 which was never picked up by a network and only made it into the public domain after Gilberg died last year.

The film follows Joel Meyerowitz - who along with Stephen Shore and William Eggleston became the first to work solely in colour - on the streets of New York, accompanied by the curator and writer Colin Westerbeck. The film gives us an insight into his approach to street photography and a glimpse of his working methods, including his small 35mm Leica and the large plate cameras.

Top image courtesy Jesse Lirola

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thought for the day and a beautiful short film about trees

This video has been sitting in my reader for a while and I was wondering just what to do with it. I wouldn't say that wood carving is really my thing, but there is something beautiful that you can appreciate from the sounds the material makes. Take a minute to meditate whilst watching this short film by The Scout as wood-worker Josh Vogel describes his relationship with trees and how it affects his outlook on life.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Surviving degree show season and a little advice for graduates

Going to degree shows is sort of like subjecting yourself to a school play when you don't know any of the kids. It's just a load of noise and if you're lucky there'll be one kid who manages to stand out above all the squeaky singing and sound like a song bird. The key is knowing how to be that wonderfully singing song bird. I find it helps to have some criteria in mind whether you're a soon to be graduate putting on your first exhibition or trying to take in the visual cacophony of photographs every summer at degree shows such as Free Range.

I've named it C.AM.P.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Student Street Photography Award winner announced

This evening London Festival of Photography announced the winner of the Student Street Photography Award as Jake Burge. The six finalists - Felix Davey, Giulia Mangione, Heather Shuker, Matthew Taylor, Paul Walsh and Jake Burge - were selected from entries across the British Isles. They all won the chance to work with street photographer Peter Dench and the London Festival of Photography organisers to produce a group exhibition at Orange Dot Gallery until June 29.

I've done a quick round up of this year's finalists so check out what they have to say and their photographs below.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Maison Martin Margiela and H&M collaborate

This is not a fashion post people. Calm yourselves. I'm always interested in which designer H&M collaborates with, and not because of the clothes and drama that will undoubtedly surround them.

"I'm sure it's always the same people who jizz themselves over the H&M collaboration announcements, then slag it off when it launches.
I'll save you the bother now: it's crap quality, look at those losers queuing in the rain, SO expensive, it all just ends up on eBay," @PoppyD exclaimed.

I'm interested in the ad campaign, the branding, the packaging and the merging of two brands into one short lived campaign - the Lanvin x H&M campaign was great. So when the Maison Martin Margiela x H&M announcement popped into my inbox yesterday morning I scrolled right to the images. And they're nice, stripped back and straightforward with just the right amount of ambiguity to tease you about what the designs might actually look like.


Whilst doubts have been cast over whether Margiela himself would have ever agreed to this collaboration had he still full control over his house, the images are sufficiently 'arty' if not slightly alienating to the general 'fashion public' - I've only seen the top one actually used. They're speaking to the people who are fans of the Margiela brand, it's deconstructed design principles, tailoring and the legacy of the brand which has been around for 20 years. I'm interested to see what the rest of the campaign is going to be like.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The sun shines on The Shard, people photograph it.

Yesterday morning I looked at my Twitter feed as I got into work to find that I had missed a spectacular sight. As the City of London was covered in a haze of humid light the sun had aligned in such a way that it bounced off London's newest landmark The Shard.

"Did the Shard architects plan this for hazy, sunny mornings? If so they are geniuses." Tweeted @HawksmoorLondon.

And what a sight it would have been had I not been on a train heading directly west away from it. Luckily Twitter came to the rescue (much like it did during the London Mist) and here's some of the best photos I found of the phenomena which I'm looking forward to seeing each year. Thank you architects of The Shard.

Check out some of my favourites below. The photo above is by @evanstomd

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Omega officially starts up Olympic Madness

By now we're all familiar with what I'm affectionately calling 'Jubilee Madness' but there is another more ferocious monster on the horizon, actually it's already halfway here: Olympic Madness.

And who better to start/kick off/keep the marathon going than The Official Time Keeper of the London 2012 Olympic Games OMEGA? I do love a bit of slo-mo and this new advert - which you can get a sneak preview of below before it's released on our TV screens this Friday - has it all.

Olympic hopefuls U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin, British heptathlete Jessica Ennis and U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay among others rock out to the Rolling Stones' Start Me Up! There's everything you could want from an Epic Ad; slow motion walking out into a stadium, the splashing of water and the focus on each individual droplet as well as the last calming breath before the start of a race all climaxing in the firing of the starting gun. EPIC.

Check out the 60-second commercial below and click here to see more Epic Ads.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Andrea Galvani to show at Flowers Gallery

Flowers Gallery have announced the photographers who will be taking part in their summer show Uncommon Ground and as I mentioned before curator Chris Littlewood has chosen a really great mix of photographers, two of which I interviewed earlier this year for I thought I'd post some excerpts from the articles so read Andrea Galvani's below and you can catch Scarlett Hooft Graafland's here.

Andrea Galvani, Higgs Ocean (2009/2010)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scarlett Hooft Graafland to show at Flowers Gallery

Flowers Gallery has announced the photographers who'll be featured in their summer show titled Uncommon Ground  and curator Chris Littlewood has chosen a really great mix of photographers: Peter Ainsworth, Edward Burtynsky, Chris Engman, Andrea Galvani, Andy Goldsworthy, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Nadav Kander, Jason Larkin, Alastair Levy, Jaehyo Lee, Tom Lovelace, John MacLean, Robert Polidori, Simon Roberts, Aaron Schuman and David Spero.

Burtynsky's series OIL is currently headlining The Photographers' Gallery re-opening and Roberts has a solo show as part of the London Festival of Photography next month but there's a couple of other photographers who I'd like to point out: Andrea Galvani and Scartlett Hooft Graafland both of which I interviewed for earlier this year. I thought I'd run a few excerpts from each interview - Scarlett Hooft Graafland's is below and I'll put up Andrea Galvani's later so be sure to check back.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Photographers' Gallery reopens

Yesterday saw the reopening of the Photographers' Gallery in London. After a £9.2million refurbishment the gallery, which has been serving photographers in London since the 1970s, opened its doors for the first time in nearly two years.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Download the London Photography Exhibition Guide now

The London Photography Exhibition app has been released this weekend for iPhone. It includes all the information any photography fanatic will need to find their way around the photography galleries and shows in the capital including The Photographers' Gallery which opened today!

As well as list of all the photography exhibitions going on in London at the moment it features a frequently updated news page where you can make sure you're not going to miss any soon to close exhibitions such as Gillian Wearing's show at the Whitechapel Gallery which the app conveniently tells us has 30 days left (at the writing of this post).


And if you just want to find a new gallery to have a browse around there's a full list of all London photography venues including, addresses, phone numbers and websites so that you can find a place to see some photography at the touch of a couple of buttons no matter where you are in London.

The London Photography Exhibition app is available to download now from the iTunes App Store and is soon available for Android and Windows

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

London Festival of Photography is back

The London Festival of Photography is back with a vengeance. After the first event last summer it has dropped the 'Street' in its name and has expanded to cover documentary, conceptual and street photography in over 50 events, exhibitions and workshops, including 18 exhibitions around the King's Cross and Euston area. As well as exhibitions at the Museum of London, the Horse Hospital and the Orange Dot Gallery in Tavistock Place there will also be events at the British Library, British Museum, Tate Modern, the V&A - coincidentally some of my favourite venues in London.

I'll be featuring some of my picks over the next few weeks in the run up to the festival so that you can be sure that you don't miss anything. For now here's a few highlights:

The Great British Public at St. Pancras International from 1 June - 1 July and features long time talents such as Peter Dench, Martin Parr, Simon Roberts, Ewen Spencer and is one of the festival's "headline" exhibitions, if you can only see one of the shows, this is it.

Camera Obscura - Minnie Weisz at her studio on St Pancras Road from 1 - 29 June. Wiesz uses one of my favourite techniques to create her photographs by projecting the surrounding area onto the walls of her studio.

Student Street Photography Award Competition at Orange Dot Gallery from 15 - 29 June. See the future of street photography featuring six young photographers from around the UK

This is London - Peter Dench at the Burlington Arms on 18 and 29 April. A two day weekend workshop to help with your approach to photographing people in public spaces. Get tickets

Photo-walk with David Gibson starts at Rivington Place on 23 June. Street photography in East-London, for appreciators of street photography, for those who want to know more and those who just want to be guided to the best places to take their own photographs. Get tickets

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Let's look at some pretty flowers down Columbia Road


I'd heard about Columbia Road Flower Market and had always wanted to go so last Sunday I was in the area and decided to pop down for a quick browse. Once you get past the amount of people (so many people), the market itself is a feast for the eyes. Just one bunch of flowers can bring a whole room to life, now imagine a whole road FULL of flowers. It was brilliant.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern

"It's dead" a little blonde haired girl points at Damien Hirst's formaldehyde preserved sheep Away from the Flock which is currently on show at the Tate Modern. Kids are used to seeing animals at the petting zoo, cute fluffy and smelling all sawdusty and licking your hand as you feed them a carrot, not seeing sort of rotting, sliced in half carcases with misty eyes.

Damien Hirst's first extensive show in London is a good way to introduce to children - in a fun and colourful way - that things die. That's what the show is about, life cycles, life and death whether it's a that of a sheep, butterflies or the human race.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Americans show the British how it's done at Wembley

I'm getting excited about our return to Wembley Stadium on Saturday for the Saracens, Harlequins tie (with a McFly pre-match). The last time we were at the stadium was for the once yearly visit the American NFL pays to the UK. The San Francisco 49ers were playing the Denver Broncos and travelling thousands of miles for a match did not mean that they would not put on a show.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alighiero Boetti (the other show on at Tate)

Whilst most of the attention has been on the Tate Modern's Yayoi Kusama exhibition this month (I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago), there's another show on at the reclaimed power station that is not to be missed. Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan has been trundling along quietly since the end of February and whilst Kusama has had the cover of the tube map and Louis Vuitton to push her forward, the Boetti show has relied upon his intelligence and prominence within Arte Povera.

Boetti was part of the Arte Povera group of Italian artists working through the 1960s and became known for his use of existing materials and commissioning his work out to groups of people to complete after he had thought up the original idea. Some of his most striking and well known works are his maps (above) which were made in a hotel he set up in Kabul as an art project between 1971 and 1979. Each map depicting the state of the world at a different time or more detail in a certain area. Check out the insanely cool 360 (if I do say so myself) here.

Many of Boetti's projects were taken to obsessive levels, one project saw him make up a journey for different artists and then post letters to the places he had imagined he had sent them. When the letters were returned to sender, because the artist he was sending them to wasn't there, Boetti would put the letter in a larger envelope and send it on to the next place. When the letter came back again, Boetti would post it off to the next place in an even bigger envelope... you get the idea.

My favourite works are some large boards with very small biro marks on, completely filling the spaces in neat lines, made by a group of students - the different artists visible only by the styles of the biro lines. Within pieces commas have been included to communicate messages which can be read using the alphabet on the side.


I always like going to see shows at the Tate Modern, every now and again you're reminded where you are  as many of the galleries look out over the Thames and St Paul's beyond. Appropriately, the room with the view housed Boetti and his wife's project which extensively documented the thousand longest rivers in the world. Their findings were documented in three quite chunky books (which don't have indexes by the way) and a large canvas with the names of the rivers and their lengths embroidered in a digital-like font.

So after all that I was thoroughly impressed with the show, I wasn't exhausted as much as I felt at the end of the Kusama show - there was minimal reading and you could just get lost in Boetti's works and let the OCD part of your character take over. Like it really needs an excuse!

Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan at the Tate Modern until May 27. Click here for tickets

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fashion meets art at Selfridges

The design of the new Womens Designer Galleries in Selfridges is described as "fashion meets architecture" but with the release of The Film Project the phrase "when fashion meets art" could easily be applied. These fashion films - on show at the The Old Selfridges Hotel until March 25 - are beautiful and take a conceptual view towards some of the labels held in the Womens Designer Galleries; Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, A.F. Vandevorst, Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten and  Comme des Garçons.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tim Lewis' fantastical imagined machines made real

Coming from Pinner, home of cartoonist, illustrator and some would say inventor Heath Robinson (there's a museum you know) I'm used to see fantastical drawings of mechanical objects conjured up from the mind of a man who clearly thought very differently to the rest of us. But he did have one fault, none of his brilliantly technical drawings ever realised themselves into real life working machines. Making dreamt up machines has not been a problem for Tim Lewis whose show, Mechanisms opened at Flowers Gallery on Kingsland Road this week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The art of unlimited cinema

Part way of saving money, part treat (ok maybe more treat) I've signed up for a Cineworld Unlimited Card. The idea is that we like going to the cinema but really don't like the prices we're charged for the tickets. Orange Wednesdays help yes, but it's so busy you have to set aside a whole chunk of time before to queue up for your tickets. Now with our Cineworld passes we can go any time and see as many films as we like. Perfect.

To celebrate this we ventured over to the O2 on Saturday morning for a double feature of The Woman in Black and The Vow. They contrasted well, TWiB providing the fear factor and The Vow the tear factor. I recommend them both, although if you're prone to not liking terribly cheesy films I'd steer clear of the vow. 'Cus it pongs.

The Vow did have one culturally redeeming quality though, set in Chicago and Rachel McAdams' (told you, cheese) character being an artist, many of the scenes take in the city's public art including Anish Kapoor's mammoth sculpture Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Having only seen it in photographs and not in person (hint hint anyone who wants to fly my to Chicago) the big screen really brought home how impressive it is. The MCA Chicago is also name-dropped.

Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams under Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in The Vow

As my cinema-going no doubt increases over the next few months (and my social life decreases) there'll probably be more as seen on the big screen posts coming your way so stay tuned...

Top image © Maximillien Brice and film still from The Vow courtesy Sony Pictures

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Time for some #leavingdrinks

It's funny the things that people you work with everyday notice about you. You don't realise until you threaten them with leaving. On Friday I had my last day at Phaidon before starting a new position at a different website and the among the things that I will apparently be remembered for (apart from my astounding work ethic and brilliant digital skillz) are tweeting, my supply of Yorkshire tea and that I replace the baked beans in my all day breakfast at the local cafe with chopped tomatoes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The brilliant, the blurry and the down right terrible

So we know that reporting from the runway has changed considerably over the last few seasons. Experiencing the shows not sat on the 'frow' or even then second or third, but from the comfort of the palm of my hand through my twitter feed has improved no doubt with every blogger and fashion editor known to man twittering photos of every look as it walks down the runway - often giving you several different angles on the same show.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

David Shrigley, my new favourite artist

You know when you have a certain opinion of something, that it's been around for ages and you don't really fully appreciate it's greatness? I think I sort of felt like that toward David Shrigley. However, since we ran what I think is a brilliant feature on to find out what he actually does all day (yoga, listening to Woman's Hour, the football and then starts work around 4 in the afternoon), I've started to pay attention a bit more. And also because he's got a show on at the Hayward gallery at the moment and I'm looking for reasons to stroll down the South Bank from my flat on beautiful days like today.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yayoi Kusama, the exhibition for everyone

If you're looking for a show to visit with a group of friends look no further, Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern is it. Whether you like brightly coloured paintings that make you feel a bit dizzy, squishy sculpture, surreal video art or collage Kusama can cater for everyone. She's had time to, the 82-year-old has flitted between Japan and America and back to Japan and between, drawing, painting, sculpture, environmental art and back to painting throughout her whole career, returning to different mediums throughout, as she felt like it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Patrick Hughes' Reverspectives

We used to make these in our school art classes but I've never seen one as good as this. There was a good seven or eight people standing in the room walking around them back and forth over and over again, just disbelieving.

"Reverspective is forced perspective but backwards," the artist Patrick Hughes says.

These Reverspectives are painted by London based artist Patrick Hughes who's been exhibiting with Flowers Galleries since the seventies, so he's obviously the source of my teacher's idea for our art projects.

Photographs just don't convey what these paintings look like so I took the video above when I popped into Flowers Gallery on Kingsland Road yesterday. To see Patrick Hughes at his London Studio watch a film made by Jacob Harbord.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Made in England

I've had these videos hanging around for a bit of time but I suppose now is a good a time as any to feature them. The series titled Made in England was filmed for manufacturing firms Davey Lighting and Original BTC at their metal works in Birmingham and show how some of their traditionally crafted light fittings are made. Even if you aren't interested in the end product, you'll know doubt like to ogle at the metal and glass works in action.

Watch all the videos on
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