Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Los perfumes de primavera

Por ti junto a los jardines reciƩn florecidos me duelen los perfumes de primavera. ~ Pablo Neruda

I love Pablo Neruda, the poetry in Spanish makes me melt.

Full Text and Translation

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review: Annie Leibovitz at Work

Annie Leibovitz has become one of the most iconic photographers of the century, her body of work recognisable and individual photographs iconic. This book takes you behind the scenes to hear Leibovitch talk about how she got there, her inspirations, the discourse behind each photograph and how it was actually done. Her words in many cases are quite comforting to the aspiring photographer, advising acceptance that a photograph can only be a moment in a life of a person and not capable of 'capturing' that person, that cameras are just tools of the trade and not to get hung up on brands and equipment. Some of my highlights from the book include:

* Taking the famous last photo of a naked John Lennon and clothed Yoko Ono before he was shot
* Photographing the Rolling Stones on tour
* Capturing the war in Sarajevo
* Photographing the Queen
* The last supper photograph of the cast from the Sopranos

My only criticism of this book is that it is not big enough to give justice to the photographs. It is nightstand rather than coffee table sized. Looking at the small reproductions is not quite the same as gazing at the glossy center spreads in Vanity Fair. Still though, what has impressed me most about this book has been the words behind the pictures. I have accumulated quite a few photography books over the past couple of years but this has definitely become one of my most treasured.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Self Portrait: Being and Nothingness

So this is my first (and may be my only) attempt at a self portrait for this week's DPO Weekly Assignment. Surprisingly I got stuck on what to do for a self portrait. I've done lots of self portraits before but I couldn't say that any one of them perfectly represented me, or were even close....so, just to give myself a headache, I decided to go existentialist.

Because I was contemplating what parts of me were not in my previous photographs, what sprang to mind was Satre's work "Being and Nothingness". Rather than being as the opposite of nothing, Satre considers them as contradictions. Nothingness is a state of non-being, logically subsequent to being. In my self portraits whilst a part of me is there, the portrait is also defined by what of me is not there. That's something that is very clear to me. In saying that “This is a photograph of part of me” means that I should also be able to say “This is not a photograph of part of me”.

Anyway....it's difficult to take a photograph to represent a phenomenological ontological discussion, I tried to make it as monochrome as possible but not as opposites but as part of the same condition. The white background fading into the self, a blur to blur the boundaries between being and nothing. It's an attempt!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

How do I take a self portrait?

Ok so I have taken lots of self portraits in the past....but now I am given the challenge of being asked to take a self portrait for a competition and I'm stuck! I think perhaps before I have used self portraiture to tell a story or to try out particular techniques but now that I am asked to take a photograph of mySELF rather than a character I feel a bit nervous....how do I photograph me?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced amusement as sex and dancing - which means that, like every mass art form photography is not practiced by most people as art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool for power.
~ Susan Sontag On Photography