|this weeks post it note, a list and end of a roll of developed film I'll use as a bookmark|
I'm writing this on the evening of Bank Holiday Monday as I don't want to leave it any longer plus as I had a really long lie in it still feels like early afternoon to me but this might be a slightly shorter post than usual or I might ramble on like I usually do - who knows....
The big capitals in pink on the post it note:
are there because they are increasingly cropping up in discussions at college and whilst I am fairly sure I understand what they mean in an everyday way I'm not so sure I fully understand them when they are used in an art related conversation so part of my work this week is to investigate them in that context and see if I can come to a better and more comfortable understanding of them. But the use of language around art in turn makes me think of the bit of the Alan Moore interview I saw the other week in which he talked about the relationship between words and magic and how words are also spells and also the conversation between John Waters and Bruce Haines in Art A Sex Book (|Thames and Hudson USA 2003) in which (my beloved) John Waters says:
'the art world is a secret club with a secret language. What business doesn't have a secret language?..People learn the language if they are interested enough....I like elitism: it's part of the fun of the contemporary artworld - having to learn enough so that you can come into the club and understand it'.
And whilst I understand and to a certain degree agree with this it also makes me slightly uncomfortable as I think it then makes art more inaccessible than it already is. My struggle with this is something that been ongoing since the start of the course (and as we come towards the end of the third term I'm increasingly thinking about what I have learnt and how my work has changed since I started the course back in September) and part of me is also thinking if that might be a good starting point for my dissertation...Other things I'm thinking about are the differences between film and digital - I LOVE my film cameras and to paraphrase Charlton Heston (though he was talking about something unpleasant) you will prise my film cameras out of my cold dead hands I love the faff and ritual of film - as well as the end result but I am increasingly using my lo-mo 3.2 mega pixel camera phone which can just about zoom in but not by very much and it doesn't have a flash or anything fancy on it at all. Unlike the camera on my husbands smart phone which is very fancy indeed and takes lovely pictures.
I am enjoying the phones lightness to carry as well as its image capturing limitations plus it is virtually free to use compared to my film camera (though in order to do a truly comparable comparison I'd have to work out how much it costs per charge and how much per transfer of images from its micro sd card to the main computer) but in terms of actual cash outlay the 93 (!!!!) pictures I took on my way home last week of patterns in the decay of the stonework which caught my eye were effectively free when the same amount of pictures taken on my beloved Minolta 7000 would have meant 2 rolls of 36 and a roll of 24 35mm films and the cost of their development...Mmm.....but the film pictures I did take of Undercliffe Cemetery do look so much lovelier - there's a depth to them that is preferable. Anyway it took me a long time to get a phone with a camera on it and I am beginning to love using it.
I did some more cyanotype prep this week - and I got to watch the magical potentially poisonous solution being mixed too which was very exciting. One day I will have my own darkroom in which I'll be able to do the same but for now I will continue to enjoy the advantages of the college darkroom, anyway this week I prepped red, grey and cream paper and I hope the red paper in particular comes out a lovely purpley colour when exposed to sunlight. I am reading The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins at the moment and it is wonderful. Published in 1860 it was the first of the victorian sensation novels and there is brief mention of 'sun pictures' being made in it - the uncle wants all of his collection of drawings and coins taken. Part of me is wondering exactly what kind of sun pictures they were - were they cyanotypes? I shall have to research my photographic processes history to see what is most likely they would have been using...
I've still been struggling with energy levels though - think the lurgy I had took more out of me than I realised really as I was really flagging during the week - so much so I didn't go to see the Susan Sontag documentary at the Hyde Park and it takes a lot for me not to go to the pictures (especially at the Hyde Park as it is one of my all time favourite places to go) but I was just too tired plus I checked online and I can watch it there - I want to see it as part of me is hoping that if I see the documentary they'll be less for me to read of the pile of books next to my desk from the college library which I keep renewing but don't get any nearer to finishing and in some cases starting....
But aside from The Woman In White which I am absolutely loving I am also absolutely loving Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes which is just gorgeous - sad, thoughtful, thought provoking, just really wonderful writing and his descriptions of photographs and the memories they contain or rather fail to is still percolating through my brain - it makes me think of the way I look at old family photographs, photographs of times I have no direct experience or memory of, and in turn it then makes me think of how much people take photographs today - the constant clicking (albeit electronically) of shutters and what happens to those images? Because to me photograph doesn't just mean image - it means a physical format of some kind, a print. Do any of the images destined for Twitter or Facebook ever get printed out? Ever made into a physical thing that doesn't just sit on a timeline and server?
I was also reminded this week of the potential differences between how I see my work and how others may see it - I took pictures on a pinhole camera (on 35mm film) and showed the scanned negative of one of my results to a college professional. I'm not that keen on the picture (it's a 2 second exposure of Whitby Abbey) but she loved it and thought it was really good. Alas I did not take it on 26th April which was World Pinhole Camera Day so I didn't upload that one to the site but the one I took in the pub which you can see here which I did take on the Sunday.
I have also entered one of my pics in the Museum of the Year Photography Exhibition - details here, I doubt very much I'll win as the pictures I took when I was at the wonderful Whitworth were more for my own personal research on my trusty lo-mo camera phone but you never know....
I used my big Fuji instant camera and my Minolta when I went to Undercliffe Cemetery on Wednesday for a tour and launch of the latest photographic book by Mark Davis - it was lovely pootling about the cemetery at night taking pictures in the twilight whilst hearing a bit about its history. I especially enjoyed using my instant camera:
This week is hopefully going to consist of energy levels starting to feel fully back to normal as well as lots of printing, a studio tour, a meeting about potential plans for Light Night and a pop up cinema. it's exciting having lots on and to think about but there is also part of me that feels a bit tired just looking at my diary for this week.....