“Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth, 1948. Tempera on gessoed panel, 81.9 cm × 121.3 cm (32¼ in × 47¾ in)
“Tanja’s World” by Noritoshi Hirakawa, 1999. Silver gelatin print, 33 x 52 cm (13 x 20 1/2 in.) Edition of 10
Playing with memes from our imagined adolescent girl rituals, crashing together Susannah B’s schoolgirls, sleep-overs and Lizzie Borden. Lord of the flies in the Valley of the Dolls: come up your own glib pop psychology.
The song’s pretty good too.
Yves Kline “Anthropométrie de l’Époque bleue” 1960
Dir. Alain Robbe-Grillet “Glissements progressifs du plaisir (Successive Slidings of Pleasure)” 1974
For Vogue Paris by Guy Bourdin, 1976
Ren Hang, 2012
I saw a still from the video float by my monitor recently and a little reverse image searching from Tineye led me to Josh Mond’s video for Mayday Parade’s “Kids in love”. It’s two years old but appears to be relatively unknown. Musically it’s American trash pop. But that’s not why I’m posting it, if you don’t like this genre I suggest putting on a favourite tune before hitting play. The visuals aren’t synced or relevant to the tune’s structure. The director it seems, took the songs title and used that as his starting point for the storyboard.
So why am I posting it? I make no bones about being a huge admirer of Ryan McGinley. Quite simply my favourite artist photographer. And it appears that he is admired by Josh Mond too. For the brief could have been written “…make me a video inspired by ‘I know where the summer goes’…”. You could argue it’s derivative but McGinley hasn’t made films, and Mond made Martha Marcy May Marlene (my favourite film poster of last year) so let’s just agree it’s a pretty fabulous ride whatever the inspiration.
For the record I play Big Deal’s cover of Alex Chilton’s 13 as an alternative soundtrack. Something about the clash in pace and ensuing loss of innocence adds a little pathos. But then I’m a soppy git.
My work has been featured in two online magazines recently.
There is something pleasantly surprising to find a mention of yourself in a publication that one actually reads. Juxtapoz is a printed art magazine that also curates an online space showcasing more outsider aspects, which now includes a selection from my Skintones series. Well worth following besides it just featuring me.
Alrincon is a site which knows what side of the art-or-porn debate it’s on. Clue: it’s not art. So when my work was mentioned I was a little hesitant but the review is surprising pleasant. To save you clicking through here is the salient part…
No all photographers look for hot and beautiful girls. Some go further and look for something more deep. Photographers who try to capture the soul, the spirit, the inner… tell a story. Julian Baker, for example…
… under a headline of “Julian Baker doesn’t take photos of models, he shoots people”. In fact it’s one of the more thoughtful things that’s been said about me in a blog, so thank you Alrincon.
Although I am overfond of saying “Simplicity done well”, as a maxim it is hard to beat. There is a small genre of music videos where subtitles are overlain to add a extra dimension or narrative not present in the lyrics.
Film maker Kristoffer Borgli uses this conciet and with just a few lines sets the back story for this short tale of a man who likes dancing in a small Norwegian town. Funny, moving and touching.
Leah Hawker “The Origin Nudes” Silver gelatin print on fibre paper 8×10″ 2004
Ryan McGinley “Edun clothing campaign” Video 2012
On Sunday, October 23rd of last year Egyptian activist and blogger Aliaa Elmahdy posted a nude self portrait in protest of the repression of women within her society. While we may moan about Facebook censoring images with nipples her action has prompted death threats. Her action was undertaken solely by herself using a timer on her camera, and the photo published in her personal blog space – rather than a social media group where unsuspecting eyes could stumble upon it. A woman’s body is hers to show as she wants. Her blog carries an adult material warning so you would really feel the need to be offended if you clicked past that.
Her act is a gesture for personal freedom, Aliaa is on record saying “Women under Islam will always be objects to use at home. The (sexism) against women in Egypt is unreal, but I am not going anywhere and will battle it ’til the end. Many women wear the veil just to escape the harassment and be able to walk the streets. I hate how society labels gays and lesbians as abnormal people. Different is not abnormal!”.
What I find particularly galling is that liberal parties in Egypt have also criticised her action. It seems they are worried that her nudity will prove the hard line religious groups right. One side says you can’t do it while the opposition says you shouldn’t because it distracts from their message of liberation. It seems both sides believe that political power should come at the cost of personal freedom.
Aliaa’s original post
Israeli news site on the aftermath
…which has this snippet “Women rights activist Nehad Abou el-Qomsan said conservatives ‘keep adding layers to cover up the women and deny their existence.’ But, she said, what Elmahdy did ‘is also rejected because posing nude is a form of body abuse’”. How not doing anything to your body but letting it be as it was when you were born constitutes abuse is beyond my deductive reasoning.
Aliaa’s Twitter twitter.com/#!/@aliaaelmahdy
Thanks to Ben Hopper for alerting me to this
A selection of work by Guy Bourdin is on show at the Michael Hoppen Contemporary gallery in Chelsea.
Here’s what they say…
Bourdin, born in Paris in 1928, was one of the most radical and influential fashion photographers of the twentieth century. His unique blend of surreal and erotic imagery filled the pages of international magazines such as French Vogue during the 1970s and also became synonymous with the revolutionary advertising campaigns for Charles Jourdan. Rejecting the typical ‘product’ shot in favour of staging unsettling scenarios that hint at consumption, sex and desire, his photographs sought to shock and play on viewer’s curiosities.
I would say… if you have even the slightest interest in fashion, pop culture, the nude or iconoclastic photography – make the show, it’s on till the 10th of March. It will keep the colour burning in our retinas till the documentary finally makes the light of day.
I have two portraits in the book “Nude Closeup” from Desert Lily Press, edited by EG Irwin. It’s available from Publishers Graphics for $47.50
Highlighting the photographic art of contributors from around the globe, Nude Closeup boldly explores the remarkable details of the human form and artistic vision in a way never done before. Selected from the best work on flickr, Model Mayhem, and other sources, this volume brings permanence and depth to the ever shifting sands of online photosharing. Ranging from subtle to edgy, this collection will expand your vision of what nude art photography is today.
Google books allows you to have a peek, although not at my entries.
Flashing Bodies is an initiative from Completely Naked artists Pau Ros, Pablo Goikoetxea and Rania Bellou staging nude interventions in public spaces.
Images from Flashing Bodies Action Eight “Censura Emocional” which took place in Évora, Portugal this September are now online. A series of books are also available.
1976. Tom Robinson was yet to sing if you’re glad to be gay and Kenny Everett camped it up on TV without coming out. Being gay was criminal in Scotland and illegal under 21 in England. Queer bashing was common place (a worrying trend chav culture is bringing back).
Rod Stewart. Famous for marrying beautiful blondes, pissing it up, playing football, wearing tartan. The archetypical lad.
He writes ”The killing of Georgie Parts I & II”. What’s so unusual about this song (to this day) is unlike Robinson’s carrion call using gay as activist, or disco’s glamour (think Sylvester equating gay with camp and frivolity), here is a song where the fact that the protagonist is homosexual is incidental. Where the gay is un-sensationalised.
The lyrics are not about Georgie being queer. His sexuality is mentioned only in relation to the effect on his life story, and the story told because he has been murdered. His death is unrelated to being gay, he is killed by muggers for money, not hatred.
Something we might expect from Orphans and Vandals today but not Rod Stewart in 1976.
It is a threnody to a lost friend, his homosexuality is merely a matter of fact, an everyday occurrence, far less unusual than death from violent robbery. Looking at our TV today, violent robbery predominates popular shows and yet a gay character still accrues column inches.
Quite remarkable that a straight man, a “lad” should write such lyrics and never ask for any gayness in it’s content to be made a song and dance over. It’s sometimes mistaken as an anthem against homophobia (the only mention is Georgie’s father). Mojo magazine asked him why he wrote a song with a gay theme, note rather than a song about a pal’s murder. “That was a true story about a gay friend of The Faces. He was especially close to me and Mac. But he was shot or knifed, I can’t remember which. That was a song I wrote totally on me own over the chord of open E.”
Mojo still obsess and asks about writing a song with gay content, Stewart said, “It’s probably because I was surrounded by gay people at that stage. I had a gay PR man, a gay manager. Everyone around me was gay. I don’t know whether that prompted me into it or not. I think it was a brave step, but it wasn’t a risk.”
Something in this song makes me tear up every time I hear it. On a side note it’s rather amusing and ironic that Rod himself appears to completely camp it up during the video.
Jenny Holzer “Untitled (Men Don’t Protect You Anymore)” 1983-85
Marc Jacobs “Condom” 2008
Marc Jacobs photograph by Brenda Ton www.flickr.com/photos/nerb
I have two portraits in the forthcoming book “Nude Closeup” edited by EG Irwin, to be published early November from Publishers Graphics.
Sourced from online portfolios it promises the subtle to edgy. More details and purchasing information as and when available.
Joan Semmel “Camera Choreography” Oil on canvas 76”x100”
Hester Scheurwater “My Weekly Upload” Digital photograph
Dropping some negatives off today at the developers I arrived midway through a debate about the merits of various X Factor contestants, something normally off my radar. But a name cropped up that sounded familiar: Kitty Brucknell.
She posed for me once I causally remark. Much excitement. “Have you seen the picture of her wearing only a pink bra in The Sun” I’m asked. No….
Then, there before me filling The Sun’s online page is an out-take shot during warm-ups for the portrait. Turns out it’s todays front page story.