Sunday, July 11, 2010

We're All Gonna Die

We're All Gonna Die - 100 meters of existence. Love this too much, but it has to be viewed in its original presentation. Because I have crappy internet, a measure of how much something intrigues me is whether or not I can be bothered to wait for a page to load. And I waited for this one.

Simon Høgsberg
(also spelt Simon Hoegsberg) - whose work reminds me of Julian Germain's if only because of its sheer simplicity and the intimacy it creates between the people being photographed and the viewer.

I really liked this project, and then I saw Faces of New York -- I felt like crying a little, but I'm not sure why.

Monday, May 17, 2010

letters from a jilted lover

This is probably one of my favourite titles of a photo essay. I have grown slightly weary with poetic and lyrical writing from the subcontinent, but this one still resonates. Asim Rafiqui is a amazing, and I hope to meet him someday.

Quetta, 2007
Letters from a jilted lover
Asim Rafiqui

Pakistan is one of the most photographed but least seen countries in the world. Thousands of photographers have passed through here with eyes that are intense, sensationalist but narrow. As a consequence, it is also one of the least understood countries in the world.

Its citizens have a troubled and contradictory relationship with it. They lament the state of the country but never stop believing in a better tomorrow. They are frequently overcome by despair, and yet continue to find ways to speak of possibilities. It is a relationship that is heart breaking and yet always true.

Even those who leave or place themselves in a self-imposed exile elsewhere, cannot simply walk away, put away the feelings, stop the pain, or block the hopes. It is a turbulent love affair, and for some a destructive one.

We all keep coming back though. I keep coming back; looking, seeing, feeling and making small, personal pictures that are each like a letter to a callous lover; gentle, complaining, asking for nothing but always offering myself if I would just be given an opportunity.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

before and after


Thousands of young Iranians proclaimed "Death to America" as they celebrated the 28th anniversary of the storming of the US embassy in Tehran by student radicals. A massive crowd, composed mainly of school children bussed in to central Tehran, gathered outside the site of the former US embassy. Tehran, Iran - November 2007
© Alfred Yaghobzadeh, Iran 1979-2009

Iranian women passes by in front of former U.S. embassy during protest to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy when militant students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979, and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Tehran, Iran, Nov. 4, 2003.
© Javad Montezeri / Drik / Majority World

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pieter Hugo

Against my will, I've been completely drawn into this series of portraits by Pieter Hugo - soon to be shown at Michael Stevenson's gallery in S. Africa.

On a sidenote - my dreams of S. Africa has been postponed till next year. That's a (relatively) long time to wait for something that I want now.


Garuba Yawu with Mora, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

Mallam Galadima Ahmadu with Jamis, Abuja, Nigeria 2007

Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007

A brief search on Hugo's page made me realise that I may soon be obsessed with him and his work. First of all - there is no biography on his page. A photographer who doesn't want to reveal anything about himself? I think I'm in love.

There's a lot to be said about his work and the idea of representation. In his other work, portraits of people who have died of AIDS, portraits of people with albinism -- there seems to be such a raw, honest attempt to document, and in that process of documentation, to understand. The simplicity of his work leaves it uncoloured by all contemporary musings of the politics of representation, and thus somehow, above it all.

I'm not sure if I make sense.

And the way he writes about his work - just yesterday I had been banging the table trying to tell a young photographer here, stop creating work to please others, start doing things for yourself. An important part of that process, I feel, is in the writing. I enjoy self-awareness in writing, and that fine balance between confidence and humility.

The spectacle caused by this group walking down busy market streets was overwhelming. I tried photographing this but failed, perhaps because I wasn't interested in their performances. I realised that what I found fascinating was the hybridisation of the urban and the wild, and the paradoxical relationship that the handlers have with their animals - sometimes doting and affectionate, sometimes brutal and cruel.

I agreed to travel with the animal wranglers to Kanu in the northern part of the country. One of them set out to negotiate a fare with a taxi driver; everyone else, including myself and the hyenas, monkeys and rock pythons, hid in the bushes. When their companion signalled that he had agreed on a fare, the motley troupe of humans and animals leapt out from behind the bushes and jumped into the vehicle. The taxi driver was completely horrified. I sat upfront with a monkey and the driver. He drove like an absolute maniac. At one stage the monkey was terrified by his driving. It grabbed hold of my leg and stared into my eyes. I could see its fear.

Europeans invariably only ask about the welfare of the animals but this question misses the point. Instead, perhaps, we could ask why these performers need to catch wild animals to make a living. Or why they are economically marginalised. Or why Nigeria, the world's sixth largest exporter of oil, is in such a state of disarray.

Like I said, I think I'm in love.

Friday, May 7, 2010

above us only sky


Slow steps.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not really a post about photos, but a post by an artist who has intrigued and engaged me all day.

Jan 11

I wrote this. I wrote this when I was twenty-two years old, right before I got married, right after my partner scraped together $400 to fly to California to live on a boat with me and drive all night to Las Vegas and drink hard drinks in Laguna Beach at ten in the morning and I posted it on Livejournal when I had a very public and alarmingly popular one. That was more than seven years ago and this past fall someone transcribed it, made it into a JPG and suddenly it was on ffffound and even more suddenly after that it was on thousands of people’s blogs. Literally thousands. But it was credited to Anonymous, which I guess is understandable since seven years is a long time to keep track of who wrote something on a Livejournal. My friend Erin found and told me about it, she had remember it all those years, and at first I was so embarrassed. Of everything I’ve made why did it have to be this melodramatic thing, made before I really knew anything at all? IT IS SO MELODRAMATIC. But my possessiveness is greater than my self-consciousness because when I see that some people weren’t even going along with Anonymous but saying they wrote it themselves I kind of want to claw their eyes out. It’s my melodrama. (Although one person credited it to Harvey Milk and that was the best)

Anyway, I wrote that.

A blog post by Helena Kvarnström, whose novella I really want to read.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

usual suspects

The Usual Suspects, by Karrin Anderson