Well that’s February PhotoFest over another year. Thanks for following! See you next year!
Look closely; cold steel
Reflecting a warmer skin.
Soft flesh, wryest smile.
So, @19syllables and I have been collaborating for longer than we thought! Last week when we were brainstorming mirror ideas she said: ‘What about that kettle photo you tweeted?’
It turned out to be a toaster, but gosh, she’s got a loooooong memory! I tweeted this photo in May 2015, a whole two months before we actually met! When I expanded the replies to the original tweet I noticed she’d tweeted the above haiku at me, which neither of us remember. So there you are, discarded photos and haikus, idly tweeted, quickly forgotten, but resurrected in the dying days of February Photo Fest!
Side note: I know this isn’t technically a mirror but it’s a reflective surface so I’m taking this one; it’s the 27th February and my creative reserves are running low…
My photography lecturer at university used to have this thing that the final frame would invariably be the best shot on a roll of film. His argument was you’re worrying less about getting the perfect shot and are rushing to get through the last couple of clicks of the shutter so you can start afresh. He was a bit of dick and prone to wafflely bollocks but he was often right on that. Although the clunk of the final frame not completing and then the whirr of the automatic rewind is not a sound we really hear anymore!
Aaaaaaanyway, the point of that anecdote (old fart’s trip down memory lane!) is that last week @19syllables and I were playing around with a mirror on the bend of my hallway stairs. I was trying to get a cheeky shot of her arse as she scampered down the stairs. It didn’t work. As I was giving up I shot one image of her looking out the window as she came back upstairs. I dismissed it immediately – out of focus, too much face (not that her face isn’t awesome, of course!).
I didn’t even download it with the rest of that day’s photos. Then for some reason, on Saturday morning I decided to get it off my camera and had a play with the edit. The result? I bloody love this shot. The out of focus blurring creates softness and a wistfulness that is echoed in the thoughtfulness you see in the setting of her mouth. And I love the way the light frames her and accentuates her curves.
What could be better than one beautiful thick veiny cock? A second in its mirror image…
You can see another image from that same photo session on Exhibit A’s site here.
Today I’m delighted to have Eye as a burst of sunshine on my #febphotofest. This photo was taken back in September the morning after a very late night where three of us had talked until about 6am!
Eye has already shared a few of the shots from that day and I have one I love lined up for a certain big birthday that’s round the corner for her. *cough* Bring your birthday pants to Eroticon everyone! *cough*
But while you wait for the birthday photo, enjoy this one of her captured in the sunburst mirror outside my office.
“Ooh, that would be a fun one to try and do for mirror week,” I think as I scroll through Tumblr.
Twenty four hours later, a bit tipsy and full of sausage casserole, I’m nearly choking myself by balancing a mirror on my windpipe. Not all my ideas/inspirations are sensible but articulating them is always hilarious!
Photo by Exhibit A.
So, after a super fun week of tributes it’s the fourth and final week of February Photofest. For my final theme I’m going for mirrors. Mirrors are something I use so often in my photos they have their own tag on this blog. You can see all the photos I’ve ever included mirrors in here.
For Throwback Thursday’s re-edit I’m hopping over to Honey’s place to a photo I took of her in summer 2015. I’ve re-edited the third shot down (also copied below) so all that remains is a whisper of nipple.
The final photo of my week of tributes is @19syllables helping me out with a Francesca Woodman shot. Woodman took her first self portrait aged 13 and by the time she committed suicide in January 1981, aged just 22, she had a body of some 800 images, many of them nude self-portraits.
As an artist who died young and without having given hundreds of interviews about her life and influences, there is much speculation about who the ‘real Francesca Woodman‘ is. She however is said to have influenced Nan Goldin, who in turn is said to have influenced Tillmans. I personally do not see the similarities between Woodman’s delicate other-worldly black and whites and Goldin’s harsh and gritty captures but I can see echoes of Goldin in some of Tillmans’s work.
Those linkages weren’t intentional in my choosing of the photographers to focus on this week – I just chose my favourites who I knew had a big back catalogue of nudes I could rifle through! I hope you’ve enjoyed my week of tributes and the little mini essays. It’s felt completely self-indulgent and I’ve loved every minute of it!
For me, there’s is so much to love about Bill Brandt. Read that long profile on the V&A site and anyone who knows me well will see that every subheading ticks another one of my personal or professional interests. Peaking into people’s lives, social storytelling, London, literary Britain, war, nude portraiture… it’s all there!
I’ve drawn on Brandt’s nude style in self-portraits in the past and I’m still desperate to get down to the pebbly beaches of East Sussex. But a trip to the seaside in February seemed a bit extreme so I’ll have to see if this is finally the summer I get those shots done. In the meantime here is one shot in the warmer surrounding of my lounge!
CW: Nan Goldin’s work deals with issues of domestic violence and drug addiction. The articles I link to in this post are really interesting reads but include references to and photographs of these things and also discuss the suicide of her sister.
My photo today bears so little resemblance to the inspiration shot that it’s not really possible to call it a true tribute. But the lives and locations of the people in Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency are so removed from the lives of me and the people I photograph that I had to do more of an interpretation today.
Shot between 1979 and 1986, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was first shown in 1985 as a 45 minute 700 image slide show set to music and then published as a book in 1986. These are not easy photos to look at. In fact you frequently have to turn away. She photographs her and her friends fucking in squalid settings, shooting up heroin, fighting. She captures herself as a victim of domestic violence in a self portrait called ‘Nan One Month After Being Battered’. Her friend who died of AIDS is photographed in an open coffin.
In this review in the New York Times says: “Her “Ballad” is open to charges of narcissism, exhibitionism, voyeurism and the glamorization of bad behavior, qualities that are partly what make it so riveting.”
The first photographer to shoot in the casual confessional diaristic style that we see now at every turn, Sean O’Hagan said in The Guardian:
“We are now living to a degree in a world that Nan Goldin created long before the digital camera and Instagram made it ubiquitous: a self-absorbed, often revelatory world where the everyday and the exotic exist in uneasy cohabitation.”
The New York Times and Guardian links above are both interesting reads, but if you’ve got the appetite for more, Dazed magazine has an A-Z of Nan Goldin.