27 Feb 2011

Robert and Shana Parkeharrison.

Came across Robert and Shana Parkeharrison today. Their images remind me on a few things: The dreamy/fantasy photography I used to really love; listening to The Smashing Pumpkins; being in the darkroom; 'Blackbird' by The Beatles and watching old MGM movies.

In all seriousness though it is safe to say these can be viewed as the essence of dream photography of contemporary art. The images are manipulated and also made to look older than their time.

“[T]he ParkeHarrisons printed their photographs from large paper negatives made by cutting and pasting a variety of images together. The underlying mechanics of this technique–including the seams between individual images–are carefully painted out in the negative. A photographic print is then made, which is often painted with a layer of varnish or beeswax. This genuinely original technique, combined with their elaborate process of set construction, crosses many creative boundaries. The result is a fascinating hybrid of sculpture, performance, painting and photography.”

"My photographs tell stories of loss, human struggle, and personal exploration within landscapes scarred by technology and over-use…. [I] strive to metaphorically and poetically link laborious actions, idiosyncratic rituals and strangely crude machines into tales about our modern experience."
--Robert ParkeHarrison

I think there would've been a time when these series' would've had me in complete awe.  I think the images are incredible, I do, but I think more that they've helped me see a growth in myself and my interests. Before I would've tried to recreate images like this just because I could. Other than the aesthetics of my own attempts they wouldn't mean or say much more than that. I'm still captivated by the imagination of others (certainly when it comes to film) and I value so much the background of parkeharrisons themes and explorations.  To me the honest works of Robert Mapplethorpe or Nan Goldin say a lot more to me at this time. It's not to say there images aren't honest in there message or actually content, because so much of them deal with exactly that.

When I look at my own work, any of my work. Its the honest moments I favour. I think right now I look for the RAW and the truth of the moment.

All the same I'm glad I found these images today. And more so this:

This is part of Parkeharrisons's new work (2008) titled 'Counterpoint'.

“Nearly a decade after the publication of The Architect’s Brother, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison will be releasing their second title which revisits themes explored in the first book including man’s destruction and healing of the planet. Shot in color, the photographs also utilize the ParkeHarrisons’ early technique of applying pigment by hand, directly to their large-scale prints. Robert ParkeHarrison once again appears as the Everyman of the book’s visual narrative–one who despite the will to effect change, is all too often rendered impotent and ineffectual. The ParkeHarrisons also explore the epic landscape as a metaphor for the state of mankind, particularly alluding to recent natural disasters and their aftermath.”

Looking at these colour images make me think of a more modern time and I can relate to them better because of that. I recognise the purpose and feel more connected, despite the fact they still carry this conceptual manipulation, more so the 'Winter Arm' below.

hmmm... actually I really love these images.

Robert Mapplethorpe

Yesterday I watched a Robert Mapplethorpe documentary and found the inspiration I've been longing for this whole year. I'd been meaning to get closer to his work, as I was drawn to the beauty he was able to capture. However, I never realised just how relevant I'd find his work and just how heart-breaking his life was: his life long relationship with Patti Smith; his devotion to photographing flowers just as much as the male nude and his death to AIDS in 1989.

There is such a deep honesty in every one of  his shots. Mapplethorpe's extraordinary vision shows us exactly what he saw. I find it really hard to question anything about his work, I just get it. I'm just completely overwhelmed by his portraits. So powerful.

24 Feb 2011

On a lighter note...

Iron & Wine.

"Tonight, we're the sea and the salty breeze
the milk from your breast is on my lips
and lovelier words from your mouth to me
when salty my sweat and fingertips

Our hands they seek the end of afternoon

My hands believe and move over you

Tonight, we're the sea and

the rhythm there
the waves and the wind and night is black
tonight we're the scent of your
long black hair
spread out like your breath
across my back
Your hands they move like waves over me
beneath the moon, tonight, we're the sea"
- Sea and the Rhythm - Iron and Wine.

There are no words to describe how much I love the songs of Iron & Wine. If you haven't heard them and you're reading this, please just one song. I recommend all and any. I'm lucky enough to be seeing them in Edinburgh in a few weeks time. Would a lovely weekend that will be.

These three are stunning:

"She says wake up it's no use pretending
I'll keep stealing breathing her
Birds are leaving over Autumn's ending
One of us will die inside these arms

Eyes wide open

Naked as we came
One will spread our
Ashes round the yard

She says if I leave before you darling

Don't you waste me in the ground
I lay smiling like our sleeping children
One of us will die inside these arms

Eyes wide open

Naked as we came
One will spread our
Ashes round the yard"
- Naked as we come - Iron and Wine

"Waking before you
I've got a fever and a childish wish for snow
Seems like a long, long time
Since I spun you to this borrowed radio
You pick a place that's where I'll be
Time like your cheek has turned for me
Someday the waves will stop
Every aching old machine will feel no pain
Someday we both will walk
Where a baby made tomorrow is again
Waking before you
I'm like the lord who sees his love though we don't know
Seems like a long, long time
Since I've been above you seen and loved you so
You pick a place that's where I'll be
Time like your cheek has turned for me"
- Someday the waves - Iron and Wine

 "Please, remember me
In the car behind the carnival
My hand between your knees
You turn from me
And said 'The trapeze act was wonderful
But never meant to last'
The clown that passed
Saw me just come up with anger
When it filled with circus dogs
The parking lot
Had an element of danger"
 One of many verses that show exceptional song writing - The Trapeze Swinger- Iron and Wine.

Aberdeen 1 - 0 Banff

This week has been quite a difficult week. I'm in a total mind block. I didn't take have the images and videos I wanted to take in Banff and the ones I did, I'm finding hard to even look at. I spent an evening with old friends which was nice but I still felt so odd. I can't even describe what happens in my head. I went to the local pub on Saturday night with another friend who had also went home for the weekend. We're really close but I barely talked to her, for a while I never noticed. I was so in my head but even when I did notice, I didn't seem to mind or even try. I felt so stuck in it. I cried a lot this week.

Yesterday I was looking after my 3 year old Nephew, Hayden, when he came down awfully sick. He complained of a sore ear that progressed rather scarily to a sore head and throat and then suddenly within half an hour he was sore all over. Luckily my sister lives near my mums so she quickly came over. We took him to the GP who advised us to get to Aberdeen kids A&E rather sharpish. My sister was in floods of tears and it was terribly heartbreaking.

Seeing such a young child sick is one of the worst things imaginable. I've never said it with a true emphasis before BUT how lucky are we in this country to have the NHS. I know I know, they can be rather plum at times but to have a free service who helps everyone is such an overlooked and undervalued thing in the UK.

Seeing Hayden so ill really put things into perspective for me. I really thought it could be meningitis, luckily tests last night have ruled all the serious things out. He's got an excessively swollen gland in his neck which is the main cause of him being ill and also what's stopping him from moving. Today he looked better, but seeing him with a drip in and lying in bed, really brought last years back to make, how much time I lost but how lucky I am.

Snaps I took of Hayden a few days a go.

I've never been one to take my life for granted, people who know me know that  I really try to make the most of everything I have.  Sometimes (and in particular, now) I get paranoid that people around me think I'm a bit to selfish and serious. I just really care so much about my life and right now it's all about really going for it. I'm 25 and damn happy to be right in the thick of it!

I just deleted a huge rant that sort of went into this silly angsty place that was necessary for the moment for me, now I'm over it and and I feel my mind is a little bit clearer for it. I need to filter out so much more shit and focus, focus, FOCUS.

I haven't done any meditation this week.

I haven't done much research.

I never wrote about TIPA. I took notes and found it so inspiring and interesting and also an eye opener both in a negative and positive way, but I need to remember to output.

I also haven't progressed to much with the SSW opportunity. I wrote my proposal and then didn't really believe I should be submitting it. I've come over that hurdle thankfully and will be sending it in the morning after a little check over.

Steph is also back tomorrow which is great. I'll spend the weekend with her, relaxing and working out a productive plan of action.

I'm glad to be back in Aberdeen tonight.

Tomorrow I will return the overdue lenses to uni, (oops). Collect Steph from the airport. Visit Hayden in hospital. Send my SSW proposal. Clean the flat. Relax.

23 Feb 2011

Passive Aggressive notes

A recent post on 'Passive aggressive notes' that made me chuckle.

Signed, R. Mutt

February 12th, 2011 · 35 comments

What’s wrong with America today? If you ask Jason in Los Angeles, it’s people who don’t return their shopping carts. At least, that’s the action that prompted this note (which was originally attached the the upright cart itself).
Do you really have to be this ghetto, trashy, and lazy? Take your carts back so this apartment doesn't look like trash.

That note, in turn, inspired this Dadaist creation:

It's ART now. Happy? ya Bitch! —Santa

21 Feb 2011

For a steph.

Seeing as you are all the way in Norway, trying to write some beautiful fiction and reading my blog as a way of being less home sick, this is for you:

1.  An anthology of conceptual writing. I really hope you like this. I understand if you can't do too much reading write now. It can be for treats later. The whole site is very good and is the cause pf me staying up all night that one time watching performance's of Marina Abromovic.

2.  A photo of Toadfish from Neighbors (as it was the best image from a 'for steph' google image search).

3.  A plug of your blog (Keep passing the open windows)

Stephanie Torrance is a talented writer from the one street town of Dyce. She likes books, famous lesbian writers, Kevin Smith movies and when we had clouds on our bedroom ceiling.  She keeps a blog of her creative writing. Hopefully she will add old words as well as new, as they are very good. One day she will not serve coffee and she will write words all day long.
 Read her blog HERE!

4. A photo of Miriam Laplante from TIPA. What a woman!

"So what if you don't love me, fuck you!!" - Miriam Laplante. 

20 Feb 2011


This week I am home in Banff. I've been here since Friday night. I really felt like I needed to get away from the city for a little bit. There are a few projects that I need to work on that require both being in my home town and also a higher level of concentration that for what ever reasons I cant find right now.

I'm not feeling to great in myself. Mental my heads all to pot again. I can't seem to find a clear path. My head feels like a thousand cut wires.

Banff, actually doesn't seem to be much better for me - family and children and blah blah blah.

I took this today.

I don't really have a lot more to say at this point. My head is full of thoughts but I can't articulate anything. Maybe when I get a minute to myself I'll be able to focus.

18 Feb 2011

A Short book I made.

Looking through some old work and I found this. I made it for last years CCS written word, Unfortunately I never got the hard copies back because they were thrown out whilst I was in hospital. Which is a huge shame not only because I rather like them, but because they took forever to make on the sewing machine and typewriter. I can make a new one of course.


I lay awake last night having pretend conversations with you. Conversations about whether you were a dog or cat person, where we would go for the best cup of coffee -which would just lead us to my house, where I would make you it. We talked about why I felt so isolated and alone right now.

4.08am came and went. I heard the morning birds chirping and felt a warm, summer like feeling.  A wash of various memories came over me: being out to late on long summer night when me and sister were kids, rolling down hills and just laughing; camping at festivals or my friends back garden; staying up all night on my first personal computer just to talk to a friend half way across the world because we shared similar 'psychiatric' problems and the perfect sunrise. A sunrise that could fill my whole room with a beautiful orange and pink glow, that could preciously reflect off the spinning crystal and glass bead chime, causing a millions tiny rainbows to form around me.

I wouldn't give up my life for a million pounds, for a turner prize nor for all the tea in china.


 Waiting for Steph's flight to Norway. I don't know why my tummies flipping so much, I'm not going anywhere!!

15 Feb 2011

Louise Bourgeois

What a truly wonderful inspiration of a woman. I touched on her her a few times last year but never truly stopped to take her all in. I remember a few years ago being drawn to a portrait of her by Annie Liebovitz, (at the time not realising who she was).  Now I see that portrait really captures her entire essence.

Much like Tracey Emins work I love the use of the written word and materials. although a small area of Bourgeois work, this piece resonates with me.

Cripple and the Starfish

I took some old photos from my cripple and the starfish shoot and made this triptych:

I feel very close to some of these old sets right now.  I think it's because I can spots themes and interest that didn't really come to me before. I think that might because I didn't believe in my own thoughts. I had to take inspiration from else where and form art around that. For instance these images are meant to illustrate the very beautiful but heart breaking song by Antony and the Johnstons. I think they offer a lot more than that now.

Antony and the Johnsons - Cripple and the Starfish

The list - update.

So here is some good news: click

 Not to shabby being featured on the home page along side Peter Mullan, Mogwai, Eddie Izzard and Rob Zombie :D
My own little page. Beats me what 'Multi-laser' is but I wont complain. hehe!

Yves Klein

Anthropometries of the blue period and fire painting: two performances (1960)


After a terrible weekend and an even worse Monday, I'm starting to feel better.

This is what I look like today:

See - not to bad at all!

Yesterday I got really sick and spent 12 hours vomiting. Luckily it wasn't related, like a head injury. I slept the best part of 24 hours and woke up today with such great relief. After spending so much time last year in hospital I really didn't want to be weighed down with this... again.

Unfortunately I've had to contact Peacock and tell them I can't help out with filming the TIPA event. Its really sad but I cant have the pressure right now. I plan on going along to the whole weekend though and will bring a camera too. Its just such a wasted opportunity to be apart of something, but never mind.

On Friday Steph is going to Norway to visit a friend. I think I might spend the week at home in Banff. take all my work out there and try and find some peace to get on with things.

For the time being I'm going to get stuck into more research and lose myself in such wonderful things.

13 Feb 2011

We are everything/we are nothing.

Dear Blog,

Last night I got attacked in town by two girls and a man. By defending myself, it turned into a fight. I didn't want that to happen, but I also didn't want to be killed. My basic instinct to survive made me feel so powerful, but at the same (almost euphoric) moment I felt like a terrible person. I felt like I was nothing

The attack wasn't the worst thing to happen last night. Although my bruised face would tell you differently. My best friend, the only male I feel one hundred percent comfortable with caused a lot of the pain and tears that made up last night.

We walked to town, at times it felt like a scripted film, a beautifully heartbreaking type where there are sudden realisations. Only our realisation was only one of us would survive. It felt like he ripped my heart out repeatedly. I still don't know where it came from. I don't know what's going on in his mind to cause him to say such terrible things about himself or about me. Although some of the things he said were compliments to my achievements, life and future, they were said in such a strong evil and hatred way. I felt a huge wave of resentment.

I felt like he was leaving me.

Out of love? hate?

we're the same person me and him... at times. Not last night though.

He left, running into the night.

I stayed, and got punched in the face, by a man: Another man; who means nothing to me; who caused only temporally facial disfigurement.  

11 Feb 2011

Art must be beautiful.

A video of 4 Performances by Marina Abramovic, 1975-1976

1.Art must be beautiful, Artist must be beautiful.

2.Freeing the voice

3.Freeing the memory

4.Freeing the body.

Fun websites.

These are good when you need a break from serious life:

passive aggressive notes

lame book


burnt face man


Jerry jackson

Awkward family photos

Shit my dad says


I'm going to see this movie with my ladyfriend:

This week...

I've done a wee bit of experimenting after my epiphany of ideas.

Here is sneak peak:

developing time in cold cases
One of my images that I got that initial 'happy about this' feelings

Down stairs work station, haha!
a Fish eye look at my successful images.

Doing an emulsion lift. being very carefully not to rip or damage the image.
This took the longest to do as it was so fiddly, had to be precise and is part of a larger piece.

I have listened to this Damien Rice song far to much:

The final minute of it hits me like a thousand million lighting bolts at once. I'm planning on learning it for the ukulele.

Speaking of ukulele, music man Mike taught me how to translate guitar chords to the uke. Its very complicated but I'll get my head round it one day. I'm really into 90's dance songs right now and acoustifying them.

Acoustifying? I think I just made a new word :O

This week I also made a new word...

The word: Acoustifying
Meaning: to take a song and play it acoustically on a guitar or ukulele.
In a sentence: I just found this rad 90's song and I'm going to be acoustifying it over the weekend on my totally hot ukulele.

Turns out that word actually does exist... so yeah. I think I'll stick to the 'photo thing'.

'Photo thing' - What my family call what I do.

Actually my immediate family are really supportive now, They haven't used words like 'photo thing' in a while.

I think I just killed the blog entry.