I love instagram; i hate myself.

So, yesterday I got an iphone. Succumbing to the masses and whatnot. It seemed almost inevitable. Almost instantly I downloaded several apps for the camera, including Instagr.am.
Ugh. I love it. I've always hated apps which promise to give a "vintage" feel to your photos. Maintaining that if you want a vintage photo, buy an older camera and film. Commit. Stop faking. But this way is so much easier.

Recently I've tried to buy polaroid film and just flat out could not afford to do so. I used to be able to buy fairly cheap film on ebay, but the price has gone up significantly over the past few years. Now it seems to work out at around £3 per exposure. I should have realised this would happen given the closure of polaroid's instant film plants in 2008.

We have to be thankful for The Impossible Project of course, for saving the last instant film plant and making new film available.
Impossible prevents more than 300,000,000 perfectly functioning Polaroid cameras from becoming obsolete, changes the world of photography and keeps variety, tangibility and analogue creativity and possibilities alive.

However, I still find their film to be more expensive than I was once used to. I will occasionally be able to purchase the film, it makes shooting with it a much more precious process knowing that there are very limited chances to get a good shot.

Lisa Wiseman, a San Francisco based commercial photographer used to working with polaroid film, shot a project titled "The New Polaroid" solely using her iphone camera.

This project is shot completely with my iPhone and is an exploration of iPhone as the new Polaroid. As the iPhone is becoming a ubiquitous and trendy accessory, on-the-go picture taking is now the norm. I see people using their iPhones to take spontaneous photos in the same carefree way that cheap Polaroid has been used in the past. In concept and ideology, the iPhone mimics Polaroid; however, it pushes the aesthetic forward by utilizing a new non-film (but technologically infantile) medium. Just like traditional Polaroids had a specific size and unique look, iPhone photos are unmistakable because the technology limits them to a fixed size and resolution and imbues them with a unique chromatic aberration that says “iPhone” and nothing else.

I do not consider iphone to be a substitute for instant film. The one aspect of instant photography that makes it so appealing is the physical aspect. Watching the image appear before your eyes and then having the physical object as a reminder of that moment forever. Ugh, I hate the way this sounds. I just want to get across the importance of the physical. Being able to hold a photograph that you have just taken. Digital photography does not exist. It isn't a real thing. Its just a series of codes within a machine.

Then again, how do we share photographs nowadays? Generally there is no physical contact between people. I would assume most photographs are viewed alone, online. On Facebook, or something similar. (of course, I cannot speak for everyone, worldwide. But this is the norm for my friends and family.) In that case, in order to share instant film photographs with the same amount of people you would share digital photographs with you have to scan the images into the computer and upload them in the normal way.

Now the physical images have become but a series of codes. Does it even matter that the existed in the first place?

Mamma Andersson

For some reason I don't think I've blogged about her before. Odd, because anytime anyone asks me what kind of painters I like, I usually cite her first.


We have figured out a way to generate serendipity.

What are computers really good at? They remember everything. You don't, right, lets start with that: they have infinite memory; they keep stuff forever ... So what does the digital future look like? Well, you can't forget anything, because your computer remembers it for you ... they remember everything; they keep memories of what we do. You're never lost ... the only way to get lost is to turn off your phone ... the reality is your phone knows where you are already ... and furthermore there's research that indicates that even if we know a little bit about you, we can sort of predict where you're going to go ... again, with your permission. You're never lonely; your friends are always online ... we've pretty much eliminated, at least, that kind of loneliness. And there is always somebody to talk with or post about or have an opinion about. You're never bored: I mean instead of wasting time watching television, you can waste time watching the internet. You're never out of ideas. We can suggest things that are interesting to you, based on your passions, things that you care about, where you are going, that sort of thing. Our suggestions will be pretty good. We have figured out a way to generate serendipity. We actually understand now how we can surface things that are interesting to you, but based on the things that you care about and what other people care about. We can make suggestions ... see if you like it.

I think what chilled many of us was not the expression of our future reliance on the internet but the body-less, human-less world it proposes. A world that remembers our lives' algorithms in order to outsmart us with ourselves is a world without pause for thought. Serendipity, coincidence, chance, forgetting, loneliness, solitude, boredom are all part of our human condition and inspiration, and should be left unresolved and unfigured out by software and the people behind software. We need to tread carefully into our digital future. To better the world is not to cram the gaps full. A world that won't forget is a world drowned in not forgetting. Do we want a world full of unedited memory? To be human is to be finite.

- Tacita Dean, FILM.


"to be human is to be finite"

I've decided to post some "in progress" shots of one of the drawings I'm currently working on because I think i'll be taking a little break from studio work.

There are 3 or 4 drawings that I seem to bounce between, finding that moving on to something else when I start to get frustrated helps. Removing myself from the situation whilst keeping up the momentum of making something. Stopping the drawing from becoming over-worked. Unintentionally realizing a solution to the problem whilst working on something else.

I'm not fully content with this drawing. I guess that is the point of it being "in progress". It feels like it needs to be stripped back further, partially erased. Whilst simultaneously it craves more detail. Maybe a go-between process. Draw, erase, draw, erase.

I think I'm having to step back from studio work for a little while in order to concentrate fully on my dissertation. I don't seem to be able to manage the two efficiently, being that I'm less prepared with the writing than I should be.

I spent quite a few hours today reading the research that I've gathered for it. Most of which I found really exciting. Is been a while since I've come across a subject I genuinely feel so passionately about.

Recently I've found myself contemplating my time in art school and by extension, lifestyle in general. In 8 months or so I will have left the school, and god knows what will happen then. I don't. And I've always liked not knowing but now its starting to become something to be concerned about. As stressful as things can be at times with being given the blank instruction to "make work", not knowing what the hell to make, thinking you maybe know what you might want to make, not having the money to make what you think you might want to make, not having enough time to convincingly make what you think you want to make, then when you've made the work and convinced yourself it is what you want to have made you are then criticized (the phrase "torn to shreds" is often used within my peer group) for the work you have made by a panel of those who know better.

Youch, anyway. My point is as stressful as things can be at times, the day to day lifestyle of it is very enjoyable and something that I should stop taking for granted. I'll generally wake up when I wake up (should realistically aim to be in the studio for 9.30 but as there are no designated class times and minimal tutor contact a late start can easily be made up for with a late finish). I'll take a leisurely hour-long walk to school via one of three routes; city walk, leafy closed-down railway track walk or riverside walk. Spend the day with earphones in, listening to good music whilst caught up in the process of putting pencil/paint to paper. Being surrounded with like-minded friends who share the same stressses. Picking up books to read that have more pictures than words. Picking up books to read whose words really get your blood flowing. Taking the same leisurely walk home. Catching up with flatmates while creatively cooking up something with the food you manage to scrounge in the beautiful flat paid for with money you don't have to worry about yet (student loan). Playing board games, playing guitar, watching movies with the boy who tells you how pretty you are. Staying up as late as you want. Spending a few days a week working at a place where you can also call most of your co-workers friends. Not to mention spending any night of your choosing drinking in a club that plays the music you want to hear with people you want to dance with but a stumble away from home.

Yes. Its a good life. Temporary, but good.


cell phone photo dump

I must stop being estranged.

I spent the last weekend in London. I was nice. The intention of the trip was to see Tacita Dean's FILM and the Gerhard Richter's panorama at the Tate Modern. I wasn't as interested in the actual film itself as to rather what it stands for. Regardless, it still felt wholly important to see it play.
Richter's exhibition was fantastic. Throughout my time at art school he has been one of my biggest influences. Seeing his paintings in the flesh was an experience I can best liken to as coming face-to-face with your celebrity crush. I was particularly taken back by his photopaintings from the 1960s. Seeing them up close, the detail of the brushstrokes made them seem all the more painterly. Tactile. More object and less image.

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up with friends and seeing some of the sights. London has already gotten into the Christmas spirit. The grounds of the Natural History Museum were beautiful- all the trees lit up with fairy lights, ice rink, carousel.

I also had a very lovely Halloween weekend but that seems all so distant now.