A series of portraits with Berlin artists for Panta Magazine, with issue 11 featuring a day I spent in the company of the Berlin-based trio Innerfields before a day spent in and around the kiez of the Egyptian artist Heba Amin, for issue 12.
ISSUE 11, with Innerfields
"Change is the only constant" is an aphorism related to the doctrine of 'universal flux', by Heraclitus of Ephesus. The Greek philosopher also developed the thesis of the 'unity of opposites'.
On the final day of Gallery Weekend, I will be included in a group exhibition of four international artists who will present their works to the public. The exhibited positions demonstrate that these 2,500 year old ideas are current and especially relevant for the digital age.
details // www.artloft.berlin/in-between-beyond
Berlin & Cologne.
An interesting interview with Thomas Demand on the nature of constructed objects within his photographs and the meanings that can take place within them.
Standing before David Bowie's old Berlin doorway, on Hauptstr, filled with awe and thanks over this man's life. Smiling so sincerely over the way in which he showed us that we can be whoever we want to be. That death and rebirth can continue in each of our lives, as we can break free and be, continuously.
And the world aches and longs for these brave and fearless souls who burn and bare their beings to us. Those who dare to project outwards the essential nature of who they are, to open their hearts that will forever reside inside. This artist, a shimmering light who found his way into so many people’s existence, can teach us so much. Perhaps the greatest thing I walked away with was that he showed us, time and time again, to let go of fear and be who we dream to be.
I graciously bowed to Bowie in that moment, and slowly stepped away with a love for life within this whirling world.
shadow of a self
A short while ago I had an interview with Roar.lk, regarding my five week stay in Sri Lanka, two years back, in which I shot a series of documentary projects and observational pictures, whilst travelling around this county. The interview can be read here.
The sun that briefly stretches into the kitchen, for twenty glorious minutes each afternoon, as it cascades over the rooftops to pour in as a beam of light. Friends who come and go, who stay to say words before the city whisks them away into the days of their life, and I remain to sit and smile with each spark who shines.
Artconnect Berlin recently featured me upon their blog, on the subject of 'Light vs Darkness', which ran with one of my portraits along with some words I wrote on this topic, which appears to be an ongoing obsession of mine, for good or ill.
Darkness and light... it is the oldest story of our universe, the very first narrative ever to be born as the big bang released light and energy and matter into the dark nothingness that proceeded it. Perhaps this is why so many of us are drawn to it, as it is, in a way, also our very origin, as we go from the darkness of non-being into the light of being, and are thrust into this transient existence that makes up our life.
Over the last few months I have been embarking on a series of self portraits, during the quiet moments when alone in our apartment on Torstr. They have been moving into certain themes and feels, which was, in a way, born out of the 'Berlin Nights' series, which is still ongoing.
I was recently informed that one of these self portraits is going on a whirlwind tour around the world, with EyeEm, through the cities of Tokyo, San Francisco, Austin, Miami, Paris and Berlin, though unfortunately I will not be allowed to join it.
There was something delightful in watching the British photographer Tom Wood in the BBC series 'What Do Artists Do All Day?', which can be seen in two parts, here and here. It was in his energy, his movements, his constant shooting and the way his eyes rove around the surroundings seemingly devouring it all with his eyes and his lens.
Tom Wood has been shooting for over forty years in and around Britain, where his projects would roll on year after year, documenting as he does, the British working class. There's an interesting intimacy that comes out of repeated shooting over extended periods of time, born out of gaining people's trust, which shows in the many pictures he has taken.
This documentary is a pleasurable and inspiring insight into the story of a talented photographer who never gave up doing what he loved, one who continued for over forty years before he was finally given the success he has long since deserved.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing the 'Magnum Contact Sheets' exhibition at the Amerika Haus, in Berlin, which recently opened its doors once more. It consists of each generation of the Magnum photographers, beginning in the first days when it hurled this collective into our insatiable world, the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, William Vandivert and David 'Chim' Seymour, in 1947. Since its birth, it lists some of the greatest twentieth century photographers as its members, many of which are shown at the exhibition, as the viewer is confronted with over a hundred contact sheets, shown beside one or two of their final, and known, pictures. Little snippets of words, of memories, or recollections from the photographer accompany each contact sheet exhibited.
At first, for me, it slightly dispelled Bresson's philosophy of 'the decisive moment', as his contact sheet revealed him moving around his subjects, snapping, looking for the right angle, snapping, sidestepping, snapping, trying to find the right position from which to take the picture from, which were many in number upon that roll of film (it was the picture of children playing in Seville, in Spain (1933), with a boy on crutches in the foreground). But the more one looked at it, and at the many others in this exhibition, one started to have the feeling of something so intimate being revealed by the photographers who were shown. It illuminated, however subtly, the thought and instinct that took place in those decisive moments leading up to that single point in time when it all happened, when it suddenly snapped together in an instant in which the picture was taken. Once this perception replaced my initial one, it became a whole other experience in which to view it all from, where it suddenly opened up other layers and thoughts in reaction to these photographs, and there were so many good ones.
A good photograph can create a kind of harmony within the frame that we look into, and can, on rare occasion, steal our breath from our exhaling lungs (harmony through form, composition, placing of people, subtext, history, meaning, metaphor, and everything else that goes with a good picture). And we know these pictures, many of them, for they have become immortalised, in a way, within the collective psyche, part of that canon of pictures that seem to resound no matter how old they are or in what country they were taken in. They can speak a sort of truth, of what it means to be human and alive and filled with hopes and fears, of horror, but of beauty, also, which can sing amidst the chaos of this earth in which we walk within. And so we search for these types of pictures, consciously or unconsciously, looking for the ones that can stop us dead, that can speak to us and say something about the human condition, of our place in this mad, mad world. It has been with us for around 32,000 years, that intrinsic need to make art, to communicate with the world outside of our selves, as was once done in the Chauvet Cave, in southern France, which contains some of the oldest images painted by humans.
And then, almost halfway through the exhibition, and bringing me, momentarily, out of my reverie and into a smile, were the words by Abbas, which were written onto the wall opposite a contact sheet of Margaret Thatcher (shot during the 1980 Conservative Party conference):
'A contact sheet reflects not only what the photographer sees and chooses to ... but also their moods, their hesitations, their failures. It is pitiless.'