Hello hello hello to future me, and anybody else who may happen across this post during their travels of the wide and wonderful web.
I thought it was high time I updated my blog because yes, I did intend to post more frequently this year, and yes it has been a long and silent 3 months since I made that declaration with festive conviction and post-break energy. I don’t really feel bad about the silence because it has been a busy and productive few months where my writing has been limited by a failing laptop and lack of time in which to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) - and this is good. It is better to have things to write about but no time in which to right them, than to have time to write but nothing really to say. It is refreshing to feel like I am going in the right direction and even more fulfilling that this direction is one I am feeling out myself and not being told to follow by an educational institution or some other ‘higher power’ (like tequila). SO I do not know where to begin and how much detail is necessary to part with but perhaps I should keep this relatively concise so as not to risk losing heart half-way through and going to pursue something simpler, like toast. Perhaps a list would be useful. What have I been doing?
Well, this year so far carries the theme of new work and new skills.
I was lucky enough to enjoy the Colour Darkroom course at Stills, which was really informative and great fun. Colour processing and printing is something I was always pushing to learn at University but for numerous reasons there never seemed to be time or facilities or staff available to show me the ropes. Being able to process my own film is going to save me a whole lot of money (but equally lose me a whole lot of Boots points) and learning from my January experience, when there are mistakes at least they are MY mistakes (see last post if this makes no sense). I actually processed my first two solo rolls of colour yesterday and managed to load one of my films onto the spiral completely wrong - which I knew had happened in the back of my mind but didn’t have the heart or the time to try and correct it. I’ll add a slice of this happy accident at the end because I actually quite like how it came out.
I conducted my first Exhibition Tour during the open day at Stills last month, spending longer than was probably expected in the gallery pointing out (with glee) as many of Alan Dimmick’s individual images as felt acceptable for a Saturday afternoon. I hope that I showered the tour-ers (?) with my enthusiasm for this work and shared some of how intensely excited it made me feel about images and people and everything, really. They were friendly enough, and if they hated it they did a very good job of feigning appreciation. It was a really interesting show and one I feel very privileged to have invigilated as it caused me to question my own attitudes toward photographic collections, the nature of buying and selling work and the relevancy of physical images in an increasingly digital world. Plus, Alan Dimmick’s work was just magic. A few words from my written response to the work:
‘Put simply this is the best exhibition I’ve been to since Jason Dee in Talbot Rice a few years back. Not that my gallery going life is particularly long and not that these things can really be measured in terms of best or worst-but let’s say I enjoyed Alan Dimmick’s work immensely - that the sprawling and delicious throb of life he has presented gives me goosebumps and what’s more, the notion (that sometimes in this tech filled life seems crazy) that to shoot pictures and record moments has meaning.’
I am in the midst of shooting a new body of work, currently untitled, about my frustrations maturing as a ‘Millenial’ in a society that seems to consistently exhaust and infantilise its young adult population. I am sure there are plenty of young adults with different experiences of their twenties but as someone used to hard work but with ambitions to be creatively fulfilled in a way that is useful to my immediate community, so far graduate life has been a test. Things I was brought up to associate with ‘growing up’ - things like having a car, having a career, buying clothes that aren’t in the sale, the mystical ~disposable income~ and ~time to pursue your hobbies~ and the fabled ~~mortgage~~ seem faraway from this reality. When my parents were this age my dad got his flat free of charge as a perk of working in a greengrocer’s, my mum left uni with no student debt and in a matter of years they would be having my brother and buying a house. Meanwhile: 2017 and I am still receiving colouring books as gifts, wondering what I want to do when I grow up and watching cartoons when I should be asleep. But this feeling of somehow being misled and ill-prepared I guess extends to art world too. I haven’t printed anything for myself since university ended. I ordered two prints as xmas presents but somehow packing them in my duct-taped suitcase and shuffling them down a train carriage seemed more like a performance than an authentic present. In my day to day life I try not to allow myself to buy luxuries. To give you an idea, last week I bought a piece of feta cheese in Aldi for 95p and regretted it the entire walk home due to conflicting emotions of understanding the dairy industry to be morally problematic but also struggling to justify 95p to myself when I could equally have bought raisins or nothing at all (and ALSO loving feta cheese - especially with roast carrots). It’s difficult to be told that ‘art is passion’ ‘art is something you can’t live without’ ‘art is necessary’ when in actuality the process of producing it, to this kind of accepted standard that we see put on walls is so expensive, in time and finance, that it can only be regarded as a luxury and therefore somehow lesser than your hours at work and the muesli and potatoes and the podcasts that are free and that make you think in a similar way.
But I digress. Translating this into pictures is still in its early stages where my ideas are making me excited and the potential that this could communicate something to somebody and start a dialogue is very real and I haven’t managed to sour that for myself yet so I am enjoying myself very much. You can see a couple of sneak peeks of this work, shot almost entirely on my 40 minute commute to work each way on my instagram, but it is still taking shape.
Oh, and I shaved my head! Which is a pleasure I would suggest everybody tries at some stage. I’ve always been curious and once I start considering something I find it difficult to let it go. I think once it dawned on me that I didn’t actually have to have hair - that it was very possible and very easy and very cheap to just shave it off - it was going to happen. In the end I didn’t shave it because I thought it would look cool, or even because I was curious about how it would look (although of course I was), I shaved it because the more I thought about it the more curious I was about how it would feel to have no hair. It was the sensory curiosity that got me. I guess the greatest pleasures are those unknown to us. And once I had started to imagine how it would feel to stand in the shower without a curtain of hair catching the drops, but to feel that sensation directly on my skull, and once I wondered how it would feel to wake up not in a muss of long hair but with warm head on warm pillow and to rub the skin with my fingertips and ONCE I had walked down a windy street with hair whipping in my eyes and in my mouth and dreamt of how it feels for men and other short-haired ladies to walk confidently in the wind it was all just bound to happen. The longer I left it the more experiences I started comparing to my imagined pleasure of having no hair. And so one morning I woke up and I did it.
I feel that this a good place to end, despite there being more to talk about - mainly because my day off is drawing to a close and this has taken three different stints at my incredibly fragile laptop to complete. What’s funny is despite my earlier aside, I did make toast.
More exciting things to come this weekend, and more things to tell you (future me, unknowable anonymous potential internet audience), and more to do and experience and imagine and discuss. I will be uploading some shots from Palma soon because I went ahead and booked my first ever solo holiday last week. Which was surreal and fantastic - but more of that to come.
Bye for now.