The coolest thing to happen to me last week - getting photographs taken of the back of my eyeballs. Not only do eyeballs look like beautiful planets, or eggs during incubation (and nothing like the white, opaque ball I had in mind) - but the back of my own eyeball is something that would be completely unseeable and unknowable without cameras and very clever opticians.
Sure - I could have, theoretically, pulled someone else’s eyeball out and had a look at theirs (though it would probably look entirely different ripped out of its socket), but to see the reverse of our own living SEEING mechanisms (USING those exact living seeing mechanisms) blew my mind. So much so that a week later I risked a trip down Prince’s Street in the middle of festive panic present-buying hell wielding a USB stick in order to get a copy of this magic.
Hello internet, and thank you for finding yourself here. I hope this November evening finds you warm and happy or at least somewhere around ‘fine’. This post *may* come across as slightly giddy, or perhaps rambling (CUE long sentences and repetition) because it discusses probably the most exciting thing to happen to me professionally and personally this year - the release of Jake Downs’ new mini-album Fracture!
I have been close friends with Jake since the age of about 13, so I’m fortunate enough to have a fierce personal connection and involvement with his music and career. I shot the cover for his previous two EPs, Seize the Water and Crave, and together we created a small selection of video portraits during the lead-up to each respective release. Jake also composed Shard and Shard II for my short-film Self / conscious (screened for the first time by Perspective Cafe earlier this year). Our past work has been a privilege (and often a learning curve) with us both finding our creative feet and forging our respective styles. Shooting Fracture was the first thing I really put my mind to after graduating last summer and was our first entirely analogue shoot. The shift to film felt natural, having used 35mm since I was teenager and shifting into the realms of 120mm in my final year at University. * I’m really grateful that Jake appreciated and embraced this process, considering the shrinking capacity for processing film adding time to the turnaround of images. Perhaps worse is the inability to show your sitter what you can see through the lens. I hope he would agree however that it is doubtful the same work would have been made on digital; the reflected light of the sun, soft on the mysteries of a mill pond and what lies within, seeming to belong to the ‘unknowable’ nature of analogue photography.
Fracture is incredibly important to me for personal reasons I won’t bother to bore you with and which are too complex to really even try and dissect. Jake’s incredible talent needs no affirmation - it makes itself known the moment you press play, the moment he takes the stage. I guess what I want to try and get across, in my clumsy, wordy way, is the intense authenticity in everything that Jake makes. Trying to describe the ineffable (and really digging myself a hole here) I believe there is an emotional urgency somewhere within everyone that they are desperate to share. There is a ‘drive’, akin to imagination and hot like fire, which only very seldom is handled with the kind of artistry that Jake pours into his work. For me, Jake’s music has always stood as a concrete case in point that there is real value in putting yourself and your vulnerabilities into your work. This album, in all its visceral earnestness, flies in the face of emotionless corporatism. Everything about it has been crafted meticulously in order to celebrate and lament the complexities of the heart and mind that make us human.
However, it is inevitably more difficult to make something intimate in an industry dependent on commercial appeal and sales figures. As with all creative endeavours, sadly this dependency means a lot of work never gets heard, appreciated or even realised. Jake has managed to make Fracture a reality, but this record needs support. Head to indiegogo to pre-order a copy of the CD now, and bag yourself one of many great perks from Jake Downs, gifted artist Jessica Poole and myself. If you love the cover artwork as much as I do (see video teaser below), you can choose from two options to claim a 20” print of it as part of your bundle. ONLYFIVEDAYSTOGO, so don’t hang around.
I shall shortly be updating the structure of my website and will be adding an entire gallery dedicated to my portrait work. There will be a couple of unseen shots of Jake, so look forward to seeing more of him them.
In the mean time, you can find Jake on the various digital platforms below:
And you can see more of Jess’s beautiful artwork here.
*Here I have removed a long-winded exploration of why I choose to shoot on film, which will potentially form another entry in the next month or two. Or perhaps it will disappear into the ether. Either way, it was very badly worded and on a second read rather introspective and uninteresting so be thankful.
Before I get distracted and engage with some internal anecdote*, this is just a brief post to share some photos of a very lovely exhibition that took place last month at Fieldwork Cafe.
The design and collage work of Rachel Caunt is widely known by the name Paper Covers Rock, and I had the pleasure of photographing this gorgeous exhibition during its stay on Fieldwork’s walls. Rachel is based in North London - however if you are not, never fear, you can browse and buy her work here. I’ve always been a fan of collage but have tended to make work that comes across clumsily direct, something about photo collage tends to be more abrupt. What I love about Rachel’s work is the subtlety of shapes and tones that lend themselves to an aesthetic guided, but not limited by, their respective titles. There is just enough empty space and just enough colour in each composition. They’re elegant and somehow nostalgic.
This is a small selection of images but it’s only a small space so I’ve tried to avoid repetition. I really do encourage you to go online and check out the Paper Covers Rock online store, there are so many beautiful print goodies that you could have hanging in your own space!
Also, if you’ve never heard of Fieldwork you can find us on instagram (and be tempted by photos of cakes and other sweet things) here.
Have a fantastic week.
*It has just struck me that I probably should have used my surname as a gift at some point during the whole website-creation process. Webber isn’t good for much but it could have been good here. www.christinawebsite.com? www.christinawebber’ssite.com? www.ebber.com? www.ber.com? (ASIN world wide web .ber .com !!!!!!!!)