Friday, 29 July 2011

THE REALISATION by LINDA LIEBERMAN

THE REALISATION by Linda Lieberman

When I saw Linda's work on her website, I was astounded and had no hesitation in writing to her asking if she would photograph me as part of my project. Her reply was not particularly hopeful in that she said that she was very busy at that time (July 2010) on other projects but she did ask me to send her a photo of myself in the meantime and that we could discuss in August the possibility of working together. So, not that hopeful but it wasn't a "No" either.

I sent her a copy of Steven Barritt's great photo and she reacted quite positively to it. However, at the beginning of 2011, she wrote asking if she could coordinate a shoot with me in March or April  and also, she wanted to know in advance if I woud be able sit approximately cross legged  or kneel like a Ghandi type figure and hold fish? She also wanted to know if I could maybe construct a loin cloth arrangement for the shoot. I replied that these things would not be a problem.

It was a few weeks later that I had a bit of a crisis and decided, rather too hastily, to bring the project to a close but Linda wrote such a beautiful email in response to my decision, as did quite a few others, that I relented immediately and said that all could go ahead as planned. Linda and I quickly set up a date for the shoot only for my daughter to catch Pneumonia and to be admitted to hospital to boot. However, we eventually got there and, on 29th July 2011, I was photographed, wearing a loin cloth and with two dead fish hanging round my neck, by the great Linda Lieberman. The image was intended to represent Mankind's realisation of what it is doing to the ecology of the oceans and was part of a series of photographs conceived by her within that theme. 

Of course, I knew what sort of quality of photograph I was likely to receive but nothing prepared me for what I did receive. Linda sent me three images shown below. I wrote saying that they were the most beautiful images and I could not really believe that now such incredible photographs by Linda Lieberman existed.






                                                                      


As it was, when the Southport show was being arranged, Linda decided on advice from her printer to use a fourth image which is the one I have chosen for my project. Even having received the three previous pictures, I was still astonished by the power and grace of this photograph. I was literally shocked and very excited at the same time. I was very honoured to be part of Linda's work, part of her history and to have actually worked with her. This was so important to me and something I shall never forget.

Linda


Thursday, 21 July 2011

MONIKA GORKA


HONORABLE MENTION WINNER OF PX3, Prix de la Photographie Paris

MONIKA GORKA OF UNITED KINGDOM WAS AWARDED IN THE PX3 2011 COMPETITION.

PARIS, FRANCE
PRIX DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE PARIS (PX3) ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF PX3 2011 COMPETITION.
Monika Gorka of United Kingdom was Awarded in category for the entry entitled, " "Life" ." The jury selected winners from thousands of photography entries from over 85 countries. 
Px3 is juried by top international decision-makers in the photography industry: Carol Johnson, Curator of Photography of Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Gilles Raynaldy, Director of Purpose, Paris; Viviene Esders, Expert près la Cour d'Appel de Paris; Mark Heflin, Director of American Illustration + American Photography, New York; Sara Rumens, Lifestyle Photo Editor of Grazia Magazine, London; Françoise Paviot, Director of Galerie Françoise Paviot, Paris; Chrisitine Ollier, Art Director of Filles du Calvaire, Paris; Natalie Johnson, Features Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine, London; Natalie Belayche, Director of Visual Delight, Paris; Kenan Aktulun, VP/Creative Director of Digitas, New York; Chiara Mariani, Photo Editor of Corriere della Sera Magazine, Italy; Arnaud Adida, Director of Acte 2 Gallery/Agency, Paris; Jeannette Mariani, Director of 13 Sévigné Gallery, Paris; Bernard Utudjian, Director of Galerie Polaris, Paris; Agnès Voltz, Director of Chambre Avec Vues, Paris; and Alice Gabriner, World Picture Editor of Time Magazine, New York.

Please find the images under

WHITSTABLE 2011 by Chris Friel

WHITSTABLE 2011 by Chris Friel

Isn't this the most incredible photograph?

I found Chris's work on Flickr through my usual method of surfing the site and coming across a photographer whose work is interesting and then looking at his or her favourites and then voila! When I came across Chris Friel's work, I was stunned by its breadth of sheer and  simple beauty. This was a man who really cared not only about the work but the people and places her photographed . And I wanted to be taken into that care.

I wrote to him and he responded positively but said that he was really "a landscape person" and "very much a part time amateur" -  look at his portraits! They are bloody brilliant. As for being a part time amateur -  what has that got to do with it? The man is a genius. He is also one of the nicest people I have met during this project but then you would guess that from his work wouldn't you?

For some weird reason I though that Chris lived in my home town of Brighton but, in fact, he lives in Whitstable and so it was that, on a grey July day in 2011, I travelled by train to Kent. Chris met me at the railway station (mm-mm) and on the way to his house, we stopped off at the sweetest little cafe in what, originally, must have been a corner shop. It had a lovely, homely atmosphere and we had a drink and chatted about this and chatted about that and, almost immediately, I felt that we got on very well. He had already sent me some test shots of his daughter in the sea (which are wonderful photographs in their own right) and so we went on to his house, retrieved his camera and a chair and made our way to the beach onto which his house fronted. Unfortunately, the sea was too rough to go too far in as his daughter had done so we placed the chair on the edge of the water and I sat down and Chris clicked away. He tried to attract  some gulls with some bread but they totally ignored us - maybe they are fussy and only eat organic. We returned to the house, a lovely Victorian (?) cottage on several floors  and he shot me in the sitting room overlooking the sea. He talked about his involvement with music and the upcoming documentary "One Day" and I talked about my project. In fact, the whole shoot was an absolute joy.


The photographs he sent me were stunning. There were only about eight images - all excellent - and at first it was tempting to choose one where my head or hands were shaking a lot but what struck me most was that they all had a smell of the sea about them and I really liked the one where my head was turned towards the sea and I appear to be thinking either of plunging into the water or maybe dreaming of another time altogether different but where the sea is present. My hands are shaking too (what's new?) and the suit and tie look suitably cool (Lynchian my son Tom said) -  it is almost the perfect picture.  Pure. Simple. Strong.

Chris

ON THE BEACH by Kandy Ackland

ON THE BEACH by Kandy Ackland

Shortly after we moved to Brighton in May 2011, we were on the hunt for certain items of furniture with which to re-clutter our new home. One day, I stopped at a small antique shop in Hove and whilst looking around the store, I noticed some photographs displayed on the wall. They were landscapes which I am not normally drawn to but these had a vibrancy and colour that was very enticing. It appeared that the photos were being exhibited as part of the Brighton Fringe. Anyway, I noted Kandy's name and looked up the work on the internet, liked what I saw and wrote to her. We met in a cafe and she kindly agreed to photograph me and said that she wanted to do it very early in the morning when the tide was out so that she could photograph me in the nude by the old abandoned West Pier.

Well, we discovered that even at 4.30 on a summer morning, the tide rarely goes right out in Brighton but at least it was low tide.  Kandy was assisted by her artist friend Christine and we all got on very well. We tried shots by the old iron stancheons on the beach during which initially I was stationary but Kandy asked me to move so I went into a series of poses similar to those I adopt for my stop motion films. Then we found a small piece of sand and she asked me to walk along this whilst she shot me. I suggested that I ran and and jumped into the air. I loved the resultant images - they captured exactly the experimental mood of the shoot and I liked particularly the washed out, grainy effect which reflected the crispness of the June morning.

Both Kandy and I liked this image because of the enigmatic stretch of my arm seeming to try to clasp and hold on to what energy and strength I still have; making the connection between my wish to control my body and what my body is doing against my will. She is a wonderfully talented artist and I would love to work with her again. She is very composed during the shoot and focused on what she has planned to do but, at the same time, is willing to improvise and collaborate on ideas which can be great fun. Brilliant!




TIM by Selina Mayer

TIM by Selina Mayer

I found Selina's work on Flickr and I liked her self-portraiture particularly. I think this was mainly because I had been attempting some of my own self-portraits recently - another step in the process of self examination and self-discovery. 

Selina came down to Brighton and met Jane at home and then Selina and I went down to Hove and walked along the beach. As instructed, I wore an old suit and Selina photographed me standing in the sea using her film camera sometimes with a red tinted lens on it - at least, I think that is what she was doing but, if not, I am sure she will correct me so watch this space.

The shoot was great fun and, as she got more into it, she clambered down the pebble beach in her totally unsuitable (and yet very attractive) shoes and dress in order to get the shots she wanted. We talked of doing more shoots together but, in the meantime, she sent me a few fabulous images and it was this one that caught my eye immediately.

Selina has a great understanding of how her camera works and is always looking to discover something new in what she photographs. I love her enthusiasm and energy and her thirst for knowledge and experience. I look forward to some more!       

   
P.S. Selina has now given me the correct technical information. She used an infra-red filter because, for some shots (neither of the above), she was using red sensitivity film.  The image of me in the sea shown above is, in fact,  the result of cross processing slide film. So, there you are!

Friday, 15 July 2011

TODAY I CUT MY NOSE SHAVING........

.....is the new blog that I have started. lt is about my relationship with Parkinson's Disease. Sounds dreary and depressive but it's not going to be.

So, if you have Parkinson's or know someone who has, then maybe it will be of interest. If you don't have the disease or know anyone with it, maybe it will entertain you anyway. If it doesn't, then you don't have to read it.

Simple as that.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

MERVYN PEAKE AWARDS 2011 - Part Two

Well, it was a bit nerve-wracking but I made it and it turned out all round to be a very enjoyable afternoon. Jane and I met Jenna Durdle and then Clare Chater, both of Parkinson's UK when we arrived and then we were introduced in turn to Sebastian Peake, his daughter Rose Peake and his brother Fabian Peake all of whom were utterly charming. We met the third Peake, Clare, at the end. We were placed on the "Rembrandt" table (Rembrandt being Mervyn Peake's favourite painter) and we were introduced to Brian Sibley, a writer and broadcaster, who recently dramatised a radio version of Gormenghast for the BBC. He was there with his partner, David Weeks, who is a professional magician and who proceeded to bamboozle Jane with some card tricks.



Paul Jackson Clark of Parkinson's UK then introduced me to the audience and I got up and spoke and my speech seemed to go down very well. Afterwards, they had the prize giving and a guy on our table, Eric Popplewell won the digital Art Section but we never got to see his work.

Jenna Durdle presenting me witha bottle of wine

 The author, Joanne Harris ("Chocolat") gave away the prizes and I wanted to say hello to her afterwards but we got talking to various people and then turned around and found that, unfortunately, she had disappeared.

We were home by about 5pm. A very nice day and it was lovely to have Jane with me because I love her so. So, thank you, Parkinson's UK and the Peake family.....and Jane!

A transcript of the speech is set out below.



FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY HOW HONOURED I AM TO HAVE BEEN INVITED TO SPEAK TODAY. I AM MOST GRATEFUL TO THE FAMILY OF THE LATE MERVYN PEAKE AND TO PARKINSON’S UK FOR THIS INVITATION.

HOWEVER, REALLY I AM HERE UNDER FALSE PRETENCES.  MY PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT, ‘’OVER THE HILL’’ WHICH STARTED BY COMPLETE ACCIDENT, HAS INVOLVED ME IN DOING NOTHING OTHER THAN STAND IN FRONT OF 145 VERY TALENTED PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ALLOWING THEM TO PHOTOGRAPH ME. SO IT IS PERHAPS THEY WHO SHOULD BE STANDING HERE AND RECEIVING THIS HONOUR. AND NOT ME.

SO TODAY I AM THEIR REPRESENTATIVE.

AS I SAY, THE PROJECT STARTED BY ACCIDENT. I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE IN NOVEMBER 2OO5 AND IN JUNE 2006, I WAS FORCED TO TAKE EARLY RETIREMENT FROM MY WORK AS A LAWYER.

IN MAY 2007, I SAW AN ADVERTISEMENT IN ‘’TIME OUT’’ FOR NUDE MODELS AND I THOUGHT ‘’WHY NOT?’’ I WAS NO LONGER A SOLICITOR WITH MY FIRM’S OR MY OWN REPUTATION AT STAKE AND I HAD ALWAYS LOVED PHOTOGRAPHY ALTHOUGH I HAD NEVER BEEN MUCH OF A PHOTOGRAPHER MYSELF. SO I WENT ALONG AND MET GRAEME MONTGOMERY, AND SPENT A VERY PLEASANT HOUR OR SO STARK NAKED IN HIS STUDIO IN LONDON WHILST HE PHOTOGRAPHED ME AND I CAME AWAY THINKING HOW BRILLIANT IT WOULD BE TO HAVE A PROFESSIONAL NUDE PORTRAIT OF MYSELF HANGING UP ON THE WALL AT HOME.

AS IT HAPPENED, MY CHILDREN WERE NOT AT ALL KEEN ON THE IDEA AND SO IT REMAINS HIDDEN AWAY IN A DRAWER.

HOWEVER, THERE FOLLOWED 3 MORE ADVERTS FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC MODELS OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS BUT IT WAS NOT UNTIL APRIL 2008 THAT I THOUGHT OF APPROACHING PHOTOGRAPHERS MYSELF AND THEN I WROTE TO THE FIRST SAYING ‘’ I WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE ON THE PATH OF BEING PHOTOGRAPHED BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE DURING THE COURSE OF MY ILLNESS’’ AND, AS I WROTE THOSE WORDS I REALISED THAT I HAD A PROJECT AND SINCE THEN I HAVE SEEN 145 PHOTOGRAPHERS.

WHY DID I DO THIS?

WELL, I HAVE NEVER WANTED TO DOCUMENT MY PARKINSON’S AS SUCH BUT RATHER TO DOCUMENT MYSELF AT A TIME WHEN I HAPPENED TO HAVE THE DISEASE.

THAT SAID, MANY OF THE PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE CHOSEN TO EXPLORE THE EFFECT THE DISEASE HAS HAD ON ME – THE FIRST TO DO SO WAS ADA YU WHOSE PHOTOGRAPH ‘’LOOK TWO HANDS!’’ SHOWED HOW EVEN THE SIMPLE ACT OF TAKING A HANDKERCHIEF OUT OF MY POCKET PRESENTED PROBLEMS.

BUT I HAVE NOT MINDED THIS EXAMINATION OF MY CONDITION. ANOTHER GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER, CHRIS FLOYD, ON A BITTERLY COLD DAY IN FEBRUARY THIS YEAR CREATED A VERY HONEST FILM WHICH INCLUDED UNCOMFORTBLE SCENES OF ME STANDING OUTSIDE NAKED AND SHAKING UNCONTROLLABLY. THE FILM WAS FEATURED ON THE WEBSITE OF THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER AND PROVOKED STRONG BUT POSITIVE REACTIONS FROM A NUMBER OF PEOPLE MANY OF WHOM EITHER HAD OR WHO WERE RELATED TO PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON’S. HOWEVER, NOT ALL THE COMMENTS ON THE SITE WERE SERIOUS - ONE PERSON WROTE ‘’HE JUST LOOKS BLOODY COLD TO ME’’.

I HAVE NO PARTICULAR AFFECTION FOR PARKINSON’S – I REMEMBER CLEARLY, SOON AFTER MY DIAGNOSIS, GOING TO A LOCAL MEETING OF WHAT WAS THEN THE PARKINSON’S DISEASE SOCIETY AND THINKING ‘’I DON’T WANT TO BE A MEMBER OF THIS CLUB’’ – BUT IT HAS PROVIDED ME WITH THIS OPPORTUNITY TO MEET AND WORK WITH ALL THESE VERY TALENTED PEOPLE AND I MUST SAY THAT IT HAS BEEN GREAT FUN.  MAYBE I NEEDED A SHOT OF SOMETHING POSITIVE AND CREATIVE TO COMBAT THE SHOCK NOT ONLY OF THE DIAGNOSIS BUT ALSO THE SHOCK OF FINDING MYSELF AT HOME AFTER 29 YEARS OF BEING A WORKAHOLIC AND WORKING SOMETIMES 12 HOUR DAYS EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.

HOWEVER, THERE WAS ANOTHER SIDE OF THE COIN TO THE SUDDEN JOY OF BEING AT HOME EVERY DAY INSTEAD OF WORKING IN THE OFFICE.

I GUESS I AM RIGHT IN SAYING THAT MANY OF THOSE HERE TODAY – INCLUDING MYSELF, THE WINNERS OF THESE AWARDS OR THE OTHER ENTRANTS COULD NOT HAVE ACHIEVED WHAT WE HAVE WITHOUT THE LOVE AND SUPPORT OF A SPOUSE OR PARTNER OR OTHER CLOSE FAMILY MEMBERS OR FRIENDS. I SAID EARLIER THAT I AM HERE AS A REPRESENTATIVE AND I AM.

MY WIFE JANE, IS A WONDERFUL ARTIST WHO WORKS AT HOME.

FOLLOWING MY DIAGNOSIS, SHE WAS FACED FIRST OF ALL WITH THE SHOCK OF BEING TOLD THAT HER HUSBAND HAD AN INCURABLE DEGENERATIVE ILLNESS, THEN WITH A SUCCESSION OF PEOPLE ASKING ‘’HOW’S POOR TIM?” AND YET NOT THINKING HOW SHE WAS. THEN I CAME HOME AND INVADED HER WORKSPACE AS SHE WATCHED ME SLOWLY SUCCOMB TO THE ILLNESS. SHE WAS LOSING ME.

 BUT THEN TO TOP IT ALL, I WENT ON LEVADOPA AND I SUDDENLY BECAME SUPERMAN!!

SHE WATCHED ME WALTZ OFF WITH ALL AND SUNDRY ENJOYING MYSELF WITH ALL THESE YOUNG ARTISTS WHILST SHE WAS STILL REELING FROM THE SHOCK OF IT ALL!

IT IS VERY EASY FOR ONE TO OVERLOOK THE EFFECT AN ILLNESS HAS NOT ONLY ON THE SUFFERERS THEMSELVES BUT ALSO ON THEIR PARTNERS AND LOVED ONES.

I AM NOT ASKING FOR PITY EITHER FOR JANE OR FOR ANY OTHER SPOUSES OR PARTNERS OF THOSE SUFFERING FROM PARKINSON’S – THAT IS THE LAST THING THAT SHE OR THEY WOULD WANT. BUT I AM ASKING FOR RECOGNITION FOR THE BRAVERY AND THE LOVE SHOWN AND THE ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN BY ALL THE SPOUSES AND PARTNERS AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS WHO IN THE BROADEST SENSE, CARE FOR THOSE WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE.

EACH OF THEM WARRANT RECEIVING THEIR OWN SPECIAL AWARD.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT THROUGH MY PROJECT, I HAVE BECOME AN ARTIST BUT I HAVEN’T – I AM JUST A PRODUCER – I HAVE ENABLED OTHERS TO BE ARTISTIC ON MY BEHALF.  BUT YOU, THE WINNERS OF THE AWARDS TODAY, AND THE OTHER 500 OR SO WHO ENTERED THEIR WORK – YOU ARE THE ARTISTS.

BUT THE REAL STARS OF THE SHOW ARE YOUR SPOUSES AND PARTNERS WHOM LIKE JANE HAVE GIVEN UP THEIR TIME TO SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE US, TO REMIND US TO TAKE OUR PILLS, TO WASH OUR CLOTHES, TO COOK OUR MEALS, TO TAKE US HERE AND THERE, TO REMIND US TO TAKE OUR PILLS AGAIN, TO LISTEN PATIENTLY WHILST WE RATTLE ON ABOUT OUR LATEST ARTWORK. AND ALL THE TIME THEY ARE TRYING TO LIVE THEIR OWN LIVES.

SO WHETHER SHE LIKES IT OR NOT I DEDICATE MY PROJECT TO JANE. IT HAS BEEN GREAT FUN – INDEED AT ONE POINT SOMEONE SAID TO ME ‘’WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT IF YOU NO LONGER HAD PARKINSON’S AND WENT BACK TO WHAT YOU HAD BEFORE?’’ I SAID ‘’NO THANKS – I’M HAPPY WITH PARKINSON’S’’. AND I AM HAPPY, VERY HAPPY BUT WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT TO HAVE A CURE OR AT LEAST MORE EFFECTIVE MEDICATION? THAT IS ONE REASON WHY THESE AWARDS ARE SO IMPORTANT – THEY HELP RAISE AWARENESS OF THE DISEASE AND THE GREAT WORK BEING DONE BY PARKINSON’S UK INTO THE RESEARCH WHICH WILL ONE DAY PRODUCE BETTER MEDICATION AND MAYBE A CURE.

MY PROJECT IS NOW COMING TO AN END. HOWEVER, THE WONDERFUL WORK BY THE PHOTOGRAPHERS INCLUDING JANE, WHOM HERSELF TOOK ONE OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS, CAN STILL BE SEEN AND INDEED IT IS ON THE SLIDESHOW OUTSIDE.

I SHALL SHUT UP NOW BEFORE I START TO CRY – BUT THANK YOU FOR LISTENING.