Sunday 18 April 2010

Blue sky thinking

The sky above my house yesterday, 19 April 2010

These last few days we've had clear blue skies above our house in Ipswich, Suffolk. Not so strange you may think, the weather's been nice. That is, unless, you consider that it usually looks like this on a clear day:

The sky above my house a month ago, 16 March 2010

I have become fascinated by vapour trails these past few years, ever since I flew for the first time in 2006. Since then I can't help remembering the excitement I felt when boarding that plane to New York when ever I look at them. I have been photographing them regularly since.

They are also, rather obviously, a symbol of the amount we are flying. I've always believed flying is a luxury, not a right, and there's a certain sort of irony to a natural phenomenon grounding what is arguably one of the worst environmentally damaging extravagances that the 'developed' world partakes in.

Plane Stupid's 2009 advert. Written by the ad agency Mother, produced by Rattling Stick.


Friday 9 April 2010

Malcolm McLaren RIP

Brighton, March 2010

If it hadn't been for Malcolm McLaren and Jamie Reid, I'd have probably never have discovered Situationism. Sex Pistols, who for me were always so much more than just about the music, were arguably one of the greatest Situationist constructions the UK has witnessed. And for that, I doff my cap.
And of course, for Bowwowwow.

Malcolm McLaren obituary
Jamie Reid
Situationist International

Thursday 8 April 2010

Go to!

NB Dubdog, 2010, after van Doesburg

Yesterday Claire and I went to the excellent Van Doesburg & The International Avant-Garde: Constructing A New World exhibition at Tate Modern. Highly recommended - so much graphic design that came after was highly influenced by this egocentric innovator and those he associated with. He was quick to exploit associations in order to get his vision across and he wasn't afraid to burn those that swayed from his singular mission; being gutted at his rejection by the Bauhaus as a tutor, he set up his own rival course in Weimer that dismissed Bauhaus teachings.

This exhibition is testament to the many visually exciting explorations that were happening at the time, both from the hands and mind of van Doesburg and from those of avant garde art movements. And you can clearly see the reverberations this had on those that followed:

David Carson work arguably couldn't have existed without van Doesburg's Dada type experiments,

Theo van Doesburg. Poster Dada Matinée. January 1923

David Carson

Alan Fletcher's collages owe many a debt to Kurt Schwitters,

Kurt Schwitters, Merzbild

Alan Fletcher

Stefan Sagmeisters work for Lou Reed could be said to be a direct reference to Raoul Hausmann's Postcard to I.K. Bonset,

Raoul Hausmann's Postcard to I.K. Bonset 1921

Stefan Sagmeister

and Müller-Brockmann's posters could have been composed from a De Stijl 'how to' manual, if such a thing existed.

Theo van Doesburg Arithmetic Composition 1929-30

Josef Müller-Brockmann

I particularly enjoyed the De Stijl Typography and Dada & Constructivism rooms, and specifically some of van Doesburg's ramblings written large on the gallery wall. This example almost reads like a CRASS lyric:

DADA, PICABIA writes, does not feel anything,
it is nothing, nothing nothing.
It is like your hope: nothing.
Like your idols: nothing.
Like your paradise: nothing.
Like your politicians: nothing.
Like your heroes: nothing.
Like your artists: nothing.
Like your religions: nothing.
Dada was not made, but came into being.
One cannot become a DADAIST, one can only be one.
(Van Doesbury 1923)

The exhibition on until May 16th 2010, Tate Modern. Go to!

Tate Modern
David Carson
Alan Fletcher
Stefan Sagmeister
Josef Müller-Brockmann

43 bye bye

A statement from facebook profile:

We have spent this afternoon biting our nails hoping that the news that the Labour and Conservatives had agreed to drop Clause 43 was actually going to happen. It was by no means a forgone conclusion. Indeed the LibDems could still have scuppered it. We sat on the news and didn’t pre-empt the outcome which has just been confirmed. A huge thank you for the messages of support during this campaign, but above all for all your tireless efforts writing, emailing, Facebooking and Twittering your MPs. It is these efforts, above everything else, that have achieved this.

It’s been hard work but also an honour to have been part of so much unified support.

Today, I can say I am proud to be a UK photographer. Today we achieved something memorable and outstanding for our future rights and the representation of photographers in the UK.

Well done and congratulations to everyone and your efforts. WE WON!!!

Andre Regini

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Probably a robbery, a bit of skullduggery

If the Digital Economy Bill goes through (second reading today) it will potentially mean drastic changes to the copyright laws in this country that could result in any images you post to your website, Flickr, weblog etc, being used by anyone without the need to ask your consent. Under Clause 43, anyone using your work only needs to declare it an 'orphan work' by doing a cursory search for who holds the copyright and registering that they have done this. If you discover your work has been used, you can claim an as yet undisclosed fee for its use, but you have no right to stop its use.

For more in depth details, follow these links:
Orphan works
Copyright Action

Other aspects of the DEB:
38 Degrees

And on a related photography note, a campaign aimed at stopping photographers being branded as terrorists:
I'm a Photographer, not a Terrorist

Saturday 3 April 2010

Thursday 1 April 2010

Cold sweat as I dwell

I got a letter from the shadow government
The other day
I opened and read it
It said they were suckers
They wanted me to vote for them or whatever
Picture me given' a damn I said never
Here is a class that never gave a damn
About a someone like me and myself
Because they never did
I wasn't wit' it but just that very minute...
It occured to me
The suckers might just get authority

Apologies to Public Enemy