Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Bye bye November

I'm back in Spain for Christmas. At the beginning of December I got my PhD. On November, I had a picture in La Pura Vida (check the slideshow).

I'm more busy over at tumblr if you want to see images that catch my eye.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Being Jack Kerouac

As of late I've been reading The Subterraneans by Kerouac. At the beginning I thought that the chaotic speechlike style of the writing was making the book drag... the flow at points was pretentious and pompous in a way that caught more of my attention than the message the author was trying to get through. This changed in the second half, although I still don't know if this is due to a change in my own perception -getting used to the flow of the book- or a change in the writer -dropping the over the top style a bit and getting into the beat-. However, at this point the love story somehow manages to get the most out of the reader. It preys page after page in what I might have in common of Kerouac's experiences up to the point of exploding when he experiences jealousy. Somehow, the buildup to this part of the book works due to its anarchic style. Since the beginning we know that she's going to run out with Yuri, he has premonitions of what's going to happen and -as the book is more confessed than narrated- we have glimpses of past and future. I just find it hard to believe that any collection of photographs can produce emotional recognition of the same sort or stamp us with the feelings of the author. Reading The Subterraneans I get two impressions... on one hand I am Jack Kerouac watching Mardouc -Alene Lee- having fun with a friend at the back of a car and getting more and more insecure and jealous... and on another hand I'm myself remembering similar feelings once and again. I know what memories Kerouac is preying on, and I can sort of see how his confessional style can make the effect more intense. The fluidity of his prose at points reaches something that is either the blurred beat of the speach of a friend or the mental language we go through on our awake.

(Jack Kerouac by Burt Glinn, 1959)

Instead, when looking at photographs I usually experience the shock of Webb or Gilden... those photographs stamped as with hot iron in my mind for months due to their graphic nature, the aesthetic of a poem spread out in a single layer of paper... but I rarely get the emotional recognition of what is going on in the image, that brings me back my own memories in the way literature does. This doesn't mean that photography can't touch me, although more often it does shock me yet not touch me. Anders Petersen and Tom Wood, do somehow touch me more, although I find it hard to put in words what would they prey on. Tom Wood, for example, doesn't seem to rely much on a narrative, and the feeling I get seems to be out of the raw beauty of his images. Petersen seems more predictable, being a close and more obviously emotional photographer that he is... all feels like getting out the notebook again...

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Photo taken at the Duveen gallery of Tate British, by the Tate.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Travelling: London

I'll be in London from Friday till Sunday. On Friday evening I'll pop by the Tate British where one of my pictures will be shown. Part of the Street and Studio book by the Tate.

I wonder what it looks like very big:

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Away, yet not slacking

I have not been updating the blog, but if you need some refreshment, check Photohemorrhage.

These days I've been busier than it seems. I did some printing with Joe in Edinburgh and now I'm unemployed. I'll try temping for a while, and so, I'm writing and rewriting my cv and applying for all kinds of crap. On the side I'm writing grants on arts and sciences, for getting a research post next year and hopefully some photography funded as well. Not that I'm expecting it, but it would be a plus really.

It's sort of fun to try to water down my "hello, I'm an academic" cv into something that is more like "hey, I'm a guy that happens to have lots of experience doing research and giving talks (ups, sorry, forgot the programming)".

Friday, 10 October 2008

Question to readers... describing images...

I'll try to describe this image in words. I'm quite interested in what you'll come up with, so I'll write my description in a train trip from here to Manchester tomorrow and post it at some later point.

Could you describe it as accurately as possible while being sort of evocative and avoiding too many technicisms? Or maybe there's so much variability in the descriptions that I shouldn't ask for any constraints...


You have it larger here.

Travelling: Manchester, Edinburgh, St Andrews

I'll be in Manchester tomorrow evening and Edinburgh on Tuesday afternoon. On Friday I'll stop by St Andrews and then head back.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Common Diaries

I started about a month ago to shoot something that I've started to call the Common Diaries. I think that most of my shooting has to do with what everybody has in common with each other, what is universal about the human experience. When shooting nightlife, my usual reference is the lust for life, the apetite for more than what is possible that is at some point broken into by reality -a body too fragile and a place too decayed-. When shooting adolescence -in a series with the working title The Fountains-, what started as peering into a group that I'm not part of has turned more into a work on my own memories. I think that both the primordial lust for life and the melancholic recollection of adolescence are universal human experiences.

Common Diaries tries to be a visual diary of things experienced by anybody, sort of my diary minus me. It is common or shared or universal. It was seeded by a single image that I have been trying to follow, and it has been lending itself towards being evocative and graphical. I try to produce images that will have a strong texture and no central elements. Something like a visual puzzle that is a bit too obscure to have a solution, yet interesting to peer into. After a few days fully shooting and now checking the contact sheets, more and more ideas emerge, and I'm fully enjoying it. Not all the images are follow ups of the original anymore, although I hope they work at an interesting beat. It also has an enormous chance factor. I don't know about the look of the images nor I'm interested in them until I see them on the negative. That frees me some time to actually just enjoy, lay back, and go shooting.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Same place, different photographer

I was amazed in July when I saw this print by Paolo Pellegrin:

Seen large it is quite a gritty beauty. Between heaven and hell, shot in some exotic location in the middle of a storm.

Then you notice that it actually is shot in Marseille and that all that contrast must come from sunlight. Oh, red filters, bless us.

Same place, same ferry, shot by Julien Boast:

Friday, 5 September 2008

Views from Children of Weegee

I run this small flickr group called Children of Weegee. I thought it was about time to update a selection of images from the pool to show over here. Thanks to all the regular (and not so regular) contributors!

- by Patrick Romero

- by Olivier Thebaud

- by Andrej Filev

- by diadainconsupertrafra

- by Eric Weiss

- by Joni Karanka

- by Todd Fisher

- by Olivier Thebaud

- by Rose and Olive

- by Todd Fisher

- by Igor Moukhin

- by Joni Karanka

- by Philip Koch

- by Rafal Pruszynski

- by Rafal Pruszynski

- by Maciej Dakowicz

- by Andrej Filev

- by Cyril Costilhes

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Politics & condoms

I'm following the American candidate race for presidency. It's much better than following football, and it has some real life soap opera elements. Plus you can perfectly follow it from the newspapers. It's just hilarious, where did they find a character like Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for vicepresident? Guns, babies & Jesus sounds like a great book title -I might borrow that one-, but it has been stated that it's what she stands for. No, not by her haters, but by her followers! What an archetype... holding a gun in an office fitted with a bear fur she prompts memories of macho characters such as Rambo or Terminator... maybe one of those A-Team chicks that holds a submachine gun and has the same hit rate than the rest of the team...

But anyhow, the really tragic character is Levi Johnston. He's -allegedly- the man that made Palin's daughter pregnant. She says that they are going to marry, but I'm not sure if he has said anything. It's a bit late for abortions, and anyhow, Palin wouldn't really like that. With Bristol being seventeen and Levi eighteen, they can't even drink champagne after their wedding. Plus the mum is pretty much against abortion. And she hunts moose. And not only she's the Governor of Alaska and has been found to use this in her advantage before, but is running for vicepresident. The eyes of the whole Republican party -and also Jesus, and a random passerby like myself- must be on Levi. Could you get an erection with the whole Republican party watching? Damn. I think Levi makes a great pro-condom campaign. A month ago he was happily having a bit of a go with Bristol and now suddenly things have changed quite a bit. From a cheerleader she's turned into the daughter of Sarah Palin, the Red Sonja of Alaska. Case he had used a condom, things would be perfectly ok now. Instead, he's confronted with the pressure of a big political party and a mother in law that doesn't show compassion even for polar bears. Come on, if she sued the Federal state for trying to list polar bears -because the poor things happen to share territory with oil deposits-, what can she do to a guy that wouldn't marry her pregnant daughter?

Enough politics / gossip rant for today. Use condoms.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Moving pictures... High Hopes

I usually don't like music videos. Often I think that they manage to misrepresent the song or they age too easily or are too cheesy. I was really surprised when I loved the music video of High Hopes from beginning to end. It's full of beautiful surreal scenes, filmed with smooth camera movements and notable variety. It carries on suggesting and making me wonder. It manages somehow to mix these simple dreamlike scenes of warm colours with strong dutch angles. The mood and imagery it carries sticks as much as The Third Man. Sorry for the quality of the following captures... you'd rather just check the video I linked above!

Thanks to the f blog for pointing out the video!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Welsh Weather complaints

After reading in today's edition of the Western Mail the article The most miserable August on record I'm not that surprised I shoot indoors and at night. August in Wales allows for up to 14 hours of sunlight / day due to it's high latitude. However, we only reach an average of about 4 hours of light / day this year, which is even less than the usual 6 or 7. And it's true, about half of the days are heavily overcast and the other half are cloudy (that's when some sun comes through). Rainfall has been pretty heavy as well. The only times that you see people out is when they go shopping and at night when they go out. Gloomy as fuck. Of course, not even the most miserable weather can stop people from going out for a pint even if they have to return drenched.

I think there was more activity in spring than there is now, at least in places like parks and other outdoor venues. People knew back then that the weather was rainy and they were prepared for it and went out. Even sometimes, the activity that would otherwise take place outdoors would move into the undergrounds, but with the gloomy summer that doesn't happen either. Oh, when is March coming back?

(The Fountains in winter by me.)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Photographers featured in tumblr

If you want to see the latest odd findings of photographers or fast and dirty edits of interesting work I'm doing, you should check my tumblr Photohemorrhage. Preferably, subscribe to the RSS feed, as it gets quite a few images / week in.

In the last couple of days it has featured...

- Natasha Klimchuk

- Micke Berg


- Kramer O'Neill

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


This blog has visitors. Usually they come from these places:

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Council Estates

There's this thing in the UK that I can't recognize a minimally rough council estate when I walk into one. Sometimes I wonder if they actually are rough at all. At least in Cardiff. Last night -this morning for the rest of you mortals- I couldn't sleep, so I went for a walk. I started around half past four or five and went up to some hills in Cardiff that I had seen in google maps. Cyncoed happened to be this very posh neighbourhood with large gardens and up to four cars / house. There was a UWIC university campus up there. Nobody on the streets and lots of green. Anyhow, pretty posh, as said before. Then I walked into Llanedeyrn on my way back. It's a bit higher on the hill, and you can see that it's rolling down towards the sea, but all the houses get into the way. There are lots of alleys and underways and bits of green in the middle. My mate tonight was telling me that it's full of 'nasty boys' and that people there have lots of dogs for self defence. I didn't really see anybody while I was there between half past five and half past six, excepting a lady walking on her way back home and an old lady walking a dog -who happened to say 'good morning'-. Anyhow, the houses were pretty cramped together, but the bits of green everywhere made me think that this was way more posh than my home in Roath. And the cars were pretty posh as well. My mate was saying that people give certain value to having proper cars and arrange them one way or another -benefits, i.e.-. Ok, none the less, this seemed like a pretty ok neighbourhood to be in, more than my own. The only dischording note was the local newsagent / supermarket. It was this sort of concrete bunker with steel shutters. Although it did not have graffiti, the underpasses around had, and they were dark. At some point the sun was raising (quarter to five, I think) and I couldn't see shit with all the houses. So I decided to get into this tower block. I shot from the fourth story. It was quite lovely. Clean, smelled nice. I could see Rhumney and the sea. The hill got there gradually. The clouds took all over the sky, with little patches of blue above me. Then I walked back home. Penylan was as posh as usually, but the streets seemed longer. Black clouds came and it started to rain. My mate was telling me that he's going to take holidays in Trefforest. I thought, damn, there's nothing in Trefforest, so I asked what is there. 'Nothing!' he said. He'll go there when the mushroom season is good to pick for the rest of the year. Oh, these prosperous hills.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

La Pura Vida Gallery

La Pura Vida Gallery carries on and is looking for August submissions (open to everybody). I've heard that the gallery of July is almost ready, and yours truly features in here and there in June. These are nice varied mixes, so if you think you might not have anything suitable for it, check if you have old polaroids or slides, check the pictures you took six month ago and you still remember, and go and submit. It's sort of fun too.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Martin Parr - British Cities: Cardiff

Today with the Guardian comes a supplement shot by Martin Parr about Cardiff. The coverage is quite good. There's even a place I haven't been to: the Canton Liberal Club. Probably because I go to the New Park Liberal Club in Canton, but hey, this one he shot is posh. On the other hand, the photography is sort of average. No Martin Parr classics in this one, although it's not bad bad. Ash and Nick from Spillers are there, Ninjah is there, the Clwb is there.

I must have almost bumped into him with Maciej one day. He shot the Heineken Cup final in rugby, and writes "The city was very lively indeed that night, as Munster fans gave the Welsh a lesson in drinking and celebrating". He sadly doesn't include a photograph of the city at night, though, but one of the match. I took this one that night:

Ah, Munster fans...

Friday, 25 July 2008

Welsh Surfaces 2nd Edition, on Blurb

I revamped the layouts of Welsh Surfaces, and now it is available on blurb for £8.45. I'm waiting to see if the double page spreads work this time. On the first edition they ran over the spine! Dammit!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Seen in Arles... Andrej Ban

Another photographer whose name I wrote down in Rencontres d'Arles is Andrej Ban. I probably saw his work in the slideshows of the European Night. He's a Slovakian reporter, and you can see more of his stuff in his webpage. Some strong stories in there, although the stuff that makes me most curious is that he has a book about Slovakia. Close to home is usually good...

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Italian summer

It's quite surprising how much the number of interesting Italian photographers has increased in the last year. I guess it's all slightly based around the growth of fotografi di strada, the Italian street photography group. I'll misrepresent them as mischievious little buggers with very direct shots and some sense of humour. So as for trying to get simplistic tags that other people can misrepresent as well.

- cafone

252606 ve 027
- ciarlicappa

- laura rodari

- philip koch

- pigei

the sound of a city
- sanoi

I guess this summer I can be expecting more of the same. Plus the oddities of hardcore animal farm photography. Hum.