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.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Arles: Night of the Year

In Rencontres d'Arles I was showing photographs in a slideshow with tangophoto. Here is a photograph of what the crowd that did not manage to get a seat looked like:

We were sharing our nice little square with a new music magazine called Vox Pop. I met by chance three girls from the magazine at a restaurant earlier, when I handed them my mosquito spray. Arles was full of mosquitos. Here the girls from the magazine look a bit lost:

And here are my new Dutch contacts, who were producing excellent photographs in a centric square of la Roquette by the simple act of bringing their own wine with them:

There's a different edit of the night in the f blog.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Arles: Christian Lacroix fashion show

I had free entry to the Christian Lacroix fashion show in Rencontres d'Arles. My seat was very very far away, so at some point I dodged the guy that was handling the big spotlight on stage and just walked down there. I shot maybe a dozen pictures, but was lucky enough to catch one of the two guys kicked out of stage. At some point they just ran into the middle of the stage and started to dance. As can be seen, one of them is carrying two cameras!

(All pics by me.)

Arles Polaroids: improvised Cardiff by Night Exhibition

Shot by Cyril Costilhes. Exhibited on the window of Pharmacie du Forum.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Seen in Arles... Stefan Vanfleteren

The European Night of Rencontres d'Arles was for me a bit disappointing. Lots of boring photographs of more of the same shot in more of the same way. It is amazing how many photographers from different countries decide to put a photograph of an abandoned car in the middle of the forest in their slideshow. Coincidence?

At least the Belgians were hitting a bit harder. They had at least two photographers that got ovations from the audience each time that a new bunch sat to look at their work. One of them was Stephan Vanfleteren:

The edit he has online doesn't seem as strong as what he was showing in Arles, and I can't find many of the photographs. His portraits of Belgians at home and in bars were very strong. Often funny, close.

Friday, 11 July 2008


I am in Arles now and it is sunny. My photographs are hanging in the window of Pharmacie du Forum, between the main venue and the square where you go to have a pastis. Tonight is the Night of the Year and some of those photographs are in a slideshow in the first square in La Roquette.

This far only five photographs have been stolen. Polaroids of the venue to follow.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Weather again

All the rain is driving me a bit mad now. I start to think that Britain has only two representative months in a year: March and October. Marches are characteristicly rainy, murky and windy. The average day is cloudy, cool but mild and presents rain at some point. These days carry on one after another for weeks. Ocasionally there is continuous rain for a day or two, but this rarely carries on for a week. Sometimes, cool but dry days happen. Snow can't be expected. The sun appears every now and then. Very rarely a day or two of sunshine raises the temperatures unexpectedly, only to immediately return to the murky rainy days. Octobers are characeristicly rainy, murky and windy. The average day is cloudy, mild and presents rain at some point. These days are mixed with the occasional day that does not present rain and in which the clouds retreat to show some sunshine. This happens for a day or two, but rarely carries on for a week. Every now and then you get thunderstorms and torrential rain. Altough rarely we get the cold average weather of Marches, occasional very cold days can be expected. Sometimes a day or two of peak sun and warmth appear, but these are as frequent as snow, which means that you can't rely on them happening on a specific year.

Also, you can't expect Marches and Octobers to happen on a certain part of the year, they are just sort of mixed around. They can't be predicted. For example, this July (like last year) seems to be another March:

I feel very lucky that I'm going to France on Monday. They have summer months there.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Weather, geography, culture, street photography

The weather is pissing me off quite a bit. Not that I'd do anything better than sitting in a cafe and writing, but oh my, this is a bit too unpredictable. About five minutes ago it was almost sunny (although raining) and now it's murky and grey again. This morning it was sunny for a bit. This is a very common trick of the British weather for getting you out of home without an umbrella. It sort of enjoys watching people get back from work absolutely soaked. This afternoon, when I went to the shower there was a thunderstorm. There I was, washing my hear listening to the thunder. I got out of the shower and it was sunny. But raining, of course. Back in the day, before coming to the UK seeing rain while the sun was shining was sort of an exceptional happening. "Wow, look, how is it possible?" Now, well, it's just another state of the day. For the last two weeks it has been raining every day, not as badly yesterday, when it only started in the afternoon and carried till today. But a few days ago it was just rain and rain and rain. We have worse weather than Canada! They at least have "dry" summers! Damn.

Being in this kind of enviroment I always wonder how there can be so many British (or Britain-based) street photographers. It doesn't make any sense. They should be doing something like pub photography, or cosy home-by-the-stove photography, but no, they sort of run out on those twenty sunny days a year and shoot the hell out of it. I thought it might be that English excentricity, but then I realize that Tom Wood is Irish (although based in Liverpool):

At least Martin Parr took full advantage of the highlights of our weather in his book "Bad Weather":

But god, what kind of a self-lacerating geek you have to be to do such a thing? It had to be Parr, who always turns all the odds in his advantage, who came up with such a book.

Anyhow, things are not a lot better in the rest of the world. In northern and central Europe the weather is just a bit better than over here, so yeah, strolls are perfectly possible, but you rather maybe move outside the city and chill out a bit? In the south we mostly lack the idea of purposefully going out to the street to catch some glimpses of reality. This seems to be changing (check for example the Italian fotografi di strada flickr group), and although the laws -as in France- do not rule in favour of the photographers, these seem to be the perfect lands to shoot. On the other hand, in the United States only a few spots seem to be good for walking around and shooting while doing so (NYC, e.g.). There seems to be a lot of empty space and people in cars. Boring. Plus you can be stopped for crossing a street. They even call such an event jaywalking.

Maybe time to move to Japan.