26.5.11

FLOODED


Flicking through the paper recently, I came across Martin Parr’s latest exhibition ‘What would you save in a flood?’ His usual work is often a no-holds-barred look on culture and consumerism in everyday life, but this recent project seemed a little different – he has teamed up with Oxfam to highlight the impact of climate change. The project was inspired by a trip to Vietnam, where the threat of devastating floods is a real possibility, everyday.

The exhibition of his work was held at the Strand Gallery (it finished yesterday, damn!). We made it to the private view last week and loved the simplicity of how the images had been secured to the walls – big, blown-up portraits held up by tiny magnets and nothing else. The images themselves had more than enough to grab your attention.

Half of the images could be seen as soon you walked in, and were all household names – an interesting mix of fashion, music, art, film and comedy icons – shot with their most treasured items (that they would save in a flood, obviously). Paul Smith holds his late father’s Rollieflex camera; Zandra Rhodes clutches onto her sketchbook; Shappi Khorsandi cradles Morph and Chas; Grayson Perry his oldest teddy bear. I think my fave was Michael Eavis’ harmonica given to him by Stevie Wonder at Glastonbury’s 40th birthday. Probably because I was happily swaying in the crowds at the time, and also because it’s so fitting. There’s a cute story behind each object and owner – all very sentimental in one way or another, revealing a hidden layer beneath.




So onto the downstairs part of the gallery space. There lay a set of rather different images – all of villagers from Quang Tri province in central Vietnam. They were also paired with their most treasured possessions – although this time they were things they really had kept safe from the threat of floods. There were some that were heart-breakingly sentimental – a photo of a man and wife or a set of family pics – although most were necessary and practical – a lifejacket; an ID card; school books; a rice cooker. Without sounding sickenly corny and soft, it makes you realise how good we have it.  I also found it quite strange that all of the photos from Vietnam were kept downstairs – it made for a powerful contrast between the two sets of images, although it brought home the fact that ‘celebrity sells’ somewhat.

Overall, a lovely, lovely, moving exhibition. It may be too late to check out the exhibition in London, but you can see more of the photos here (and a nice interview with Mr. Parr). We’re also now inspired to show some photos of the things we just couldn’t live without – so watch this space!

17.5.11

GRACE JONES, NO GRACE


Grace Jones’ album cover for her 1985 compilation album ‘Island Life’ features her surreal and well, almost horse-like physique in a yoga / sprint / not-sure-what pose (in fact it is surreal—it’s made from a montage of different images, shot by her then bf Jean-Paul Goude). But that impossible-to-reach figure hasn’t stopped others from trying to replicate it.
And oh my. These are good imitations. Well, sort of... and they made us smile.

Left Image: The Cool Hunter. Right Image: ShortList

15.5.11

PICTURES AND WORDS PART 2

My collection of Pictures and Words is still going strong, so I thought it was about time
to share another instalment.

In a similar vein to Anthony's Burrill's Optimism / Pessimism poster, there is a good mix of straight-talking statements and gooey 'love notes' of various forms. I think the realism of the first mixed with the idealism of the second makes for a pretty balanced perspective.



Sources of inspiration: Print Club London, Genevieve Gauckler (I've briefly worked with her before and her work is incredible) and Anthony Burrill. There are some others on here found randomly on the interweb. Let us know if they are yours!

14.5.11

FLAPPER FROCKS & FEATHERS


Contrary to its definition, prohibition doesn't have to be miserable. Last Saturday night, four friends and I went back in time to a 1920's Prohibition Party. Dressed up to the nines in flapper frocks and feathers, we drank Great Gatsby’s out of teacups, watched a rather tame burlesque show, gambled, and danced (flapper style) to an old jazz band.

In a word (or three) it was fun, fun, fun. The effort that individuals put into their threads was incredible; there were cigarette holders; braces and mustaches galore. 

Like prohibition culture itself, these parties are popping up in various sizes, from larger community style shindigs to more intimate drinking dens like Bourne and Hollingsworth. If it sounds like your kind of thing, I highly recommend you getting yourself down to the next one, for some much needed prohibition fun.



13.5.11

GRAPHIC DESIGN AND...?

So a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a new collaboration by Anthony Burrill and Alain De Button. This simple, yet thought-provoking poster-board is double-sided and has been created to challenge our everyday classifications of concepts and knowledge. Alternatively, you can used it as a form of encouragement to help you start thinking a little more positively, whichever side you’re looking at (well that’s my interpretation. I’m an optimist. Obviously).

Anthony Burril is probably best known for his straight-talking and iconic typographic prints, which have become “mantras for the design community’” (except for James Hurst… sorry Anthony).



But it’s great to see him collaborate with somebody like Alain de Botton from The School of Life—it seems they are getting some messages out there which run a little deeper.  I’ve been to one talk at The School of Life (all about the meaning of ‘cool', ahem). But it’s an interesting and very accessible entry-point for understanding and thinking intelligently about everyday questions in philosophy, literature and visual arts, in a way that will “tickle, exercise and expand your mind” (tickle = good word).

It’s also worth mentioning that the collaboration between Anthony and Alain has been created and showcased as part of a new website “GraphicDesign&”… it’s looking rather sparse at the moment but what its ‘coming soon’ content seems to suggest is quite exciting. Combing considered creativity and design, with various kinds of serious and abstract modes of thought, can only (hopefully) result in something pretty neat. Watch this space!

3.5.11

FANTASTIC MAN

Does this man ever look bad?  If the Royal Wedding was anything to go by then the answer is a no.

In the latest issue of Fantastic Man, Beckham once again showcases his versatility and ability to sell a style / look.  Katy England's 'n
ail on the head' styling, coupled with Alasdair McLellan exquisite photography (and of course the subject) means that the East End Pie & Mash shop backdrop practically goes unnoticed. Great magazine great shoot.








2.5.11

STEVEN PERILLOUX

I wanted to share some work of another great photographer; Steven PerillouxHe is the former assistant of Terry Richardson, although there are no obvious comparisons between their work… I really like his rich vintage colours mixed with some of the more experimental shots I’ve picked out here.





There's also a neat little interview with Steven Perilloux and Dazed Digital from a few month’s back—you can read it here—it showcases some shots from his forthcoming book about the sad but suntanned homeless souls of Venice beach. They’re all one-shot pics too—none of this '50 shots to get the right one' nonsense—keeping the spontaneity of photography alive.