Wednesday, 2 April 2014

24 Hours And Beijing Is Calling

So, only 24 hours until I leave and Beijing is certainly calling! All is packed, 100 Archival sleeves, 25 rolls of film, 3 packs of Polaroid, 2 Photographic trays and relating tongs, 2 pairs of safety googles, 1 Acid Resistant Apron, a pair of Acid Resistant gloves and lets not forget the Hunter wellies, and a small selection of clothes! 

As the time approaches, I currently sit in my studio easing my thoughts, preparing for what will be one of the best, most exciting and inspiring trips this year, listening to the extended classical sounds of Einaudi, Grieg, Scriabin and many others including my favourites, Adagio for String and the Moonlight Sonnet by Beethoven. I always find that before a trip, there is something very special about classical music that calms my spirit, my mind and prepares me for the travels ahead.

Much awaits my arrival and much will be made, created and decided, and on my return much will be shown and displayed, so, so long and see you on the other side.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

This Time In A Week...

This time in a week, I will be well on my way, in mid european airspace en route to Beijing! The time is nearly here and with every day, an excitement and growing nervousness as those ten days in Beijing will see much happen, from making new photographic works, to films and documentaries to, of course not forgetting, a book dummy! 

Knowing that while these days are flying by, our wonderful hand printer is busy producing enlargements of my edit, I just can't wait to see the changes that will have happened from the files I have been used to looking at over the past year and a half. At every stage this projects develops into a mysterious, organically living object as the control is so often removed and those wonderful mistakes, accidental happenings prove the driving force of our collaboration. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Embassy, Printers, Tests

Friday saw a great day, many exciting conversations had and much more planned. My initial outing, a trip to the Chinese Embassy to put in my Visa application and I will be successfully collecting my passport next week with yet another Visa to added to my others. I can not wait to head to Beijing, the time just can't go quick enough, but then again with so much to do beforehand, lets not wish away the minutes just yet! 

Then onto a the wonderful Artful Dodgers printers in Hatton Gardens to see my first set of tests and what a lovely feeling to be back in a hand printers basement, seeing the spotting inks, the contact sheets and beautifully printed images pinned to the walls. It's been a while since I shot film and it was a true pleasure to get back my 120 negatives and that feeling, that anticipation is something that never fails to excite me, which is a good thing as I will be returning from Beijing with many films to develop.

Prepping continues and with my flight in less than 2 weeks time, much to organise and pack for, even a little surprise weather update with temperatures in the mid twenties, so lets hope for sunny skies and little smog! More to come soon...

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Ruin Lust

Sunday saw a great trip to the Tate Britain to meet a fellow exhibition friend from New York and take in the wonders of the new show, "Ruin Lust" as well as some well earned Gin and Tonics, just perfect to compliment the sunny, spring weather that shone in through the doomed ceilings bar. 

If you haven't yet seen or heard much about this exhibition, it is surely a shame, as this exhibit is very wondrous indeed. The sheer list of artists exhibiting is enough to turn anyones Sunday into an extravaganza of delight as the likes of over 100 works are shown. From J.M.W Turner, John Constable, John Martin, John Stezaker, Jane and Louise Wilson, Tacita Dean, Keith Arnatt and many others show their passion to this theme.

It was truly a fabulous show to see, that both thrilled, educated and inspired as every room you entered a new investigation into the terminology. From Pleasure, to Bunker to Ruins In Reverse, a real insight into how artists of past and current centuries find such inspiration in such destruction. 

One of the highlights for me, was the dedicated Tacita Dean room, beautifully showing her Photogravures of the series. "The Russian Endings" and the film "Kodak" that was filmed in the one of the Kodak factories in France, documenting the demise of a medium through its own manufacture. I can never quite have enough of Dean's work, there is such an honesty, a passion and delicacy to her vision, her manner of working, I find it so inspiring and powerful. I am always left wanting more, but always feel privileged and honoured to have been given sight to see what is in front of her eyes.  

A must see exhibition, here are more details here:

Thursday, 13 March 2014


As the days go by, the work continues and so many exciting stages are coming into play. As the edit is set, the printing commences in Beijing and many a test strip is being created, marking the process and commencing the finalisation of this wonderful collaboration. 

With 5,058.67 miles between us, my trip to Beijing can not come soon enough, the enlargements await my arrival and I with baited breath, and of course with the solutions that make this project what it is. This collaboration continues to exceed all expectations and ideas, offering us new gifts at every stage, I can not wait to the debut later this year, more to come soon...

Friday, 7 March 2014

500,000 Down To 75 Tests

So the time is marching on and I can't quite believe that it is March already and with so much more to come from these next few weeks, I can hardly await to see what is around each corner! And what better way to start this spring month than with the finalisation of the editing process, all 500,000 images looked through, edited down to a very small and concise edit of 75 photographs. 

From this wonderful edit, the creation starts, develops, with each image worked on and the resulting effects taking hold of the image in there wondrous, mystic and black magic ways. I continue to test the effects, looking for patterns and making observations on just how this solution controls the prints, the colours and the textures, but with every leap forward, a little tap on the shoulder remaining you of how organic processes control you! For me, this is what makes this project just so incredibly giving, it's a lesson in patience, in pausing and watching just how far the changes can go, before my nature takes control and I freeze the process.

Every step of the way, there are lessons learnt, taught and viewed with amazing, splendid results produced. It really does speak so much of Photography and in such a Post Photographic age, where we all watch, but do we really see and how much is lost.

Friday, 28 February 2014

La Bohème

Now, what better way than being whisked away on a surprise and end up seeing La Bohème at The Royal Albert Hall on the opening night! Well that is what happened yesterday evening and what an absolutely incredible surprise my dearest friend gave me, a pre-birthday present, and one to remember for ever.

I have for a long time wanted to see an Opera, knowing well that I would love every part of it and I was not disappointed for one second. Puccini's La Bohème is a truly stunning, deeply emotive tale of creativity, passion, love and loss and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying the story, it really was a stunning evening and a well earned reward. Thank you my dear Valentina.

Here is some more information and tickets here:  

Thursday, 27 February 2014

V&A Museum - National Art Library

I am very, very pleased and honoured to announce that both my publications, "The Photograph As Contemporary Art" and the Special Edition of "Miss Titus Becomes A Regular Army Mac" are now part of the V&A Museum Collection in the National Art Library!!!

"The National Art Library is a major public reference library for the fine and decorative arts, and is the V&A's curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book." 

See more information and access and opening times here:

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Deacon & Hoch A Welcomed Re-treat

In between the editing and the blurring vision, a must needed escape for inspiration and sanity! I decided to visit two exhibitions that I have been meaning to see for a while and took a leisurely trip out to Pimlico to see the new Richard Deacon show at the new and reinvented Tate Britain and then onto the Whitechapel to the see the must anticipated Hannah Hoch!

Both shows very different in there approaches and ideas were such a welcomed space, both mentally and visually between all the digital files I am searching through. The Richard Deacon exhibition was wonderfully calming, pensive, where forms twisted and turned in ways you nether new could or imagined. The tactical quality of materials which was astounding, as turned wood sculptures were set against hard, sharp, shining Aluminium, it really brought to the forefront of your mind how natural and human materials can interplay against one another. 

Deacon's drawings for me, his works on paper which I didn't know much about, I found truly magical. The use of lines, shapes, drawn in pencil and pastel felt so fluid, full of life and energy, these placed against the background of the large scale sculptures made for a stunning visual experience as you saw the transformation, that fluidity transcend into the pieces. How can wood bend, fold, roll in that way, it felt as if Deacon has drawn these with just a larger pencil! A must see show and in one of my favourite galleries in London, the Tate Britain in my opinion one of the most beautiful spaces in the city, not to be missed.

Now to the Whitechapel and to see probably one of the most influential artists of my practice, so the pressure to deliver was much anticipated, but I must say it certainly did deliver. From a very young age I have been so deeply inspired by the Dadaists, the use of Photomontage and Collage and through such prolific artist as Hoch, this exhibition truly touched me deeply on many levels. 

It was wonderful to see her progression, the transition between gouache paintings, hand drawings of the female form, through to very iconic, canonic photomontages. Intermixed with documents, books, magazines of which her illustrations were published and scrap books, "Albums"  she created, literally cutting and pasting. Hoch's appreciation and understanding of how Photography, how Society, both culturally, historically recreated a much needed platforms for interrogation is truly inspiring and powerful. Her role as a women within such a movement is firstly to be praised, but secondly understanding the context in which she worked, a German artist within a Nazi rein only provides additional evidence of her passion, her bravery and true craftsmanship that paved the way for contemporary artistic practice and for that I am truly, deeply and eternally grateful and inspired.

A  few little quotes from the exhibition, in Hannah's words, which I think are beautifully poetic and really resinated with me, 

" I would like to blur the firm borders that we human beings, cocksure as we are, are inclined to erect around everything that is accessible to us. [...] I want to show that small can be large, and large small, it is just the standpoint from which we judge that changes, and every concept loses its validity, and all our human gestures loses their validity. I also want to show that there are millions and millions of other justifiable points of view besides yours and mine. Today I would portray the world from an ant's-eye view and tomorrow, as the moon sees it, perhaps, and then as many other creatures may see it. I am a human being, but on the strength of my imagination-tied as it is- I can be a bridge. [...]"

" The peculiar characteristics of photography and its approaches have opened up a new and immensely fantastic field for a creative human being; a new, magical territory, for discovery of which freedom is the first prerequisite."

A must, must see exhibition!!!

Friday, 14 February 2014



A special selection today to celebrate St Valentines, so here are two great images from the Silvermine Archive, think they say it all, have a wonderful day!!!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

112,861 Images And Counting...

So, 112,861 images have been reviewed, selected and edited, now only another 300,000 or so to go! As this Archive is so vast, and my previous visit to Beijing was in fact a year ago, I think that it is so important to re look at each and every image to refresh, excite and inspire my mind. So with that in mind, every second is spent reviewing the imagery and new selections made. 

Above is just a sneaky peak of my smallish selection from the 2010 folder, of which only a very small percentage makes my strict editing process, so to date the long list stands at 531... very much  more to be continued!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Collaborative Testing In Full Swing

2014 is truly about pushing forward and I can honestly say that the past month has been the most busiest to date! Setting up a wealth of exciting projects, plans and preparations for the next 2 years and what an incredibly inspiring journey it is going to be! And what better way to start this momentous year than with the finalisation of my collaborative project - The Silvermine in China. 

So with that in mind, every second of every day is spent looking through the remaining imagery, over 300,000 left to view, edit and test on. The imagery that I am so lucky to be working with, provides much ample food for thought and above is a little example of one of tests that I have made, a truly beautiful example of how the colours and tonal graduation change and alter when put through the process I have carefully created. 

Many more images to come, and much more information to be divulged so keep watching as new posts appear, but Beijing was calling and I couldn't wait to cave in, so China awaits! Until the next stage...