Archive for December, 2009
The thing I like about Christmas is that I get hardly any emails from work; normally when I am on holiday, nobody else is – like in the summer we take holidays one after the other so that there is always someone around to deal with ‘stuff’. So the place keeps going and the emails keep coming. It is the down side of going on holiday – you choose whether to keep looking in your inbox while away, or whether to come back to a deluge. But at Christmas we all take a break and it is such bliss knowing that my inbox is not getting crammed full of demands, whines, instructions, requests etc etc. I am less afraid of my computer at Christmas and so in that case feel more relaxed about going online .. knowing I can come along and play on Flickr and do blogging, facebook and Twitter (etc), with no pressure from elsewhere.
Doesn’t sound like me?? Much as I wax lyrical about the wonderfulness of technology, (and you can barely tear me away most of the time), it does mean that my work can get at me 24/7; even when on a weekend away or a holiday, I will always look at work email as it is always just a window away or sharing the mailbox with all the other messages needed to run my life. It’s a click that takes you into work … and a click that can get you so totally stressed out very quickly. This merging of the public/private and home/work identities can be a ball … but it is sometimes SUCH a tyranny. (And I know you all know EXACTLY where I am coming from here).
So yes, I have been having some time to play with my camera, take photos for fun and mess around in photoshop. So I have been into town and taken in an exhibition .. ‘Can Art Save us?’ Seriously it was incoherent and just yet another excuse for Sheffield Museums to drag out the old Ruskin stuff again. It dominated the exhibition and I have got bored of reading about his philosophy of art and education. (There was a Tom Hunter portrait but I have seen it before and it was one of about three pieces I liked). Don’t go – save your self the £4.00. (Better to go to Graves Gallery nearby as we did yesterday and see the Mapplethorpe show and The Comedians).
Checked out the street art (by Phlegm) I had seen on Clydehouses’ Flickr stream the other day; and took a few shots myself:
I also loved today this website which hosts ‘one sentence stories’. Made me think you could play with that idea on Twitter.
Don’t you just love new toys?? I got a polaroid Pogo from Amazon – ordered yesterday and received it today. It is just so cool – and only 23.00 squid. Marvellous. I always loved polaroid cameras and this is probably the next best thing … maybe even better as you can choose which photos to keep as digital and which to print. As before, the papers you use have to special ones impregnated with chemicals. This means that you need use no ink cartridges. It takes just 15 mins to charge up and then it’s portable. Obviously I love gadgets and this is no exception although I cannot actually think why I will want to print off 3 x 2 inch paper copies of my shots, but I am sure that in time I will think of a thousand uses (or one would be good). Dunno how I missed these when they first came out … but I am glad I did as they were £100.00 when they were first out last December. So I have obviously saved myself LOADSAMONEY. This is mine:
And this is it in action:
Seriously you should get one. (NB It does not come with the music. You have to supply this yourself- mine is Feist).
Getting to the end of the year, so I guess I am like most people and am looking back on the last one and thinking ahead to the new.
Last year was a funny old year; my first book out (authored with Guy); launched the Centre for the Study of New Literacies (with Kate); Got funding from ESRC for this series; put in a bid for FP7 funding. Momentously Rosa started getting out a bit more and even went to Devon on the train. Could not believe it. Here she is picking plums in Dorset (on one of the best holidays we have ever had):
TT and I had a great time in Paris too, at the start of this month. Went on the Eurostar and that was a first:
So much going on and it all seems more poignant having had surgery and treatment for breast cancer too. I like to think that I can show people that it is not too bad a thing to happen and you just have to get on with stuff and look ahead. And of course all my friends, family and colleagues have been wonderful. (I just thought I would mention it.)
Good to be in Paris again after a few years of not visiting. We really notice how the city has a nostalgic feel about it, somehow not feeling as busy as London (for example) and certainly not as covered in adverts etc etc. We have also noticed there is not as much traffic as in London – although the level of crap car-parking on the kerbs and over zebra crossings is as bad as it ever was in the city – and the authorities seem to be encouraging cycling. Ranks of bikes are easily seen across the metropolis and you can simply swipe your credit card and hire the bikes by the hour. Very cool, I think. (Although of course it keeps out those without bank accounts). Here’s a picture in sepia – just to give you a spot of olde worlde atmosphere.
I’ve been thinking ahead to my teaching next week – for the MA Educational Research – on Image based Research. So I have been enjoying the photography exhibitions. Loved it at The Polka Gallerie and saw some lovely portraits from Francoise Huguier like this one:
A life saver for us also, was our visit to The European Photography Gallery. It was completely pouring with rain (I took photos and will show later) and so we were pleased to dive in and see an exhibition which surpassed expectations. We saw the work of Delpire:
‘This exhibition looks back at Robert Delpire’s career and gives him an opportunity to thank the various people who have accompanied him in ‘this exciting adventure as a book publisher, advertising art director, exhibition curator and film producer’.
and it was interesting to see how much modern photography is influenced by the work of advertising – like Delpire’s stuff (with Sarah Moon and Henri Cartier Bresson) – for Citroen & Cacharel – which is all about selling a certain lifestyle and image. This was early work which thought about identity and consumption, presenting a lifestyle to identify with & buy into.
Other stuff of interest included images by Robert Frank – Les Americains – as they say over here. His work was controversial at the time of publishing the collection, since his social commentary style was less than complimentary about aspects of American Life – his depiction of institutional racism for example, as shown in this image of passengers on a trolley-bus in 1955 New Orleans:
Frank is often described as a journalistic photographer … presumably with an intention to show and report aspects of the political and social world in order to make people more aware. This is different of course to holiday snaps, to advertising images, to story book pictures … and probably also different to the intention of photographers who use images as part of their research data. I wonder – are the photographs only different because of their intention – or can we use the same photos for many purposes`/ Do we make different kinds of image when we have different purposes or audiences in mind?
Also saw some work on children’s book images – and we watched a French video of ‘Where the Wild Things are’ – and in French ‘Max et les MaxiMonstres’ (!!)
That’s it though … apart from to confess that we have had to come to MacDonald’s in order to use the free Wifi (pronounced WeeFee) as our hotel doers not supply it. Tant Pis.