Friday, January 22, 2010

camera first fruits

My Camera has arrived

I don't pretend to be interested in photography. I love it, I love seeing the pictures my clever husband takes, and photos from digital whizz kids like vic, , my lovely cousin laura, and rachel callander:

I'll never forget the first time a set of photos had an emotional impact on me. Photos someone had taken which captured emotion, sensation, passion. I was there, present and immersed. I almost cried. the thousand words.

Somehow apertures and iso don't stick in my brain, though they have been explained, and I'm not really interested in learning them, they seem to mix maths too much with art for me - or maybe it's just laziness on my part? Maybe it becomes less laboured and technical as you learn it and then it becomes intuitive, not breaking your flow of thinking, just like mixing colour becomes instinctive if you paint.

three things strike me:

1. How accessible photography has become, and how the level of amateur photography now days is incredible. How much harder it is to take stand out photographs.

2. How quite often the size of your camera seems to represent, well, prowess. if you know what I mean. I do get quite turned off by oohing and aahing over the latest mega-lense and technological advancement of desire. I admire the modest camera on which Malcolm has taken many of his beautiful images. The skills of composition/ subject choice and using your camera to the limits of its possibilities come to the fore. There's a satisfying subversion in this paradigm for me, like painting something great from housepaint on the side of a cardboard box. But then again, at a certain point, your tools do limit your possibilities. Pushing those boundaries of tools versus skill. maybe that's what being an artist is partly about.

3. How the image is prevalent. It's the age of images. full-colour full-page glossy saturated airbrushed images. sexualised images, exoticised images,cookbooks with luscious pictures. I found out only recently that there's photographers entirely specialising in taking pictures of food, which makes sense, but wow! I know a woman who worked in design.She kept her bedroom deliberately free of all ornaments, images and clutter. She had white walls and a white bedspread and not much else, because her working world was so full of images. It's always stuck with me, as i have a tendency to the opposite, to surround myself with images of my choosing. I can't help but wonder what constant image immersion does to us psychologically. On one hand, an image can act like a verbal shorthand, symbolising in brief a concept or stereotype, causing us to disengage our thinking. On the other hand, images can be deliberately ambiguous, mysterious and complex. engaging with an image can be a stimulus for the imagination. Maybe it's both, depending on the image. Maybe that's why i like Banksy's work so much, in my mind, he deals in image subversion, causing us to re-engage.

one of my favourite proverbs, in classic stark proverb style says:

"Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
and neither are the eyes of man." (proverbs 27:20)

kind of random but I often think about this proverb.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Years Resolutions

1. blog more

apparently, however, things like new years resolutions work best when you set measurable, concrete and realistic goals - so blog more becomes

1. update blog monthly

nice. I love new years resolutions. absolutely love them. the turning of the year is such a brilliant marker of life, - a time to look back and a time to look forward. I love the contemplative space this puts me into. a new year is a good time to get rid of bad habits and continue with good ones. I am broke, unemployed, and my toes are freezing, but I'm so optimistic for the year ahead, and what it might bring.

so - concrete resolutions include:

2. half hours poi practice weekly (min) this is just so good for my back and brain and I have both fire and glow poi that I just don't use often enough. I also have some felted wool balls that could be made into great practice poi

3. joining the oxford gospel choir (just to see how it goes) and, when i have kids, i want to be able to sing them songs, like my dad did when i was a kid. what great memories. I want my kids lives to be full of music (one day, of course)

4. continuing with my half hour run 3-4 times weekly. I've kept this up since august, with the exception of one or two weeks when I've been sick, and i love it (so hard on these cold mornings though - minus 5 today!) I just need to find a running buddy to help motivate me... it is good for my mind in the dark winter days, gets me out and keeps me from becoming too round.

That's more than enough resolutions. keeping it realistic.

I have some less concrete streams of thought that I'd like to engage with in the year ahead.

There are a million crafty projects bouncing around my head. mostly involving wool. some involving paint. I talked to a bunch of girls at church who are also keen to set aside some time to collectively craft (the lovely Lucy in london does this, and I think it's a great idea) planned creative community time - Awesome! I have just found a friend who knits, which is most exciting, and maybe, much much later in the year when i have a job and money and routine and useful things like that i might do a printmaking course or a pottery course. new mediums are so exciting. my google reader feeds me this site full of inspiration. I also have two tattoo designs on the go for friends...

I'm liking the new skills of bike riding, my gorgeous vintage bike forces me to work hard pedaling twice as fast as malcolm's big bike, but it's so great and so cute. I love it. I am naturally a scaredy cat, it seems, so trying new things is good for me, forces me to be brave.

Of course, my counseling course continues, so I'm hoping for part time work to give me some time to do my study. I am also dead keen on reading a lot of the literature about happiness - and as it turns out, my psychologist friend's area of expertise is happiness. It's odd to think of happiness being something you can study, but as she put it 'the study of happiness is a science'. Having been deeply unhappy at times in my life, and still struggling occasionally with bouts of black dog disease, i am interested, on many levels, in happiness. Not as a goal, or an aim, but I am curious to see what's been written, what people think, what studies have shown, and how this applies to A) me. B) counseling C) Faith in Jesus. hmmmm watch this space. i shall post more about happiness in the future.

There's a brilliant stack of recipe books belonging to our new housemates in the kitchen. I want to use them, and our new (christmas present) hugh fernly whittingstal (I think) river cottage cookbook. I do like food.

We've joined 'love film' and get posted out 2 dvd's monthly, from a list we've made up of the films we want to see. there's a great line of of obsure, old, weird and wonderful films. another thing to look forward too.

finally, up there among the great and wonderful christmas presents we got this year: zami, the new houseplant. I saw my friend Riia's plant in finland, and wanted it sooo bad. they look plastic, like something out of wallace and gromit. they look like they would grow in a desert or a jungle. you can break bits off and stick them in the ground and they grow into mini zamioculas's. yes, we are now the proud owners of Zamioculus Zamiifolia.

my airpoints camera is on its way over the sea to me. Once that arrives I'll get photographical, and put some pictures on blog, on facebook etc. i've been lacking in images for almost a year now. looking forward to having photos again.

blog again soon. in the next month even. Happy new year.

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