September 12, 2012

Travelogue - vertical

Photographs of tall things. Portrait orientated but no portraits. I turn the camera around every once in a while to break up the landscape monotony.

September 9, 2012


The most grandiose hairdresser I've ever seen. Stockholm

Travelogue - horizontal

A collection of horizontally orientated photographs taken from my 2nd hand 60kr Konica camera. Having this camera is one of the best things, and I am happy to eschew a little bit of technology for something which forces me to be more restrained, selective and patient when documenting. It also gives me a chance to actually enjoy physically inhabiting a space, to have a chance to actually see things without another lens in front of my eyes.
My ability to 'point-and-shoot' is also improving I believe, if that is actually possible.

Horizontal images of Malmö, Frederiksborg, Stockholm, plus Claire.

And coming soon: Travelogue - the second installment. Vertical.

I was here

Coming from New Zealand it is not often one gets to see buildings that are so grand, majestic, overwhelming, and frankly, just old. Frederiksborg Slot as it stands now was constructed between 1602-1620, though some parts date back to the original structure from 1560. This notion is rather dumbfounding to me, realising I have wandered through the same spaces as people from 400 years ago.  Every tourist cliché emerges from the woodwork and nestles in my terribly formulaic expressions as I take it all in.
The place is a visual overload - a slight dizziness comes on from turning around in wonder while staring up at the impossibly lavish ceilings, weighed down with ornately carved decorations.
In the end, the place just seemed too improbable, too removed from my reality to full comprehend it's history. It was not until I noticed the few scratches on the window pane, which I endeavoured to photograph above, that I could fully appreciate just how 'old' this place was. (the more I write here the deeper the hole I am apparently digging for myself is getting. It must be impossible to write about this sort of thing with any sort of sincerity without sounding like a bit of an ignorant ning-nong.)
Above a couple of names and a date have been scratched into the glass, a way for other tourists to leave their marks in history, and in a time where it was easier to get away with such vandalism. This was etched on in 1930, and it was quite glorious to think of others marvelling over this fantastically ridiculous building, and creating some sort of perspective for someone visiting 82 years after them.

I was reminded of Highwic, one of Auckland's historic houses open to visit. On one of the windows in a servant's room, the name 'Florence' is etched into the glass. The story goes that Florence was a housemaid who stole her mistress's diamond ring, and used it the scratch her own name into the window pane in her room.

September 7, 2012

You I'll Be Following

On my final day in Stockholm, Claire and I went to Moderna Museet, to primarily see the the Yoko Ono exhibition Grapefruit, a collection of films, sculptures and text-based works all stemming from her 1964 self-published book of the same name. Grapefruit contained a collection of 'instructional pieces' describing actions to either be completed in a tangible form, or to exist solely in the imagination. Numerous film works of Ono's are visual interpretations of these instructions.  

Film No. 5 (Rape, or Chase) Rape with camera. 

One and a half hours, colour, synchronized sound. 
A cameraman will chase a girl on a street with a camera persistently until he corners her in an alley, and, if possible, until she is in a falling position. 
The cameraman will be taking a risk of offending the girl as the girl is somebody he picks up arbitrarily on the street, but there is a way to get around this.
 Depending on the budget, the chase should be made with girls of different age, etc. 
May chase boys and men as well. 
As the film progresses, and as it goes towards the end, the chase and the running should become slower and slower like in a dream, using a high-speed camera. 

Rape was the most intriguing film, made with John Lennon in London in 1969. While watching I could feel the twist in my stomach and a tension in my chest related to the precarious, downward-spiralling situation of 'the woman' (Eva Majlata, a 21 year old Hungarian actress who couldn't speak English) as a couple of men relentlessly pursued her through London - on foot, by taxi, even into an apartment. It readily captures and (due to the year it was made, clothes, make-up and therefore perhaps a detachment from one's present reality) inadvertently glamourizes the thrill of the chase, and the perverse nature of what is actually happening. 

The decadence in the style and aesthetic of the late sixties, are so embodied in this film I feel it has become a sort of time capsule. And what once was intended to have a more gritty, documentary presence about it, now is more fictionalized, just another glimpse of 'The Swingin' Sixties', no part of our present reality. The longer you watch the film, the more engrossed you become, but at the same time, the sense you, as the viewer is being taken for a ride, strengthens. It's all a set-up, just like every other film, and all other 'reality tv' - the woman was in on it all along. I guess it give us comfort to think like that, as to accept that she was involuntarily hounded makes it more difficult to watch - especially from today's viewpoint.

Rape succeeds because it interacts with the audience on many levels, as many Ono films do. It can be a heavy-handed social commentary, as John says - "We are showing how all of us are exposed and under pressure in our contemporary world. This isn't just about the Beatles. What is happening to this girl on the screen is happening in Biafra, Vietnam, everywhere." - or just a standard chase scene, albeit a rather subversive one.

In fact while I was immersed in this film I couldn't help but notice a young two year-old girl in front of the monitor next to mine fascinated by Ono's Film No.4 (Bottoms) - (the title tells you all you need to know really), and having a great time, much to her brash American mother's horror/ my amusement.

After wandering around a city for three days, it was quite nice to site down and follow someone else.

September 1, 2012

Tops of Things

Looking upwards - images of the tops of things from two trips I have taken this year - Palm tree and spires in Parc Guell, Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudí, and two towers of Frederiksborg Slot, Denmark.