these days

Before I made pictures, I made things out of words for a while. Around 1994, I reached a point where I realised I was making words about silence. Then it was time to stop doing that, and to do something else. It took some years to find that making pictures …


Back when we were doing our social media thing in Tokyo, Caroline introduced me to her friend Ben Russell, who ran a rather excellent site/publication (this was pre-blog) called Headmap, devoted to locative tech and its phenomenology. Lovely stuff. I only met Ben once, when we spent a day walking …


Rather touched to have some of my photos included in the current issue of Liminalis — the Berlin-based “journal for gender emancipation and resistance”. Nice people, important work. And thanks for Rodrigo at WLTF for the introduction.

The Flower of Stillness

A fragmentary translation of Zeami [世阿弥 元清]’s The Nine Stages of the Noh in Order served as both inspiration and creative headfuck for me during my time in Tokyo. As an outsider to the performance tradition in which it’s founded, The Nine Stages is opaque, yet provocative: the image of the Flower of Stillness — snow piling in a silver bowl — abides with me, and in my work. The Nine Stages of the Noh in Order Higher stages Flower of the miraculous – transcends power of speech and working of mind due to the yugen of a master actor. …

Stuck/Black Ice

At Anne-Fay’s, in swine flu quarantine limbo. So no shots of Nando’s performance at EYHO last night, which saddens me. Instead, been catching up on mailing-list reading and thinking about images, in halt compensation for inability to go out and make them. More on that later, but first a note to self, bookmarking a short thread on the Empyre list’s discursions around Relational Aesthetics this month. Reminded me I’ve never read Barthe’s Camera Lucida, so have a 2nd-hand copy on its way from Amazon… of which, I would be very interested to read James Elkin’s “Camera Dolorosa” in History of …

Disappearing Witness

Recently read Gretchen Garner’s Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography. Decent if selective history of the mainstream movements in American photography in the twentieth century. Nothing revelatory, but all the major names present and correct. Her focus is on the transition of the art from one of ‘spontaneous witness’, to late-twentieth century postmodernism. Would have been more interesting (to me), if she’d also dug a bit deeper to explore the corners of photography where ‘spontaneous’ witness is still alive and well, if transformed — war photography, perhaps, and of course ‘street’ work.


Don’t look at it — just glance! Sometimes in a mere glance one can see more than in the close scrutiny of a thousand details. Bridget Riley

The Object Stares Back

Vision runs back and forth from objects to eyes, and whatever is seen also sees… seeing is self-definition. Objects look back, and their incoming gaze tells me what I am. James Elkins — from The Object Stares Back. Elkins’ books, especially (for me) The Object Stares Back, are fascinating phenomenological pickings-apart of the familiar — art history, perception, representation — into shards of pure revelation. Essential reading.

Before The First Thought

I’m bored by posed nightlife photos. Club kids are ready to freeze for the camera at a split-second’s notice, and photographers seem generally happy with that. The result? A tradition of static, posed ‘street fashion’ shots. All well and good, but I’m much more interested in the unposed shot, taken before the reflex to ‘do the look’ kicks in. I want to catch the moment when our gaze first crosses, to snare that fleeting instant-between-people, before our relationship has been resolved as being between ‘photographer’ and ‘subject’, with the consequent spiral down into stereotypical role-play and performance that dynamic entails. …