Monday, 20 January 2014

sail away home

sail away home © caroline fraser 2014

Big box is packed and ready to go.

Assorted socks, scruffy winter clothes, wellington boots for beach photography and a tripod are about to wend their way across the world, hopefully followed by yours truly with her summer clothes and  smarter stuff for work.

Plumber is here again.

I am feeling impatient to get started on my big trip, and the only way that I can think of to pass the time ( for I am not going to start on the ironing) is to work on some old photos, having banned myself from taking any new ones until I start my travels.

Something new from something old.

new constructions by Paddy Hamilton

I was influenced by Paddy Hamilton's   winter show ( see above) in which he has re-fashioned his garden fences into something new after the recent storms on Dungeness. I love the geometry, and the optical illusions pertaining to boxes.

So I set to, with some old images of rusty metal and wider views at Dungeness.

navigational aid for fishermen

The image above is of a navigational aid for fishermen coming in to land on the beach at Dungeness. They aligned this T -shaped wooden structure with another diamond shaped one, and headed straight for home in the days before sat nav.

Fred Cuming RA has painted it many times, and in different lights.

You can see more of his work here

Still looking for something new, and clearly influenced by Fred's work I combined two images of the rusty containers.


And somehow made them look more like wood than metal.

And by the time I had finished the plumber had too, and relieved me of another couple of hundred pounds.

I think it is time to leave the country before anything else goes wrong.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Photography and a little bit of art at the London Art Fair

all is not what it seems

The 2014 London Art Fair photo tour.


I had an hour of browsing before embarking on the tour that I had pre-booked.

We were whisked around at high speed by the glamorous and enthusiastic Jean Wainwright for over an hour, in which I learnt so much that I had not appreciated about the works at first sight.

For photography now is not about straight images. I heard one gallery owner admit to Jean that 'she cannot sell un-manipulated images; people want something more'. Composites are particularly in vogue.

It is about reinterpretation and reworking of the work or others. Of manipulation and conceptualisation. About process as well as content. About using old techniques such as cyanotypes and manipulated celluloid.

The beautiful image above by Rory Carnegie, from his award winning series Port Meadow Dogs is more than just a single image. It is a composite of layers, combined with a studio portrait of the dog , then reinserted into the landscape.

And it is sublime to my eyes. Probably my favourite work seen on the day, even if it didn't qualify for 'the tour'.

We saw artwork reworked from oil painting to photograph, looking at surface and light.

an old oil painting photographed to emphasise the play of light on the canvas
Jorma Puranen 'Shadows and Reflections 83"   at Purdy Hicks Gallery

Jorma Puranen says of the series

'the series questions the relationship between the portrait, the portrayed, and the photograph of the portrait, and the way in which the employed mediums influence our perception of them as an 'image'.

See more examples here

And at  Sarah Myerscough are photographic portraits created in the style of old masters by Maisie Broadhead.

Framed like a painting. Lit like a Dutch master. But a photograph; unadulterated yet clearly set up rather than a snatched image.

Santeri Tuori 'Forest no 3' 

Treetops in both colour and monochrome superimposed.

Alice Mara ceramics

Digital images superimposed onto porcelain by Alice Mara

life sized replication of a real interior of a home

Digital images recreating an entire wall of a home at the original size

Edward Burtynsky 'Shipbreaking 23'

Burtynsky reworked the field proof polaroids that he used when preparing to make images of a ship breaking yard in Chittagong. These had become damaged over time, and by printing these up he replicates the theme of damage and destruction from the original scenes in the damaged celluloid.

Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry

Throw some books in the air and photograph them against the sky........... the series entitled "All that is solid melts into air"

I am not entirely sure what the message is here...... I must have stopped concentrating for a moment on the  tour; probably needing a cup of tea.

Also airborn were these beautiful composites of derelict houses, lifted into in the air and suspending belief, by Laurent Chehere from her series 'Flying Houses'.

I came away with renewed enthusiasm and a determination to get creating. I have barely scratched the surface here with the wide variety of works on offer.

 The art fair is about primarily about paintings, with a substantial number of sculptures thrown in too.

Here are a few that I enjoyed........

'Verge painting 3' by Andrew Mackenzie

triptych by John Caple

Wood Structure by William Gear 1955

It is on for 3 more days; get ye down there. For a photograph will never do the work justice.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

men in the house again and cardboard boxes on the excess luggage conveyor belt

a not entirely healthy pump
It has been a day of being patient, and trying to be philosophical about the inevitability of decay in the home.

Yesterday I stayed in for the central heating man. He, sadly, was ill, so I stayed in for him again today.

He arrived late morning to replace the pump on the central heating which has a slow leak. And to service the boiler, which has been neglected for a year or two.

By the time he had finished he had

  • relieved me of £700
  • informed me that the pump for the shower is leaking and therefore he sensibly disconnected it, putting the bathroom completely out of action for the foreseeable future. 
  • informed me that the boiler is likely to die very soon as it is rusty and leaky
 He will have to return and I will have to stay in again and pay him more money.

Meanwhile OH felt that it would be nice if I got the dodgy light switch in the kitchen repaired while I was waiting in for the gas man. Who was I to argue. I rang the electrician, and he agreed to come later in the day.

So I waited in for him this afternoon, and he informed me that the long departed builders had destroyed the fitting for the light and done a bodge with a matchstick, and that he might be able to fix it..........

Three hours later he decided that he couldn't fix it, so he went off to buy a new switch and came back to replace it. He finished at 6 pm.

So that was my day. Gone.

How did I fill my time you might ask?

I would like to say that I found something really useful to do. Well 'useful ' now comes in grades and on a  scale of 1 to 10 I think I was managing about a 2 today.

I started researching the sending of my excess baggage to new Zealand.  I may be short on fashion items and handbags to accompany me on my travels, but I do have a few things that I can't fit in my one small suitcase, such as a tripod, some hiking gear and a rucksack that I wish to send ahead rather than pay $1000 to my airline as excess baggage fees.

For around £200 I can get a parcel sent door to door with worldwide parcels

But they would like it wrapped in a proper cardboard box. This is because the baggage handlers like to throw things around and they won't guarantee safe arrival otherwise.

As you can see, cardboard boxes are quite expensive if you only wish to purchase one that fits a regular holdall. The 'custom quote' that you see above was for £99 for just one box. A cardboard box.

I continued my search and eventually found one for £8 on ebay.

Frugality rules. I have a new pump to pay for.

Hopefully the man loading it onto the plane will find it too large to toss in the air like the Chinese baggage handler currently trending on U-tube who doesn't seem to care that all his cargo is falling onto the tarmac rather than the luggage belt......... 

Watch out for your box; the baggage man is handling it

Luckily I am not sending out anything made of glass.

My camera lenses will all be loaded onto my back and taken as hand luggage in my lovely new camera bag from think tank photo suppliers.

My only worry is that it will be too heavy to carry.

Friday, 10 January 2014

in praise of hazard warning tape

Hazard warning tape outside a Chislehurst church

Some people just can't resist going a little over the top.

The men in the woods are a little more restrained.

One of my compulsions of a photographic nature.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

welcome to 2014 and a new year's resolution

the morning after the night before

A quiet day after a late night with good friends.

Technology is getting the better of me.

I wanted to try Instagram on my phone, but my phone says it is too old to manage something as on trend as that.

So now, in order to try it, I have become one of those people that take pictures with their ipad; not something I have ever aspired to, but I couldn't resist a little experiment.

My first picture was of my keyboard, mainly as I was too lazy to move from my chair.

dirty qwerty

My keyboard isn't really quite as dirty as this; I have grunged it up a bit in Instagram, as I needed to know what a clean keyboard looks like when Instagrammed, and this was the result.

Most of you probably already know this. I am a 'late adopter' in this particular case.

My new year's resolution might be to have a cleaner qwerty. Or it might be to avoid using Instagram.

Apparently Facebook is dead, and young people are turning to Instagram for their interpersonal non vocal communication. So I should at least know how it works.

and who needs a camera these days anyway?

ipad photography

more ipad photography

Who knows what 2014 will bring?

I hope that it brings you health and happiness.

You can keep up with my ipad Instagram exploits here

Apparently I have two followers, and I have only taken two pictures so far............