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Sunday, 3 March 2013

An Image of You

I have always been intrigued by portraits of people, because, while almost anyone could for example, take a picture of a person an capture a great portrait, the artist achieves this by consciously applying his or her skill, which grants them the ability or gift even, of seeing the essence of the person and capture this in an image to tell us something about them. It is this three way dialogue between the sitter, the artist and the viewer which I find intriguingly complex and interesting.

Hence while portraits have been around since creativity itself, which first appears arguably in cave art.  When the pre-historic men and women depicted the world around them inside their living quarters, these can be said to be portraits of their lives, early representations of who these people were. As the notion of the self begins to develop, we seem to become increasingly interested in images of ourselves. Much later, during the Renaissance we see Italian and Dutch portraiture really picks up as genre, the stakes of portraiture were raised and primarily reserved for social elites, this were now images made to denote power and social stance.

Today while portraits of powerful and "important" members of society are still increasingly more likely to enter our most prestigious institutions and hang there for many years,  more "common" members of society have also had their chance to be celebrated trough the artistic vision of painters and photographers, who deem these ch characters recognition.

Below I gathered a small collection of my three favourite photographers, Don McCullin, Steve McCurry and John Keny, these portraits work through signifiers to give us a short biography about the person that we looking at. These works allow us to recognize culture traits and emotions about the characters we are seeing. I can think of a few things which are so profoundly moving.
Steve McCurry "Pul i Khumri, Afghanistan"

Portraits from Africa by John Kenny

By Steve McCurry

Don McCullin "Shell Shocked Soldier"

Portraits from Africa by John Kenny

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Writting to make sense of the world.

I have just taken the bedsheets off and I am making my way to kitchen when I hear the door. This morning two Jahova Witnesses knocked. One bought forward towards me a leaflet, the kind that I have seen before. I saw in it the same prints they always carry - the sky and his finger over the face of the subject in the picture which saved me seeing another believers depiction. The scepticism in my face as the leaflet got close to me, was hard to hide, it gives me away everytime. I would not move a muscle which would imply I was going to take any interest in that paper. I much more felt sorry for the tree that had to die to have that printed on it.  So he said  -I can see you are looking at this and are not pleased. - No, I replied, I am an Atheist. And I started at him, while glancing casually at the woman that accompanied him, intrigued whether she really belives the bullshit she was preaching. - I see, he replied and cautiously put away his leaflet, which almost went up in flames with my stare. An - Atheist he repeated. Then he paused and I, innocently hoped he would have something profound to say, but what came out of his mouth next gave me great pleasure. I smiled secretly. - Have you always been an Atheist? - No, I said, when i was little i believed in Jesus alongside fairies. Then, I grew up and stepped into the real world. Where I saw people thanking God for their luck and I compared that with every child dieing of hunger, I found YOUR IDEA OF GOD the stupidest fiction story ever inveted.
Failing to build coherence through argument, he replied. Right, do you know that the Bible accepts science. So I reply. - Science pre-dates the Bible thinking about the the great works of Darwin who stood up for us all in the name of truth. Then, he proceeds to tell me that all is cause and effect and that that is the base for any scientific belief. I have already in my mind refused to engage any longer in conversation with this lunatic. I smile and feel sorry that he is out in the cold carrying this fictive mission in his shoulders for no cause at all. At this point, i say what would bring an end to our meeting and say - I believe in God. But my God is my heart and here in my home we call it LOVE, it lives in yours, in everyones. The love that i have for my family, I draw attention to my dirty bedsheets and say - doing the laundry, making lunch this Sunday being here where it really matters is how my LOVE manifests itself. My God is here with me is a part of me. He does not want to worshipped, or would never want me to be away from home today, this Sunday morning knocking on doors trying to convert people. He looks at me and says - I see - I understand and offers to shut my own front door. I hope he learnt something. I hope he looks at the wedding ring on his finger and says, maybe I should be out with my wife today and stop being ridiculous.

I believe in humanity.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Fall of the Rebellious Angels

The Fall of the Rebellious Angels[1] (1554) Frans Floris (1517–1570)

On entering the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp I was struck by this (see above) painting, its energy is truly captivating and also quite frightening, I knew this work would be a challenge. Contemplating it appeared as if the battle was unfolding before me.

Frans has demonstrates a strong 15C Renaissance influence and he would have been familiar with Michael Angelos work in the 16th Chapel as the bodies in this work bear some resemblance to Michael Angelos nudes, but his treatment of this subject offers us a captivating narrative.

Floris has created a cycle, our eye travels across and around the canvas guided by the events that are taking in the battle, we see the moment of fight but also what is about to happen. You can make your way across the painting many times each focusing on new details and becoming more involved within the story with new revelations with in the image, it is full of details, expressions and movement.

What captivated me was the appearance of the subjects and how "good" and "rebel" angels how they are engaged in a rather ferocious fight, yet the good angels appear to be fighting gracefully and wining as they crush the rebels almost effortlessly. I am impressed by the contours of the bodies and how they are entangled, the treatment of the work seems to be successfully life like, this painting has been executed with great skill appearing to mesmerise with all the action which it encompasses.

If you allow your eye to wonder the battle seems to gain life and there is an illusion of movement with in the painting, this to me represents the work of a great master. I hope that you will enjoy it too. My favorite point of reference is the angel of the left corner which has lifted his sword to cut the dragons tail, through out this painting is full of moments of furor which are imminent, engaging us in expectation and excitement.

More works by Floris can be found here:

Saturday, 17 March 2012

An Al Dente Experience.

Dear Blog,
"you could be happy or you could be right" could this be the best advice to cooking pasta? -  This is my story of how today I waited 20mins for freshly (in front of you) made and cut pasta at the food market.
It sounded as if - when you put the pasta in boiling water, the pasta then sinks, after some moments it raises to the top and then it’s ready to mix in your sauce/s in the pan, you then let cook for some seconds and serve it.
As the water would not boil, every time the cook put the pasta in the sauce pan, we saw it turn back to dough! I was cold and standing next to water, I didn’t feel much heat either. He offered me it free at one point - I was keen to eat it as it started drizzling rain.
I gave him a 3rd chance, he admitted he was embarrassed, I told him – “don’t worry about getting it wrong” he replied “it’s kind of my job to get it right” I agreed in silence.
So again he made the pasta and this time it worked! – It was fabulously tasty with three chesses and spicy tomato sauce.
Now the cook was right and we both were happy. Which means before you can be happy you have to be right – but in any case you can be both happy and right.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Self Portrait with Death, by Arnold Bocklin

A Happy Poem

I would write about being alone,

About, finding yourself and or falling apart.

Making mistakes and starting again.

At some point, I stopped.


I sat at my desk

And I very seriously thought -

Where is my pain?

I must need to write it?

Put it on paper

Read it.


I realised....

I sat, and I thought and then

I saw that, I am no longer alone.

There was nothing to write,

No feelings came.

No one is there.

Alone is not there.


Friday, 2 March 2012

clockwork for dummies

tick tock                        

                                            she IS 

a) FREE                             

     not until THE END

                                                                              LOOSE       her     HEAD   IMPLODES IN THE DARKNESS