Exhibition - April 2018
The Gallery, The Island, Bristol
Images by others.
Time & Tide
A friend of mine mentioned he was giving a presentation of the science and statistics to a group in Weston-Super-Mare. I said coincidentally that I had been thinking of taking some photographs of the sea front at Weston-Super-Mare and manipulating them to show the effect of a three to four metre increase in sea level., He asked me if I could do do this in time for his presentation in about a weeks time and I said I would depending on the weather and tide times.
These are the images I came up with:-
I then decided to make a video from these photographs. I ended up making Time & Tide which run for four minutes. This has been shown on Bluescreen at the Cube Bristol and is being used by Earth-Strike. The short version was used at the presentation but is also suitable as a loop.
Masquerade - April 2018
i visited Nepal in 2017 expecting to photograph some landscapes a few elephants and monkeys but nothing much more interesting to one who is not a wildlife photographer. I was most surprised, arriving in Kathmandu, to see many people wearing pollution masks of one kind or another. I had the impression that Nepal is a country of mountains, jungles and clean fresh air. However, I was advised by his guide that due to the poor quality of the roads there is a great deal of dust in the air, partly as a result of the recent earthquake.
Traffic is very slow moving. It can take 12 hours to travel 120 kilometres in a nose to tail crawl. Many of the vehicles are old diesel-powered trucks and lorries which spew noxious fumes in their wake. The situation in Kathmandu is even worse, with traffic often at a complete standstill which can be advantageous when trying to take photographs from the back seat of a bus which most of the images presented here were.
With carbon dioxide levels worldwide set to rise even further together with nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide it is incumbent upon governments to do all they can to protect their people and for people to cooperate with government initiatives and to protect themselves. The prevailing winds blow from India and Pakistan and this carries seriously polluted air to Nepal so there is little that the Nepalese can do to improve their situation, and this is the situation worldwide. We all share the same air and we cannot rely on our neighbouring countries to do the right thing.
We need international cooperation to accomplish environmental improvements, but this seems unlikely with global warming deniers being supported by the likes of President Trump.
Is there a real determination to grips with our environmental problems or are the political mutterings just a masquerade?
In fifty year’s time if someone should wonder at these images, I hope it is to ask why people should wear these masks and not because everyone has to wear them.
Bet Your Life - April 2018
From pollution of the physical environment I moved on to pollution of the psychological environment.
We are inundated with adverts telling us to have fun by gambling online. As a response to this and because the lives of my mother, her brother and my grandmother were seriously blighted by my grandfather’s gambling, I have undertaken this work.
My grandfather’s routine on a Friday night were pick up his wages, go to the pub, pay something to the bookie’s runner and go home broke. In their entire lives, my mother and uncle never got so much as a birthday or Christmas card from my grandfather and all my grandmother got was a wedding ring and two babies.
Despite this, whenever my mother and uncle got together in a family celebration such as Christmas, part of that celebration would always be card games but for pennies not pounds.
Whilst compiling this record I visited Rainbow Casino who have a responsible gambling policy and there is no implication of encouragement of gambling other than for entertainment. Rainbow Casino made their tables available for a photoshoot and I would like to thank them for this. I also visited Bet Fred who seemed very concerned about photographing their fixed betting terminals. A gaming machine parlour who didn’t seem at all bothered about photography. Bath Race Course who also didn’t seem bothered about photography. Swindon Dog Track refused access with a camera on the basis that people take photographs of bad things happening and then use the photographs against them. However, having locked the camera in the car I was told he could take photographs with his phone and fortunately nothing bad happened.
Gambling can be just an entertainment but like so many other things behind the fun is excess, ruin and the destruction of lives.
Mindless - An Exercise in Phychlogical Landscapes - January 2018
I started writing the script for this but it's difficult to say whether the script or the ideas came first but I think once into the creative process, ideas fed the script which fed further ideas. Where do things begin came from thinking from how do things begin and particularly how this particular project was going to begin. At the same time thinking about how beginnings are so less distinct than endings. From that came the idea about Louise XVI and how that could all be used as the introduction.
I had taken the self portraits with my brain taking off and my head bandaged up last year and felt they would fit nicely into the narrative I started to get this idea about the mind being a separate part of ones self and what would happened if the mind disappeared leaving the brain to carry on by itself, much as a driver-less car will be able to happily get from A to B, but without a driver there will be no appreciation of the scenery passed. A couple of years ago I had started on a project about homelessness but came to the conclusion that without much greater understanding of the issues involved, I would be unable to make any useful contribution and may cause more harm than good. I had in that process taken the videos of the town centre and also Nelson and the guy with the dog which I’ve used in missing I had also photographed these four people who I promised not show their faces. So I used some other faces instead. Is it park bench or front bench? I used various clips from Homes under the Hammer etc to emphasis the effect of being “mindless”. I put on the clip from News 24 in reverse because if you have it on for any length of time it makes as much sense reversed as it does forwards.
I spotted a rather unusual fungi growing in Grove Park which I thought I could use somewhere in conjunction with the photographs taken at the woodland photoshoot we had undertaken last October. I went to Tyntesfeild and took some photographs of cottages and doors because the general shape of the video was beginning to come together. I cut the log from one of the woodland photographs using a contents aware fill for when the log moved then used the log in Character Animator for the animation and Premier Pro to get the colour effects.
Lord Beachball - Autumn 2017
The spark for this was the general election in June which caused such consternation to the Torys who won and joy to Labour who lost. I very much admired Lord Buckethead for his sheer nerve, and started to write the script I came up with the character “Lord Beachball” which is a bit of a crib but I wanted something that would suit Weston better. It could only be written from the view point of a losing candidate and gave him an American accent in honour of Donald Trump who I thought would also be a losing candidate.
I wanted something that could be used to promote INTROSPECTION and decided use the mountain which looks like it’s been drawn, together with the Introspection logo. Add the fanfare to the National Anthem (I’m sure her Maj. won’t mind) and there’s the intro. However, the jump from the intro into Lord Beachball’s lament did not seem to work and a more circuitous route seemed to be required. An Isis fighter who had escaped from Alepo by dressing as a women but had been apprehended on account of his fairly obvious beard, struck me as an ideal candidate for the link. I decided to call him Wally Weston and that he did televised walks. Shortly before this I was looking on the internet for tips on trimming a beard I had been growing, when I came across the two young ladies behind Wally Weston. They were so bizarre, I just knew that sometime I would have to include them in some of my work. In Alepo, these two ladies would have been thrown from the nearest high rise and to put them alongside someone who probable would have done the throwing but whose disguise was let down by his refusal to shave his beard was irresistible.
So there was just the ending to devise. Factors to take into account were that my wife loves zebras and including my grandson Petros in the film would no doubt earn me some brownie points. Also Charles Trenet still had a couple of minutes left to sing. The philosophy came into it because my grandson is Greek and the Greeks seem to think they invented Philosophy. I still had time to fill and spotted sitting on a shelf a model created from a portrait of Picasso by Dali and decided to add legs which were my fingers and a nice pair of red shoes and then to animate it. I still had time to run so decided to take it up with messages and titles. It is unfinished because I wanted a group of dancers from performing arts to dance flash dance style in front of Birnbeck Pier. So far I have no takers on that.
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