Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Today in the Garden

Being me, I spent an hour this afternoon photographing frogs and bees in the back garden.  These are my favourites:

Glad they approve of the pond refurb from back in spring (http://www.landscapestudent.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/frog-pond.html)

And the tadpoles are doing well :)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Country Walks

Photos taken this week on walks with my dog in the Cambridgeshire countryside.

A male orange tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) 

A green-veined white butterfly (Pieris napi)

Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)

A seven spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) on a stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).

With a pose like that this black slug (Arion ater) was a natural in front of the camera:
(If you wanna know about slugs:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_slug)

The emerging leaves of an ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hilarious Jubilee Merchandise

I've just discovered the hilarious designs of Lydia Leith (http://www.lydialeith.com/) who was rocketed to fame last year with her unique Royal Wedding Sick Bags.  I was searching the Diamond Jubilee out of boredom and came across this hilarious jelly mould of the Queen's face along with jubilee temporary tattoos and more sick bags. Ha ha!! I want.

She's also designed temporary tattoos for the 2012 Olympics.  Below is 'Tennis Elbow' and 'Athlete's Foot.'  Brilliant.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Urban Ramblers Project Final Piece

These photos are my final pieces for the Urban Ramblers project which was about exploring the decaying, forgotten parts of Manchester.  I decided to make myself the intervention/installation.  And no that's not make up - it's real (from a very stupid accident).  Below is the reflective writing I submitted with them:

This project became more personal to me than I could ever have imagined.  It’s been a very strange and surreal journey from the normal world to literally falling into another world that the rest of society chooses to turn a blind eye to, because it scares them.

In this project I chose to explore the theme of fear.  This was inspired by a particular event on our first ramble onto an old railway line where bravery (or stupidity) was rewarded with adventure and discovery.  I started thinking about how there are many things in life where bravery is rewarded.  However I also noted that the reason I feared these abandoned places was because of my own physical safety.  It was a survival instinct to stay away from them, unlike the insignificant worries of everyday life.  It interested me how these surroundings affected my body physiologically – pounding heart, heightened senses and jelly legs.  When I was in these places I was much more aware than I ever am in the normal world.

Another event that stood out to me on our second ramble was the feeling of immense shock when finding, in a peaceful woodland setting, the evidence of severe drug abuse.  The scene haunted me.

On our third ramble, which we did at sunset, we discovered the entrance to an abandoned factory building.  I recorded the whole forty minute adventure on Dictaphone.  Listening back was very interesting as atmosphere was added in that I had to use my imagination to work out what was happening and what I was seeing alongside the sound.  Imagination is a big part of fear, I realised, as we use the scene in front of us to work out what happens there.  I believe we do this subconsciously most of the time but it is not until we are in a stressful situation that we notice it as it begins to run wild with multiple terrifying possibilities.

On the Saturday after this third ramble I had a very stupid accident.  I fell and hit the ground hard with the left side of my face, severely bashing my left brow bone.  The whole left side of my face became virtually unrecognisable from scabs and swelling with huge deep purple bruises.  For the last week and a half I haven’t been able to do much other than lie in bed recovering.  However the accident became a great source of inspiration.  While lying with nothing to do, I thought about how I was damaged like the old factory, and that I was scary and sickening to look at.  I thought about how strangers would view me, their imaginations trying to work out what had happened.  I had stepped across to the other side and like many of the people who inhabit these abandoned spaces, all I wanted to do was hide.  The artists Miru Kim and Francesca Woodman inspired me to use this opportunity to put myself into the picture, as the intervention, to see how it would affect the viewer.  Although they are unusual and possibly somewhat disturbing, I think my final photos demonstrate well the themes I have been exploring – fear, other worlds, survival, refuge, decay vs healing - without being deliberately out there to shock.  It is very important to me that they are real and that there is no exaggeration of the truth in them - no make up or artificial lighting and minimum editing.  It is down to the viewer to interpret the story themselves.

And finally my design process page:

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Nude Urban Explorer Artist

Following this recent theme of urban exploration for our 'Urban Ramblers' project I came across an artist today called Miru Kim who has done a series she calls 'Naked City Spleen.'  The project started with her trying to photograph the rats of New York City who lived on the fringes of society.  This led her into New York's abandoned subways and then to further forgotten places as she discovered Urban Exploration.  Deciding it wasn't enough to purely document these places themselves, she started incorporating herself into the scenes, without clothing, so as not to identify herself with any particular time or culture.  Below are just a few of the resulting photographs:

And a fascinating talk by the artist about her work following themes of history, isolation, refuge, peace and danger:

Source: http://www.mirukim.com/photosNakedCitySpleen.php


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