Sunday, 27 June 2010

the upper limits

Thanks to some landscapes for sharing this. This is an extract from Simon Faithfull's film Escape Vehicle No. 6, 2004 where he sent a chair up into the upper atmosphere to the edge of space attached to a weather balloon. 

It appears Faithful has been subjected to the same type of blatant plagiarism that Fischli & Weiss were when Honda copied Der Lauf Der Dinge in their super-slick (and, I admit, highly enjoyable) Accord advert campaign, the Cog, claiming originality, and in the full knowledge that their commercial audience would massively outnumber that of the original artwork. Toshiba have been similarly copying and not attributing the real source of their own 2009 advert, an HD version uncannily similar to Escape Vehicle No.6 which even copies the sound beeps - the beeps on the original Simon Faithfull version were a by-product of tracking the location and positioning of the balloon during it's flight since the video footage was being relayed and collected live, whereas in the Toshiba ad, the camera and balloon were retrieved by parachute after return to earth in order to access the film, and the beeps are simply an add on.

Friday, 25 June 2010

summer camp

An image I made from the Aguille du Midi, Mt Blanc, looking down on the tent pits dug by climbers en route to the summit of Mt Blanc, and making the landscape appear pitted by craters. (as a tent geek, I think I managed to spot one of my own tents, a Trango 2, when viewed at full res!)

Monday, 21 June 2010

photography as drawing

“Looking through the lens of the camera doesn't intensify experience. It just frames the object. It's much more intense without the camera. For me photography is like a shoebox. You put things in a box when you want to keep them, to think about them. Photography is more than a window for me; photography is more like a space that tries to capture situations. It's notational. I use the camera like drawing.”

Gabriel Orozco

Saturday, 5 June 2010

wanderings around Scotland

Browsing in a bookshop yesterday, I noticed this collection of works by the amateur photographer Erskine Beveridge entitled wanderings around ScotlandIn the 1960s, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland surveyors discovered an incredible collection of over 750 glass plate negatives. Taken between 1880 and 1919, the photographs show Scotland on the brink of major social and economic change. There are images which document ways of life which are almost shocking in their technological primitiveness especially when one realises they have been made in the relatively recent, photographable past.

But what struck me most about these images was the clarity and detail of the images rendered, as they are, in even high key tones, and in some instances, the convincing contemporariness of the photographs. They reminded me of a Scottish cross between the images of the American Photographic Survey, and the New Topographics photographers from the 1970's.

Looking over to the observatory on the summit of Ben Nevis, 1883

Vallay House in North Uist in 1901 shortly after construction - Beveridge's summer house.

The lighthouse at Corran Narrows where the Corran ferry currently operates between nether Lochaber and Ardgour. This image could have been made today rather than in 1886 when it was, in fact, created.

Archaelogical excavations on North Uist, with Vallay House in the background, 1919.

...a donkey. 1884

An image made in less than ideal conditions ion the Isle of Eigg - especially when working with large, glass plate negatives. Image made end of September, 1883