Selfie

Little Races

I’ve been sitting on this forever.  I have wanted to make work about the experiences of transracial adoptees but I’ve been shy and unconfident and full of excuses why I should not do it and lazy, I’m prepared to admit that I am capable of lazyness, just not very good at it because I am also a high achiever when it comes to feeling guilty about lying on the sofa watching daytime TV. Anyhoo, I got made redundant at the end of July from a parody employer.  I sat about plotting revenge for a while and then I thought fuckit, …

The Thin Black Line and the Broad White One.

I went to a talk between Lubaina Himid and Paul Goodwin at the Whitechapel Gallery last week.  They discussed three exhibitions she had worked with in the 1980s: Five Black Women at the Africa Centre (1983), Black Women Time Now at Battersea Arts Centre (1983-4) and The Thin Black Line at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1985).  It was illuminating and more than a little  depressing.   One thing that got wedged in my head was how the exhibition at the ICA, deeply symbolic in a conduit between the big art stuff (ironically very small artworks by Richard Tuttle) and the …

Black Portraits II Revisited NYC Feb 2016

Last year I wrote about seeing the Lynette Yadiom Boakye exhibition, Voices After Dark at the Serpentine Gallery and the huge effect it had on me.  My responses to the exhibition had been the cause of a small spat between me and another associate at Open School East because I found it really difficult to explain what it is like to be in my skin, with my experiences to stand in a gallery surrounded by unglossed images of black people.  The spat was interesting because the conversation rapidly shifted from being about me and my experience to being about him not …

words fail me

Quick opinion poll: which one of these statements is true? a) Barack Obama is the first black president of the United States of America or b) Barack Obama is the forty fourth white president of  the United States of America. If you answered a,  he’s mixed race so he’s not exactly black per se, so perhaps you should go to the back of the class and try to work out if answering a makes you a racist.  If you answered b, you should probably get your eyes tested as that is a very weird kind of colour blindness but for …

Making images in public, making images of the public

I’ve been following the case against Arne Svenson with a lot of interest and I am glad that it has been resolved in his favour.  Some of these photographs are quite beautiful when taken as images of calm domesticity but his method opens up a can of worms that says more about affluence and the assumed rights it appears to bring than it does about the ethics of the photographer. The issue with Svenson’s photographs is they are of the insides of people’s homes and he took them using a long lens from outside their homes and did not ask …

60 Minutes at work

I would be lying if I said I love my job.  I certainly do not.  I love the idea of my job and it is probably this that has kept me banging my head against the wall for almost 16 years because the institutions I work for certainly haven’t covered themselves in glory when it comes to actually using my skills, experience or education.  I used to be called a Learning Technologist, even for a period of time a Senior Learning Technologist, these days I am an Academic Developer, but in truth I am a check box that universities like …

Art School

I am starting at Open School East on Thursday 8th January.  I’m kind of daunted and excited by the whole thing.  I’m most worried about being so much older than everybody else, including all the tutors, but also about my lack of basic artschool.  I should be ok though. I have set upon a project about gentrification, though I am pretty sure the system is awash with this kind of thing.  Nevertheless, I am personally interested in the changes that have been happening around where I live and I am even more interested in the lives of the people who …

portraits

I’ve recently been taking portraits for the wax project.  I have never seen myself as  portrait photographer because I feel uncomfortable looking closely at people despite the fact I do it all the time, but in a furtive and private kind of way.  I know and like all of these people, one of them I have known for over 20 years so I have had plenty of time to study him at close quarters.  I really enjoyed doing it and may do more in the future.  It is funny that these have turned out so well as it was inadvertent.  …

why do it: redux

I have been thinking about the motivation to photograph a lot recently.  Thinking about why I do it and ruminating on why other other people choose to do it too.  I have an account on eyeem where I post pictures from my phone.  I use the filters which I would never do on on flickr and prettyfy my shit until it looks a lot like everybody else’s.  I never considered why I treated those things differently to the stuff I put on flickr, I just did it. It is the way it is done, I am part of the gang …

Boozers

The other day I was walking somewhere in the evening and it was quite chilly and I went past a pub just as someone left. Out side the pub was a man smoking and the smell of the warm pub combined with the smell of the cigarette made me go all wavy lines and nostalgic. I love pubs. My auntie Jean had a mini one in her hotel in the 1970s.  It was more a cupboard with a hatch, a short bar and a line of optics behind.  There was a till and those Big D nuts on a cardboard …