Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mono Monday - global challenge

Every Monday members of Blipfoto (www.blipfoto.com) take part in a global photographic challenge. Recently I have begun to participate in this. So far we have had "action" , "wood" and yesterday was "metal". 
Next week its transport.

MonoMonday Wood
MonoMonday metal

Monomonday action

Most of the participants in this collaborative online project are either British or Australian.

An important part of it is the social interaction- we get to share,comment and learn from each other, and of course there is the challenge of getting "hits" and making it to th Spotlight page.

View more of my Blipfoto images on www.blipfoto.com'libra

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

An independent Scotland?- Stirling leads the way.

Such confidence do Stirling have in the yes vote for independence that our local council have already introduced a number of schemes in a move to the right.

First off the block are the road signs. All traffic is now on the right side bringing us in line with the rest of Europe.

It’s England that's out of step not us.

Our little village was the first to introduce this and yes it did cause some confusion especially among the elderly who form 95 per cent of the population if Bridge of Allan.  Offenders were sent for retraining.

In support of the move to the right the Smith Art gallery and museum have a current exhibition of Hitler’s watercolours and drawings and according to a spokesperson for the gallery it has been the most popular ever.

We are proud to be the first town in Scotland to introduce the new Twinty Poonds note.

Nigel Fahrenheit leader of Ukip will be opening Stirling Highland Games in August. Instead if tossing the caber he will be throwing a life size model of David Cameron and a smaller one of Clegg.

And to celebrate victory in the Scottish Referendum, Stirling council arts department, the most innovative in Scotland, have already commissioned six artists, of which I am one, to make 10 ft. replicas of each member of the Tory cabinet which will be set on fire in a huge Bonfire of the Vanities at Stirling Castle the night the yes vote is announced.

The grassroots support for this, especially from the Green Party, has surprised even Alex Salmond.
He said: " Never in my wildest dreams did I expect such enormous support from Stirling Council"

He has agreed to do the official opening of the Bonfire of the Vanities.

He added: " nothing will give me greater pleasure than to see those old Etonians go up in a puff of smoke. This will be a great moment in Scottish history, one to rival Bannockburn."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Serenity: Blipfoto Monomonday challenge

Its unlikely you will have heard of Monomonday, a photographic challenge.

Unless of course you are a member of the Edinburgh based photo sharing social media site Blipfoto.com

Well today I took part in their monomonday portrait challenge.  Nothing unusual in that you may say except its global, collaborative, sharing, and operates informally. Its not part of some highly complex curated photographic venture in the meat world which costs a small fortune to organise and years to implement, but rather a grassroots photographic venture started by Australian photographer 
It’s free to all provided you are registered on Blipfoto.com – and that’s free too.

I mention it because I suspect this is something we are going to see a lot more of in the future as traditional methods of artists sharing and publishing their work through galleries change as more move into the digital zone.
The traditional gatekeepers, are being replaced by a different kind of gatekeeper- your peers assess your work. It goes out into the world unedited and you know within seconds of hitting the send button whether that image is good or not. The community not curators judge.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Film producer- Monta Burge

I had a meeting today with Monta Burge from CreativeStirling regarding the Pecha Kucha night next month.

Monta, from Latvia, is a final year film student at Stirling University and her ambition is to be a film producer.

She loves organising people- especially creative types –“It’s a challenge,” she says.

Some would regard it more like trying to herd cats.

And her skills will be challenged when they start filming a male Glasgow Burlesque dancer in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Preparing for Pecha Kucha

I have been asked by Creative Stirling to take part in a Pecha Kucha event next month and it got me thinking about my working process.

Pecha Kucha is a Japanese style happening started in 2003 and now franchised worldwide which allow artists, designers and makers to show their work in an informal atmosphere.

It follows a simple but very rigid structure: you show 20 slides and talk for 20 seconds about each one.

This is designed to make you focus on what is essential.

And it made me realise that so much of my work involves working with algorithms- 50 per cent my input and 50 per cent input from software.

Take todays blip pic. This started life as a photograph of a rose I had grown in my patio.

Once inside the computer it morphed into a digital painting of a fictitious landscape.

There is a problem with this kind of work though. Folk are resistant to buying it.
One potential buyer said to me:” I would buy it if it was an original.”

But there is no such thing as “original” once its digital. You simply press a button and get as many copies as you like.
Of course you can construct some artificial claim to a “limited edition” but that is very dubious and as far as I am concerned fraudulent territory.

As for giclee prints, nothing more than a fancy name for high quality photo-copying on expensive paper.

You may disagree… 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TB: Return of the White Death- memories of Craig-y-nos

I wonder if you saw the shocking documentary last night TB: Return of the Plague? ( BBC4 )

Probably not unless you had a particular interest in medicine or Africa.

But it brought back memories of my own childhood in Wales where I spent four years in Craig-y-nos Castle, a children’s sanatorium in the Swansea Valley. ( I later wrote a book about it co-authored with medical historian Dr Carole Reeves “The Children of Craig-y-nos”).

I lived out on an open balcony (left in photo) summer and winter and it was not unusual to wake up in the morning to find our beds covered in snow. We were provided with sheets of green tarpaulins to protect us.

So much of the African story from Swaziland,  apart from the weather, resonated with my own experience – the dreadful food, the physical isolation from home, family and friends, the boredom, the daily tough treatment of injections medicine and drugs which went on for months, even years.

And the tragedy of those who did not respond to treatment and were sent home to die.

But what for me is a distant memory still goes on for thousands in Africa everyday only worse because of the strain of superbugs resistant to drugs.