Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Greetings

Ho ho ho!

It's been a busy time at Diemar/Noble Photography, London this month with a plethora of attention in the press for the George Rodger exhibition making a double page centre spread in the Metro on Tuesday last week & then The Times (again a 2 page feature) with an interview with the charming Jinx Rodger. Thursday was spent with Reuters filming at the gallery for 2 films for their Africa & World feeds. The weekend has finally slowed things down a little and given me time to reflect upon the year & the arrival of 2010 in only a few days time.

The next show is 'Crazy God' by Yvonne De Rosa, a moving and deeply personal body of work by the London-based photographer. The impact this work had on me when I first saw it was profound. As an artist I am fascinated with the minute details of life that not only give clues but from which whole stories can be woven. In Yvonne's case her images of an empty asylum somewhere in Naples casts out multiple threads on which to wrap around ones memory. The dilapidated rooms and corridors, some overgrown by ivy from outside suffocate the space that once kept its inhabitants confined.

I have been making collages again this month from collected material which all gets stuffed into a bulging MOMA bag in my spare room. These collages are fragments re-used to create something new, an artistic recycling if you will. Looking at Yvonne's work it occurred to me that photography works in a similar, placing fragments into a new context, transforming them into something new. The beauty gained from somewhere as disturbing as an asylum is proof that even in the darkest places enchanting things may still happen in the right hands.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Marvels & intrigues!

The third picture was a prior intrigue: of a lady who sat outside to work on her laptop in Paris in the apartments opposite the one we stayed in. What was great, was that she would change her beret throughout the day sporting different colours. Maybe she had to change hats depending on who she was writing about. I'd like to think she is the next great French novelist & we saw her first.

Well, another week of ups & ups. First came the double lecture up North at Leeds college followed by a lecture at Impressions Gallery in Bradford. Each lecture delivered a few home truths about the industry from a collectors perspective, giving students a shock as to the realities of life as a photographer post-uni then more truths about the nature of collecting to a broad audience in the evening. Amongst the audience was a curator from Bradford Media Museumwho kindly invited me to visit the archive. I was keen to enter the depths of their collection with a specific interest in their contemporary collection. Low & behold entering the room with contemporary works the image dead-centre was a huge framed work by none other than John Kippin of the first print I ever bought. It is from the series 'Nostalgia for the Future' & the first of my many photos of aeroplanes titled 'Hidden' & still holds pride of place in my house. I was also thrilled to see the new series 'Flora' by Neeta Madaharwhich depicts women in a glamorous yet honest manner. I of course used one of her images on the cover of my own book. It is a wonderful exhibition & well worth the trip to Bradford to see it.

The Photovoice auction was a great way to spend last Wednesday evening with a Sarah Moon print selling for a mere £3,000! I implore you to come to the next one in a years time or better yet donate a fantastic print to help their wonderful work all over the world. Marvel at the world more, make it your New Year's resolution.

The book launch at Diemar/Noble was a roaring success & today we had a double page feature in the Metro on the George Rodger exhibition. Reuters will be filming at the gallery on Thursday to cover the show & they even want to interview me. I am slightly nervous about this as I do not film well. Like a great work of art I am much better in the flesh, not however very photogenic. Trust me, I know plenty of photographers' & none have as yet produced a great picture of me. The dust jacket image was 1 of 500 shots taken (with only 5 of which were usable) so I am dreaming of a Neeta Madahar style portrait that would make me look both realistic & glam. Any takers? You know where to find me. If you would like to be part of the vox-pops on the day please let me know as they need 3 people to interview with their reactions to the show.

Today was also great due to a gathering organised byEC1 Publishing who all you freelancers out there should know about. F2 magazine is full of wonderful advice & insights into the world of freelance photography, with news, reviews & technical advice, not to mention great features on photographers' with top tips on best practice. An afternoon complete with game stew & Christmas pud is all good for the soul.

Last night was spent with the cast & crew of Diemar/Noble Photography at my place for a thank you dinner for all their hard work this year both installing, promoting & helping in any way they could throughout our first 6 months. None of our successes could have been possible without their genorous help & know-how. Amongst the esteemed guests were the one & only Colin Coutts whose work is both beautiful & thought provoking.

I'm now settled in with a nice glass of wine & still shaking my head at the video posted on Marcus Doyle's blog. I insist that you watch it!

The gallery is open this week & is closed from next week. We re-open on January 5th, but do still keep your enquiries coming as I know that the show is a must-see. Our next exhibition is with Yvonne De Rosa, so watch this space for more come January. I will post more over Christmas & remind you that with only a few days left to shop at the gallery it's time to put on your skates & drop by to see us. And so to bed... watch where you drop off!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Book Launch!

Well only a day or so to go before the first Book Launch at Diemar/Noble Photography, London.

I am really exited to meet a few familiar faces and hopefully some new ones too. Jinx Rodger will be there to sign and also Oddbins are doing a wine tasting for us, which should be smashing.

What is the book I hear you ask? The book is 'George Rodger On The Road 1940 -1949 From the Diaries of a Photographer and Adventurer. I have already read it and must say it is fascinating. I tis easy to forget that George was an accomplished writer and began taking photographs as a way of illustrating his words. Having spoken to so many people who have known George Rodger (not one has a bad thing to say about him) and of course knowing Jinx, it was wonderful to read his words. I unfortunately never knew him, so this was the closest I have come to getting to know the man whose work I admire so much.

Coupled with images, the diaries give an insight to what life must have been like for a photojournalist way back when travelling was definitely an adventure. His compassion and thoughts on the war are humbling to say the least. There is a full review of the book in the winter edition of LIP magazine

If you do get chance to come and meet the lady who commissioned Robert Capa and John Steinbeck to go to Russia (yes, she is that lady) please rsvp to rsvp@diemarnoble.com

I look forward to seeing you there at 6.30pm.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Strains, sprains & Paris Photo Predictions Part 2

Meeting new people is always fantastic at Paris Photo. One of Diemar/Noble's photographers' Yvonne De Rosa, introduced me to a fabulous crowd of people. Amongst them the 'crazy Chzec' (you know who you are) who is based in my hometown of Manchester and has the most amazing Northen accent combined with her Eastern European lilt and her friend took me to the wonderful 'Juvenille' where we had luscious wine and awesome cakes. The final evening was a big crowd of mutual friends having dinner then my trusty flat mates on the trip, the delectable Robert Phillips and equally awesome Will Hewson
It was a long week but as always, well worth the trip on both personal and professional grounds. Contacts made and new friends to keep in touch with, I recommend anyone with an interest in photography to go to next years fair and experience it for themselves. Take your camera, cards and a smile and hit the fair!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Strains, sprains & Paris Photo Predictions Part 1

Well, well, well, how silly was I to predict how sore my feet would be. Little did I know when leaving the fabulous Vee Speersapartment late Wednesday night after a wonderful evening of photography conversation and fabulous food (her husbands method of boosting the bar-b-que with a hairdryer was a classic moment) I trotted down the polished wooden spiral staircase and slipped! Yes yours truly badly sprained her ankle, pulled all the tendons and bruised the bone. So the rest of Paris Photo was spent with a considerable limp.

That aside, the Vernisage was good that day. The collectors were out in force, anxious to see new work. First you spot all the familiar work then secondly that which is new or less familiar. The great thing about the fair is the atmosphere of expectancy, finding the photographer you know little or nothing about. The photographer that caught my eye this time was Jorma Puranenwhose work I made assumptions about when I first saw it, but revealed much more when I enquired further. Landscapes that looked like they were taken through sheets of ice, was in fact the reflections of the landscape upon a wooden board that had been painted with gloss black paint and held in the sunlight. The project was fascinating though and I'm sure that I will watch his progress in the future.

Then there were the events in the evenings. Magnum have a new space in Paris and the crowds turned up in force. I then went on to the Prix Prictet vernisage and had a brief chat with the prize winner Nadav Kander, who was lovely as ever. I got the chance to catch up with the lovely Kerstin from Arbetets Museum in Sweden. A fabulous display of handbags caught our eye on the way back and Robert Phillips image sums up the colourful, wonderful flavour of the evening.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Paris Photo's coming...

As Paris Photo looms around the corner, it is time for me to take a deep breath...

Thousands of photo fans, collectors & the just-plain-curious will descend on the fair, all desperate to see the offerings displayed by galleries from all over the world. I will be one of them, keen to be impressed & hoping to discover something new.

It will be a week of private views, cocktails, meeting old friends and new ones too. There will be the familiar & unfamiliar when it comes to the work on display. Days are long & my feet will ache, but nothing quite compares to it. If you are reading this blog & have an interest in photography I implore you to visit Paris Photo just once & you too will be hooked. It's a great place to see a ton of work all in one place. The place: The Carousel under the Louvre, what a location. Just around the corner is Collette, a fabulous shop and - even if you don't spend a euro - well worth a visit just for the pure decadence & style. The work: from galleries you have heard of & many you won't have ever had the opportunity to go to.

Spotting those emerging unknowns, the gems amidst the giants, is what it's all about for me. I also love to see the work 'in the flesh' as there is nothing like a print in real....well...print and bask in the subtleties that can never truly be reproduced. A photograph is an object after all, not simply an image on a 2D surface.

Then there are the books, ooh very dangerous. The limited editions that never make it to our shores. These are very tempting & I'm always keen to see what I've missed.

The weather will no doubt be dreadful, but the fair will be hot. So remember if you do go, layer up like a lasagne!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Natural instincts

As an avid photo collector I often wonder if my obsessive seeking of interesting images is a healthly one. It is a truly rewarding thing to do and my need to collect was confirmed by one of my heroes recently in a podcast I subscribe to. During David Attenborough's Life Stories on Radio 4, he spoke eloquently about the need humans have to accumulate. He compared this to the natural world and - lo and behold - animals do it too! He reveals that collecting is on the decrease in children. I encourage you to encourage them. Pass on and share the joy that comes from collecting, sharing and enthusing about photography. Keep our natural instincts intact, get collecting!