Photography, says Scot Sothern, wasn’t so much an interest, when he was growing-up, as something he was born into. His father owned a photographic studio, for portraits of weddings and baptisms; and Scot’s earliest memory is tied to a photograph.
‘My first clear memory correspond to a photograph and because of that I’m not sure if it’s a memory I would even have if not for the photograph to ring the memory bell in my head.
‘My father was a photographer with a wedding and portrait studio in the Missouri Ozarks and back in the fifties when I was about four years old cowboys were all the rage for boy tots like myself and portraits of little boys dressed in cowboy drag became de rigueur. I remember we were out on a farm and my dad wanted to set me on a rail fence, I guess the way cowboys were supposed to do. Anyway, it was too high and I didn’t trust my balance and freaked out when my dad set me there and so he had to take me down and let me stand in front of the fence instead. I remember him being irritated that I was acting like a pussy.’
Last year, Scot released Lowlife, a collection of his photographs and writing of his experiences amongst prostitutes in the 1980s:
’When I pulled off the freeway into San Diego, I had a single twenty dollar bill in my wallet. My car, a 1973 Toyota station wagon, rattled my teeth and died in idle. At stops I had to divide my right foot: heel on the brake, toes revving the accelerator. I had barely enough gas to get back to Los Angeles.
‘On El Cajon Boulevard I drove slowly and studied the street walkers. In their eyes I could see desperation-induced madness, premature death. In my eyes they could see my craving for the nasty little secret I kept from friends and family. I could give my twenty dollars to any one of these women. I could buy a quick sex fix and she could buy enough crack to put a smile on her face for an hour or so.
‘In the passenger seat, belted and buckled, frail and beautiful, my four-year-old son, Dashiell, slept curled around his best friend, a pillow-sized stuffed facsimile of Hulk Hogan. It was Sunday night and my weekend with my little boy was over.
‘When we arrived at his mother’s house, Dash awoke. He cried and clung tightly, arms around my neck. He didn’t want me to go. His mother Sylvia, my ex-wife, was happy to see me go, but first she wanted money. I made lame excuses. She called me a jerk and pried our son from my embrace. I took my twenty dollars and drove back to El Cajon Boulevard.’
More from Scot Sothern, after the jump…
The order Mucorales consists of 13 families, 56 genera, and 300 species. Mucoralean fungi, or pin mold, is typically fast-growing, and generally found on food, with the most ubiquitous example being bread mold (Rhizopus stolonifer), or the equally common genus mucor, found in rotten vegetables or soil. In The Life Cycle of the Pin Mould we can see the development of fungi through the use of time-lapse photography, watching spores grow on an apple, cheese and porridge.
Made in 1943, The Life Cycle of the Pin Mould was originally intended for educational purposes, and is now one of 125 films currently being re-released by the British Council on Vimeo. Already available are films on London during wartime, hospitals, growing vegetables, the life cycle of a rabbit, the gardens of England and how to make a bicycle, amongst many others. Check here for details.
Film director Wim Wenders discusses his work as a photographer and his interest in photography, explaining how Digital photography has altered our relationship to transience. Wenders makes reference to his early films Alice in the Cities, where the photographer was a visionary, through to one of his most recent, Palermo Shooting, where the photographer is no longer present in the experience of what is shot, rather thinking ahead, more concerned with how to Photoshop and Digitally alter an image.
Wenders has taken photographs most of his life, and though a pioneer of German Digital cinema, Wenders still refuses to use a digital camera for his photography.
“Over the times I’ve done some digital experiments myself, even with photography. But in the end I gave all these Digital cameras away because I didn’t know what to do with them. I just didn’t know what to do with these things that make time disappear. For me the privilege of photography lies very distinctly in the possibility or the obligation of being here now. To cherish the moment, to enjoy that, which can just happen if you wait half an hour till the light changes. That makes it even more valuable. I am glad to be able to do photography. Since I took up photography I am a much more content person.”
For Wenders photography was a way to deal with the transience of life, where “pictures are mediators, messengers, translators between the visible and the invisible.”
The interview was recorded in Berlin in 2008, and though there are a few typos in the sub-titles, it is a thought provoking interview.
Previously on Dangerous Minds
A beautiful video made by qrotozoa productions (aka Espen Hagejordet) from 7500 images shot over 12 hours, at Sør-Fron, Norway, using a Nikon D5000. The marriage between the music of the Boards of Canada (“In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country”) and qrotozoa’s images is near perfection. Put on headphones, click full screen, enjoy.
More of qrotozoa’s exquisite work here.
My dear friend, Paul Darling, posted this image on his page. Instantly, it attracted attention as so many different people seemed to agree with the statement:
My idols are dead and my enemies are in power.
Maybe it connected because we live in the UK under a Tory government? But friends in Europe also agreed. And yes, there is something alluring about this photograph, and something also quite French and existential. So, what do you think? Does this image speak to you? If so why?
While you have a wee think about that, here’s The Stranglers “No More Heroes”.
With thanks to Paul Darling!
There are plenty of reasons why so many children are homeless in Ukraine. Some have been abandoned by their families. Others are victims of abuse. Whatever the reasons, each child is different, and has a unique story to tell.
There are no official statistics for the total number of children and young people living or working on the streets of Ukraine, yet various children’s charities and homeless organizations suggest the number is somewhere between 50,000 and 300,000.
Over the past 8 years, Scottish photographer David Gillanders has photographed the lives of these street children - documenting their stories of grim day-to-day existence on the streets of Odessa.
David found the children living underground, seeking warmth from central heating pipes. They were ravaged by malnutrition and addicted to drugs - nasal decongestants, which they crushed down and then injected.
“When I first started to take pictures of children living like that, I knew that I wasn’t going to change the world. But I did think something would happen - that it would improve. It didn’t.”
A photograph of one street child, Yana, won UNICEF Photograph of the Year. It captured the 13-year-old only 5 days before she froze to death on the streets.
Most of the children David has documented are now dead and his photographs are the only evidence of their tragic, short lives.
Based around his photographs, David has made a powerful and moving short film, The Neglected for Channel 4 television. Produced by Nicola Black of Blackwatch Media, the film reveals the lives of a lost generation of children who live in desolation underneath the streets of Odessa.
The Neglected will be broadcast on Channel 4, Thursday 22nd March 12 midnight.
Above photograph copyright to David Gillanders.
“Hidden Mother” was a 19th century portrait trend where mothers, who were basically dressed a “ghost,” would hold their young children still while being photographed. The end result was, well… haunting and creepy.
There’s a whole Flickr group pool dedicated to the “Hidden Mother” era.
More after the jump…
The Polaroid Swinger was one of the cutest cameras ever made. It was also the first inexpensive instant camera at only $19.95. Add to this its beautiful, sleek design, with built-in flashgun and its ‘YES’/‘NO’ function in the view-finder, allowing users to know when the exposure was set, all ensured it was one of the biggest selling cameras of all time.
Before finding fame in Love Story, a young Ali MacGraw makes an early appearance in this advert for the Polaroid Swinger, from 1965.
Bonus poster, ‘Meet the Swinger’, after the jump…
With thanks to Neil McDonald
Before he began directing films, Stanley Kubrick was a photo-journalist with Look magazine, starting his career in 1946, and was, apparently, their youngest photographer on record. Kubrick snapped over 10,000 pictures, sometimes hiding his camera in a paper bag to achieve a more intimate and natural image.
Kubrick’s photographs of New York in the 1940s, have the look of gritty movie stills from some imagined film noir, revealing intriguing personal narratives, for which the viewer can compose their own script.
A selection of Kubrick’s photographs are available to buy from V and M, with proceeds going to the Museum of the City of New York.
More of Kubrick’s photographs, after the jump…
Via Flavor Wire with thanks to Tara McGinley
One Hundred & Forty Characters is a project by the brilliantly talented and award-winning photographer Chris Floyd, in which he takes pictures of people he follows on Twitter, including comedy genius Graham Linehan, the ever wonderful Miranda Sawyer, Caitlin Moran and Peter Serafinowicz:
In July 2010 I decided to begin photographing people that I follow on Twitter. The idea for this came at a moment when I realised I had not seen or spoken to any of my best half a dozen real and actual friends for over a month. Some of those people on Twitter I communicate with several times a week, in bursts of 140 characters or less, and yet I had never met any of them. As we are now well and truly living in a digital age I am aware that this state of being is only going to deepen and the traditional forms of friendship, although they will not go away anytime soon, are going to have to make more room for the new way of doing things. Where Facebook might be considered as the place in which you tell lies to all the people you went to school with, I had begun to think of Twitter as the place where you tell the truth to all those that you wish you’d gone to school with. The project rolled on indefinitely for almost a year but when, one day, I counted up the number of subjects to date and came to a number in the mid one hundred and thirties, I immediately knew where this had to end. So here they are. My new friends. 140 characters. No more and no less.
One Hundred & Forty Characters will be on show at the Host Gallery, 1 Honduras Street, London EC1Y 0TH between the 3rd & 17th November 2011.
“I like this picture because it represents my whole family. Although there’s only me and my son in it, he’s wearing a T-shirt that says Smiley on it, which is my husband’s name; and I’m five months pregnant with our daughter. So there’s four people in there, not just two.
“I look quite mad in it, which I like too. That crazy, rictus grin: I was hot, and fat, and tired and my son was playing up. The only solution was to turn him upside down and make him laugh. I notice that in another one of the 140 Characters pictures, another small boy is being held in the same way. It’s a default solution for boys, it makes them normal again, like rebooting a computer, or reprogramming Buzz Lightyear to his factory settings.”
“The beauty of Twitter is that it is only as useful as the person who is using it wants it to be. It is such a simple and flexible service that everyone who uses it does so in a different way. Not only that, but it’s a meritocracy. Not only that, but Karma seems to have something to do with it. If you use it for good, you will be rewarded, if you use it for evil, you will be blocked. As a result, it’s leading to some remarkably civil conversations between ideological enemies. If the inventors of Twitter never win a Nobel Prize, they wuz robbed. Because as far as I’m concerned, they have enabled us all to take a major evolutionary step at a crucial moment. At a time when the human race faces not one but several extinction threats, we suddenly get the ability to talk to one another.”
4 more from ‘One Hundred & Forty Characters’, after the jump…
With thanks to Trevor Ward
Duggie Fields is one Britain’s best and most influential artists, whose work hangs in galleries across the world and has influenced art, design, fashion, music, film, and now photography. Over the past few years, Mr Fields has been using his mobile phone to photograph and document the well-traveled streets and over-looked locations around his home in Earls Court. Now, he has collected these beautiful poetic moments together in a book called Just Around the Corner. Dangerous Minds contacted Mr Fields to ask him how the project started?
‘The photographs started a few years back once I got my first mobile phone that had a good camera and didn’t have to self-consciously think about taking a camera out…The phone was just always with me…So the frequency of taking photographs almost daily became a natural occurrence with no plan or scheme as to what…Like a diary of images, starting just around the corner in the area I live in and have lived in for over 40 years, and in which I constantly find things I haven’t noticed before, and still can find beautiful.’
Where did the title Just Around The Corner come from?
‘The title came because it was the description of where the first “Facebooked” were….I started putting them on Facebook as it is easy to do and easier to put there than my website. Soon they started getting followers ‘Liking’ them from all over, which encouraged me to put them together eventually for the book whose title was obvious.’
What inspires you and are there certain themes you find yourself returning to?
‘Themes started with the local architecture combined with the gardens, trees, plants of my immediate neighborhood but then spread to corners across London. Really just everywhere I happened to be going, from parks, to street-markets to car-boot sales. Varying also with the seasons from spring to summer to the snow. They have influenced my painting and are in turn influenced by them. Now from just around the corner they echo organically further in the digital world.’
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason
TV’s dumb, sometimes unintentionally dumb, as can be seen from Mike Sacks’ Photos of TV. Sacks is the author of the “laugh-out-loud/piss-yourself-funny” Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason and has a fun collection of photographs from TV, over at his home page.
With thanks to the brilliant Steve Duffy!
It was his art teacher who first suggested he should pick up a camera. “My paintings were shite. I had a wee camera but didn’t really use it much till I went to college where I did this design for print course thing at the GCBP (Glasgow College of Building and Printing). Most of the photographers who were there at the time thought I was studying photography I spent so much time in the darkroom.”
That’s when Brian Sweeney found he had more than just a natural talent for photography. A talent that would lead him to become one of the most sought after, award winning photographers in the Europe.
It was probably something that as always there in the background, as he explained in this exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds:
Brian Sweeney: ‘A-ha, the background. Funnily enough, I met up with some old schoolfriends of mine recently, who informed me I was always an arty-farty little bastard. I do remember being told by the headmaster that school was for learning and not a bloody discotheque - I’ve always loved that word ever since during that period we were all dressing up as Dexy’s Midnight Runners, something I still haven’t grown out of yet - well, that 80s period anyway.’
It was his fascination with music and fashion and soccer that led Sweeney to start documenting the clubs he and his friends hung out in.
Brian Sweeney: ‘I’d always been around bands from an early age. We were going into night clubs like Lucifers (now the Sub Club) and Fury Murrys to see a lot of later Factory bands. Then Acid House kicked off and I was sort of there shooting DJs, my mates etc, the scene basically for fun…..then ID, The Face, Melody Maker needed shots of the regional scenes and my name popped up quite a lot, so I started shooting for them up here [in Glasgow]. It just sort of kicked off…I then started shooting for all the labels, just in the right place at the right time. Everything happened very quickly from being on the dole and arsing around nightclubs to well earning money and shooting celebrities and arsing around nightclubs in London.”’
Arsing about or not, Sweeney is a legendary figure in the photographic world, known for his professionalism, enthusiasm and boundless energy, going from one location to the next, fashion shoots, adverts, documentary work, magazine work - his creativity never stops. Sweeney’s been described as the equivalent of Hunter S Thompson with a camera - but only far more talented - while his looks have been described as a grizzled Santa’s helper or a more handsome Billy Bob Thornton, take your pick.