Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nailed Us!

Just a-strollin' past the Old Library and caught an ad for Dan Green's Cardiff Characters photo & multimedia exhibition. I'm glad I did. His stuff captures the feel of "The 'Diff" perfectly, by focussing on individuals that everybody recognises; be they artists, street hawkers, or ubiquitous screw-loosers. 'Diffians can expect to spend a merry half-hour going "ooh" and "a-ha!" and "so that's his name!" The photography is very simple and unpretentious, using colour and depth creatively but not ponsing about at all. These are subjects many of which I've shot myself, but he's caught them with a professional eye.

There's also a short video film, using some of the characters and making music from the sounds of their lives. It drags you in. You can buy prints (ouch!) or postcards (hurrah!) but no book yet, although Dan admits "Everyone says I should!"

Sadly, this is too late to be an effective plug, as the exhibition closes tomorrow. But look out for the name Dan Green, and if he points a camera at you, smile...

Dan Green Photography

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Under My Skin

Lots of new images coming in now from Phoenix. As I look at them, something dawns on me.

Any educated layman knows the score with Mars. We know that the atmosphere is thin, that there's no evidence of complex organic molecules, that the ground seems to lack basic nutrients. Moreover, we perceive - logically, at least - that the origin of life on Earth was a random and unlikely event, even in such a complex and fertile environment. The Anthropic Principle tells us - against our instincts but within grasp of our reason - that "surely we cannot be alone?" is a subjective fallacy.

Some observers, with more or less imagination than I, can look at the Phoenix images and say "Hmmm.... rocks." Try as I might , I can't. Something hard-coded in my being lies to me when I look at them. Something visceral and reflexive, that insists, against reason, that there is no such thing as "just rocks". Something that protests that, in a landscape so fundamentally familiar, surely to postulate the absence of all life is the extraordinary claim? And yes, the rationalist in me recoils in self-disgust.

But thankfully, reason allows me to turn this warped perspective back to my advantage, and thus to preserve the sense of wonder: While some see a disappointingly familiar, Earth-like desert, when they were secretly hoping for tangerine trees and marmalade skies - I can see an Earth-like desert, but with no life of any kind. How weirdly, wildly fantastical is that? Put that way, it's hard to imagine anything further outside the realm of Human experience. Pepperland teeming with hallucinoforms may be attractive to the imagination, but Nevada with nary a microbe? Wow; now that's something else!

Monday, May 26, 2008


The weather couldn't spoil this bank holiday weekend, where beige ruled. Despite an inevitable increase in overall beigeness, Indiana Jones proved a calendar-defying proficiency in excavating the mustard, delighting a whole generation with the affirmation that, our own depreciation notwithstanding, we still have a cool dad. I must confess, under normal circumstances the old Von Daniken tropes piss me off royally - but this is, after all, the franchise where I have already accepted Yahweh and Shiva's vengeful pyrotechnics and - albeit with clenched teeth - the Holy Bastard Grail. So, I confess, the goalposts are wider. Indy may have scuffed the shot a little, but it still ended up in the back of the net.

MARS, lest we forget, is also beige. After the actualization of that foreshadowed "Seven Minutes of Terror" for the intrepid ├╝bergeeks of Phoenix, we're getting fuzzy pictures of beige rocks again and it feels bloody marvellous. To put my admiration into transatlantic terms, "You guys rock", in any colour. Hurrah for Space!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fuzzy Blotches

Gilbern Invader
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel
This is about as good as it got, light-leak and all. It's a shot of the Gilbern Invader on display at the National Waterfront Museum.

So, the Ful-Vue works, and I've got a bunch of monochrome film to shoot now...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Boxing clever

Boxing clever
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel
You can't get much for 50p these days... unless you like things like this. It's an Ensign Ful-Vue box camera, c1946. It's a TLR (twin lens reflex) design with a two-speed shutter (1/35 or Bulb) and that's yer lot. This baby wouldn't know a megapixel from a MiG-21.

I've successfully loaded it with some 120 roll film and will spend the rest of the week trying not to waste my 12 exposures...