Photography: Talented Chimpanzee…

As I stood on the tube, holding on for dear life, I happened to catch a glimpse of someones newspaper. It featured a photograph of a chimpanzee stood next to a camera.

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I found this very odd so I decided to investigate further and turning to my trustee photographers website, PetaPixel, I found an article about said chimp.

It appears as though a chimpanzee named Mikki has mastered the art of photography thanks to teachers Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Russian conceptual artists who collaborate as Komar and Melamid.

The pair spotted Mikki at a Moscow Circus and from then on have been teaching him how to use various different cameras. They began the tuition on a Polaroid camera before teaching him how to use analog, modern film and progressively large format cameras.

What has stirred the photographic world is the collection titled ‘Our Moscow Through the Eyes of Mikki’ which includes 18 photographs. The set features self portraits of Mikki, images of the duo teaching Mikki how to use a camera and other images photographed by the chimp depicting Russia.

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The photos are expected to sell for £70,000 ($106,000) at the auction, ‘Changing Focus: A Collection of Russian & Eastern European Contemporary Photography’, on June 5, 2013 at Sotheby’s auction house in London.

The auction itself is something of a rarity as it features other photographs taken by photographers living within the former Soviet Union. The collection dates back to the early 1960s and onwards.

This is not the first time monkeys have tried their hand at photography. In 2011, PetaPixel told us about a group of Indonesian monkeys who became interest in photographer David Slater’s camera. The crested black macaque monkeys, situated in an Indonesian national park, ended up capturing some shots of themselves and Slater himself.

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I think it would have been hard for any photographer to be able to capture such up close and personal shots of these monkeys without handing over their camera.

I think I may be jealous of a monkey because I wish some of my photographs were selling for £70,000.

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Comment: Visit to Argos, I mean the Embassy

I headed to London last Wednesday for my Visa appointment which was at 8am the following day. Luckily I have a nice friend (Josh) who let me stay the night so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel because London hotel prices are ridiculous!

Whilst on the train a man came and sat opposite me, I glanced up from my book in curiosity. On deciding he was not as interesting as my book I returned to reading. He was chatting on the phone for a while and I thought nothing of him. I then heard him say goodbye and out the corner of my eye I saw him retrieve a black notebook from his bag. He opened his black book and began drawing. I only assumed he was drawing because he kept turning the book from side to side whilst putting pencil to paper. Looking down at my kindle I sensed someone was watching me, I quickly glanced up and was shocked to find the man quickly glance back to his notepad. After this happened several times I began to think that he may be drawing me. My suspicions were confirmed when I noticed that there was a drawing of another girl on the facing page.

I did not really know what to do so I a sheepishly sat there knowing a strange man was drawing me, in his little BLACK book. The fact that the book was black is what freaked my out. I then thought that this is ridiculous so I decided to get my own back by taking a picture of him. You know…just incase he is a serial killer. I now have evidence.

1368631483152After an eventful/slightly bizarre journey, I finally arrived at Paddington Station where I caught the tube to Brixton to meet Josh.

That evening Josh decided he wanted to bake some cakes. I agreed to help and suggested we make those lemon meringue cupcakes I blogged about the other day. He was torn between his love for lemon and his desire to bake chocolate chip cupcakes with mint chocolate chip frosting. Undecided, we ended up baking both. When I say we, I actually mean Josh and I sat and watched whilst one of Josh’s close friends did all the work. I did help by licking the mixture out of the bowl and Josh did dictate from the sidelines. I guess you could say it was a group effort after all.

The recipe for the chocolate chip cup cakes with mint chocolate chip frosting can be found on Sally’s Baking Addiction blog.Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 15.21.33

I have to say that both cakes were delicious and I will definitely recommend them to anyone.

After the hectic baking session, feeling as though I had over indulged on my share of cakes, I headed to bed to ensure I had a good nights sleep ready for my early morning start.

On the day of my visa appointment I begrudgingly rolled out of bed, at 6.30am, to get dressed. As I left Josh’s flat the sun greeted me and by the time I made it to Brixton station I was wide awake and ready to delve deep into the underground to catch the tube to Green Park.

Once at Green Park I quickly typed in my destination onto google maps and followed the trail by foot. Realising I only had 10 minutes until my appointment, I began to run the last leg of my journey until I spotted the American flag flying high above the building.

The Camp America team were very helpful, checking my paper work with a smile despite the early hour. Everything seemed to be in order so I was able to join the que outside the security entrance. Two men stood nearby with guns – scary.

As expected, I was ushered along the conveyer belt of people, passed security and into the building itself.

Inside, I was instructed to take a seat and wait for my number. It really was like being at Argos, I sat, I waited for my number and then I approached the desk. The only difference was not retrieving a household object at the end and I also wasn’t allowed to occupy myself on my phone whilst I waited.

I find it a little odd that you aren’t allowed to take your phones into the Embassy building. In this day and age, a mobile phone is attached to practically every person. If it wasn’t for my smartphone, I wouldn’t have been able to find my way to the Embassy as easily. Thankfully Camp America were there to look after my electrical items but I am sure it is a huge inconvenience for everyone else.

Whilst at the desk I had all my finger prints taken and for some reason I was disappointed to find out that they didn’t use ink and paper. I now cannot imagine why I even thought they would use ink and paper, but I was disappointed no the less because I really wanted to see what my finger prints looked like.

After that I moved along the conveyer and waited in line to be interviewed. It was fairly simple and I was done within the hour which left me with four hours to spare before my train left London.

Reunited with my trusty phone, I google mapped the location of Oxford Street and was happily surprised that it was only a short walk away.

Heading down the street I realised that none of the shops were open yet so I decided to grab some breakfast and my morning cup of tea. This was far easier said than done because I ended up walking the length of Oxford Street before I spotted a Costa. Bewildered and desperately in need of that tea, I headed for the counter and ordered a chocolate swirl to accompany it.

I found a table in the corner and happily sat with my tea and swirl, checking all social media whilst I ate.

After an hour had passed, I presumed the shops would have opened their doors to customers, so I left Costa and headed for Topshop which just so happened to be right across the street. With America in mind I ended up buying a few things.Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 15.42.20

I thought the yellow dress would go perfectly with the blue jumper and I have wanted a large gold neckless for a while. I then went into other shops but didn’t buy anything else until I came to Pull and Bear. Here I bought the denim shirt which was surprisingly only £19.99, a whole £14.00 cheaper than the one I tried on in Topshop… bargain!

Basic Denim Shifrt – Pull and Bear £19.99

Daisy Circle Chain Neckless – Topshop £10

Ditsy Floral Flippy Dress – Topshop £18

Curve Hem Sweat – Topshop £18

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With a slightly lighter purse and great train snacks in hand, I headed back to Paddington Station to catch my 13.15 trainback to Bristol.

Travel: Cold feet, hundreds of bodies and a place at camp…

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The summer of a life time is slowly creeping up on me.

A few months ago I attended the London, Camp America Recruitment fair in the hope to be placed at a camp I had chosen. A few days prier to the event I searched through all the camps that were attending online to see which ones appealed to me the most. With my heart set on Camp Westmount I got on the train to Reading to meet my friend, Siobhan, who was also hoping to get placed.

The alarm was set for 7am and when it went off on the morning of the big day I couldn’t believe I had even had an hours sleep let alone 8. Begrudgingly I rolled out of bed and got dressed, wrapped cold pizza in tinfoil and left the house. The cold, winters walk to the station woke us both up and we boarded the 9am train to London Paddington.

Arriving in London to be greeted by the hustle and bustle of early morning travellers we headed for the underground to join the monotonous clan. Luckily once we took to the surface the sun was poking its head between clouds but this did not deter the cold effecting us.

As we approached the building, that was playing host to the Camp America fair, queues were already forming. At this point it was 10am and there must have already been 200 young adults chatting and shivering in line. Donning a green #iamCA sticker we joined the back of the line and was handed a large booklet filled with information.

With frozen fingers I sifted through the booklet and circled, for the second time, the camps that looked most appealing. In discussion with Siobhan we each changed our minds on wanting to go to Camp Westmount. Siobhan liked the idea of spending her summer in California whilst I liked the sound of Surprise Lake Camp (SLC). The destination of the camp wasn’t my priority because I new, if I got placed, then I would travel America afterwards. It just so happened that the camp I found most tempting was in New York. What drew me towards SLC was the short right up that described what they were all about. The paragraph sounded friendly and fun which is what won it over for me.

It must have taken us a good hour and a half to come to our final decision about the top 5 camps we would look to get placed at. We both figured that we had best decide on a few favourites because the likely hood you will get placed at any is ambiguous. Once we had sorted this out it was a matter of waiting for the doors to open at 12am.

Without anything to occupy us the impending feeling of frozen toes and red noses came to the forefront of our minds. I don’t think my toes have ever been as cold as they were that morning. In the end I walked down the street to get a cup of tea and as much as I love tea, I didn’t want to drink it because it was keeping my hands warm.

At 12am the que surged forward and the nervous really started to kick in. As we slowly crawled further towards the entrance I realised how hard it was to walk. The frozen toes were truly getting to me and getting a place was ever more paramount.

After what felt like an eternity we finally entered the realm of warmth. We were ushered up a flight of stairs and motioned to sit on chairs facing a big screen. The man spoke and I half listened and half revelled in the fact I could feel my body defrosting. After watching a short video we were left to fight to the deaths to try and get placed at a camp.

I spotted the SLC stall as I was walking down the stairs towards the main room that held all the other stalls. Once I reached the bottom I wished Siobhan good luck and headed towards slot 61 where SLC was based. I smiled at the camp representative and asked if I could collect some leaflets. Reading through them clarified for me that this was the camp I wanted to spend my summer at.

Avri, the camp representative introduced himself to me and I returned the pleasantries. He carried on talking to another girl and it looked like the interview was going well for her. This made me more determined to try and have mine go the same way. After he had finished he invited me to sit on the hot seat and he began asking me interview style questions. I answered them with honesty and enthusiasm. I tried to demonstrate parts of my personality as I was advised on the introduction video. After answering all the questions my heart quickened as I watched Avri write down a few notes. He then turned to me with a smile and said he would like to offer me a place. With a sigh of relief and a shake of his hand I already felt like part of the team.

What I felt was so lovely about Avri himself was that he didn’t sit behind the table like every other camp representative did. He sat opposite me whilst he asked me the questions making me feel more at ease. The fact that he chose to sit on the same side as the people he was interviewing says to me that he is presenting himself as an equal.  After speaking to him for more than a minute I felt comfortable in his presence.

Once the forms were signed and I had bid Avri farewell, I made my way towards the que to have my photograph taken and to pay my deposit. Standing in the line I nervously rang Siobhan to ask if she had also been placed. Luckily she had so we both were able to leave with smiles on our face.

The entire day consisted of lots of queing and many excited people drifting from stall to stall. It was definitely an experience I wouldn’t want to relive in a hurry but it was all worth the nearly frost bitten toes and cold pizza for lunch. I am one step closer to being able to wake up in New York City.

Photography: Love letter to his mum

February 2013

February, the month the world gets torn into two sides; the ones that embrace and celebrate the long lived Valentines tradition, showering their partners in gifts and kisses. Then there is the other camp who often are annoyed at the fact they are single or rebel against the tradition purely because they feel like it is a money making scam that shouldn’t be bought into.968309

Whatever camp you find yourself slotted into there should be no doubt in the love and affection you share with family members. That is why I have decided to concentrate this months piece on a photographer who published his love for his mum using photography.

Juergen Teller is well known as a fashion photographer despite him not wanting this label. He prefers to be known as just a photographer and I believe he should be classed as just that. Even his fashion photographs shine through with his own personality that of which sets him apart from the homogenous fashion photographers out there.968327

He was born in Germany in 1964 and moved to London in 1986. He recently produced a set of photographs that are nothing related to fashion and they achieved just as big a response as his work for Marc Jacobs or Vogue had.

The photographic set under discussion is titled Irene im Wald and Teller has described it as a love letter to his mother.

In the exhibition at The Journal Gallery in Brooklyn, he has used photography and text to produce an intimate insight into his childhood in Germany. Unfortunately I could not find any of the text to feature alongside the images. I assume the text adds another element to the images and it is a shame I could not find it.

‘Irene im Wald’ is named after his own mother, Irene and the photographs feature her wandering through the woods near his home in Nuremberg.968336

The woods have sentimental value for him and you really feel the sense of nostalgia shining prominently through the images.

I always find that whenever I personally take a photograph there is something to the object, person or place that I find relates to my past or present. It could just be that in that moment someone has done something that I want to be reminded of. The photograph I take may not feature anything to do with that memory but in the end it will act as a trigger for the nostalgic remnants of the instance.

I click the button on my camera in order to be forever reminded of whatever it is I want to remember. The photograph then becomes a resemblance of that instance which will hold nostalgic values whenever I look at it.968354

The woods in Teller’s photograph may not have any significance to anyone else except him. He has photographed them in such a way that makes you want to question why they are so important to him. I therefore think that the words that are featured alongside the photographs do help explain the significance of the woods further.

Looking at the photographs as a set you grasp at a slight understanding of the relationship between Teller and his mother without fully recognising what it was truly like. The photograph of Irene standing in the distance atop a mound of dirt makes me question whether there was a lack of closeness between mother and son. The fact that she is featured on her own in the photographs also implies remoteness. The lack of knowledge presented in the images about what their relationship consisted of only heightens the personality of the photographs.

The fact that he calls it a love note to his mother makes me wonder if he is trying to tell her how he felt because he never really could using speech.

I like the almost, but not quite, sepia tone to his photographs. I feel that this intensifies the idea of nostalgia towards his childhood. Sepia is normally really brown but these images have a yellowed tint to them which reminds me of a faded sepia photograph I would find in my Gran’s photo albums.968345

The images featured in The London Gallery is the first of what Teller sees to be a four part series featured in the same woods. This may mean that the relationship with his mother will develop further throughout the remaining three sets.

Taking photographs of family will forever be an important aspect to people’s lives. Never miss an opportunity to capture the ones you love because photographs can bring back so many forgotten memories

http://www.westerneye.net/comment/2013/02/photography-blog-love-letter-to-his-mum/

Photography: Start a war

tumblr_mdpqwiEdkE1rlwse4o1_1280December 2012

With the busy end of term submissions, the sigh of relief once it had all been handed in and the excitement of returning home for Christmas, I had forgotten all about this piece. With a reminder from the editor I began the task of finding a photographer I felt worthy of writing and sharing with readers. Turning to a favourite website, Dazed Digital, I found photographer Kevin Morosky.tumblr_mdpqrimIeP1rlwse4o1_1280

Morosky is a London based photographer who co founded the company Gloria Loves Valentine with Daren Montague. He has described the company as a gang who throws up cameras and paintbrushes rather than gang signs. Striking out against ‘spoiled rich kids and arse-lickers with no talent’ the company is made up of a group of young creatives who have a passion for photography and videography.

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Morosky has photographed celebrities Misha Barton, Billy Piper, Kelly Rowland and Ashley Madekwe. Most recently he has produced an online series titled Start a War which is his way of transforming a song written by some of his close friends We The Committee into visual imagery.

The song is also called ‘Start a War’ and depicts the troubles that can occur whilst in a relationship with someone who isn’t right for you.How leaving them for the unknown is a struggle.tumblr_mdpqvjKbzZ1rlwse4o1_1280

I imagine many people go through this whilst in a relationship. You don’t quite know how you managed without this person and can’t envision a point were you are fine without them.

Morosky’s pictures depict a flawed love. Imperfect but the girl loves the love that she is in. She cannot escape or leave it because the lines between doing better or settling for what she has have merged. She no longer knows who she truly is without her man and doesn’t know who she could be.

His images are erotic yet painful. In some photographs you can see the sadness in the girls eyes but in others you can see the longing for her tattooed lover that she can’t leave behind.tumblr_mdpqvzWl2h1rlwse4o1_1280

In the photograph of them facing each other, the guy seems happy and the girl looks as though she is remembering why she is fighting for the relationship. The glimmer of laughter makes up for all the fighting and sadness.

The close up shots add interest to the photographs. The shapes of the body are explored and tension is pouring out of the images, reminding me of personal relationship tragedies and blessings. I can feel the war that is going on in the girl’s head. Thinking how to escape and survive but worrying about the loss of all she knows.

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He uses extremely narrow depth of field in some of his photographs which creates mystery. The blurred imagery may connote the girls unsure feelings and thoughts. It makes the photographs softer inventing sorrow and sadness feelings towards the couple.

The colouring to the photographs also compliments the theme of the song’s lyrics. It is soft and pale which makes sure their is no energetic or lively feeling to the photographs.

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I am glad I turned to Dazed Digital to find this young photographer. I think he is very talented at not only taking photographs, but telling a story and depicting feelings from his subjects by using various technical techniques.

http://www.westerneye.net/comment/2012/12/photography-blog-kevin-morosky/

Photography: Explosive photography

November 2012

We all know that at the beginning of November fireworks fill our skies and bonfires ruin our fields. With this in mind I would like to introduce a style of photography that takes the explosive month literally.

A variety of people have experimented with capturing things explode and I feel it creates an impressive photograph.Alan Seller 1

I would have thought that in order to create these photographs you would need an extremely fast shutter speed, I was wrong, you need so much more skill. Photographer Alan Saller actually used a camera (Nikon 40X) which actually has a fairly slow shutter speed.

Therefore, in order to freeze time like he has done, he made his own high speed flash unit. A normal photographic flash unit gives a flash that lasts around a millisecond. Alan created one that produced a flash of a millionth of a second allowing him to capture something beyond the human eyes possibilities. He also used an automatic trigger mechanism which triggered the flash as the pellet passed through a laser beam.Alan Seller Montage

The photographs were taken in darkness and while the camera shutter is open, the high speed flash captures the image. This allows a more accurate capture of the pellet moving through the object.

I think his photographs are exciting and dangerous. What I find so interesting is the way in which photographs can freeze a single moment in time. In this case the photograph goes one step further and freezes a moment that we should never be able to physically see with our own eyes.

Alan has commented that it is a stressful process as it takes so long to set up and then it is over in less than a second. Can you imagine the mess that this style of photography leaves behind?

It is an elegant and artistic way of simply blowing things.Mark Watson Montage

There have been other photographers that have worked in a similar style. Johnny Lee and Mark Watson capture images of hammers hitting bottles and pellet’s striking through fruit. What makes Alan’s images stand out are the bright colours and the fascinating textures.

Like Alan, London photographer Edward Horsford uses a range of coloured backgrounds but his subjects are different. He captures the popping of balloons using a similar method to Alan.Johnny Lee Montage

The amount of planning, skill and procession that goes into this kind of photography is phenomenal. So much time goes into actually setting up for a single shoot. Even before the shoot begins these photographers have spent time building their own devices that allows them to capture such an unbelievable final image.Edward Horsford Montage

I take my hat off to these photographic artists.

http://www.westerneye.net/comment/2012/11/photography-blog-colour-delights/