Monthly Archives: September 2015

white paper bags


Katy Bowman, Clutch,  Paper bags,bulldog clip H:20cm W:40cm D:20cm (from here) 

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I can never remember who I am whenever I’m photographed

Extract from lunchtime conversation between Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud, witnessed by John Heilpern and Jane Bow

JG : I think I’d rather be photographed than drawn. David Hockney did a drawing of me when I was 70 and I thought if I really look like that I must kill myself tomorrow.

RR : It wasn’t too bad, Johnny.

JG : It’s awfully difficult to reconcile yourself with your image at any age, I think. I couldn’t get over Garbo being 70 the other day. Did you see that photo of her? It really shocked me. Photography is rather a terrifying medium. Look at Richard Avedon’s pictures. Merciless! He photographed me once and asked me to cry for him. So I thought of everyone I loved and the tears flowed like mad. But he never published the picture anywhere. Two hours of crying for nothing. I was very cross.

RR : The trouble is I can never remember who I am whenever I’m photographed. Who am I? I find I’m no one in particular and it tends to emerge in the photos.   . . .

JG : It’s strange. I never feel secure whenever I’m photographed in costume at dress rehearsals. You’re not yet the character that’s being photographed. When you’ve been playing a part for a little while you get the right face for it. You can see it.

RR : It’s fascinating what part of your body feels right when you’re preparing for a role. I don’t know whether you find this but I sometimes find it starts to come to me in my… feet. You can feel secure in your feet. The role comes gradually with various parts of the body. It doesn’t fill the anatomy at once. Sometimes the voice is behind. Other times, I feel very secure in my … eyes.

from here

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Mr Iconoclast

Pamela Irving, Mr Iconoclast

Pamela Irving, Mr Iconoclast 2015

Iconoclast: a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition. a breaker or destroyer of images, especially those set up for religious veneration.

Mr Iconoclast is created from pieces of broken and destroyed ceramics.

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Of a time and place

Things you have written don’t grow old with you, at least so it seems to me. It’s true that they may seemed marked by time, but there’s no such thing as being up-to-date when the time is past. They either go on outside of any date or cease to exist. Literature proceeds this way. Books mark a period or place and then gradually they become that place and time.     James Salter,  Life Into Art, The Paris Review, no 214, Fall 2015


You   could say the same of photographs, paintings, film.


Found Photo from here


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To whisper down a well

Could 1

If you are not the free person you want to be you must find a place to tell the truth about that. To tell how things go for you. Candor is like a skein being produced inside the belly day after day, it has to get itself woven out somewhere. You could whisper down a well. You could write a letter and keep it in a drawer. You could inscribe a curse on a ribbon of lead and bury it in the ground to lie unread for thousands of years. The point is not to find a reader, the point is the telling itself. Consider a person standing alone in a room. The house is silent. She is looking down at a piece of paper. Nothing else exists. All her veins go down into this paper. She takes her pen and writes on it some marks no one else will ever see, she bestows on it a kind of surplus, she tops it off with a gesture as private and accurate as her own name.  Anne Carson (from here) 

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The cruelty of the birthday present

In H is for Hawk,Helen Macdonald describes a  present T.H White’s father gives him for his birthday

‘His hawk had beaten him, and he could not bear to fight it any more. But I think that it was more than this, much more. When I think of the tragedy of White and Gos I think of a small boy back in India standing in front of a wooden play-castle his father has made for his birthday. It is a big castle, big enough to get into, and his father has fixed a real pistol barrel to the battlements. It is to fire a salut for his birthday, but the little boy stares at it in dread. His father has forced him to stand in front of the castle, and he knows he is to be executed. There is nothing he can do. He is powerless. He cries silently, inconsolably, knowing that his father will shoot him, knowing he is about to die.’

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Emily Bronte’s pet merlin-hawk

img_5458-r(more here)


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How does one learn to be an observer?

[The author’s father a newspaper photographer, has died. In her grief she trains a hawk which requires making oneself invisible, observing]

The chaffinch was calling again. How you learn what you are. Had I learned to be a watcher from my father? Was it a kind of childhood mimicking of his professional strategy for dealing with difficulty? I kicked the thought around for a while, and then kicked it away. No, I thought. It was more I can’t think that than It’s not true. All those thousands upon thousands of photographs my father had taken. Think of them instead. Each one a record, a testament, a bulwark against forgetting, against nothingness, against death. Look, this happened. A thing happened, and now it will never unhappen. Here it is, in the photograph: a baby putting its tiny hand in the wrinkled palm of an octogenerarian. A fox running across a woodland path and a man raising a gun to shoot it. A car wreck. A plane crash. A comet smeared across the morning sky. A prime minister wiping his brow. The Beatles, sitting at a café table on the Champ-Elysees on a cold January day in 1964, John Lennon’s pale face under the brim of his fisherman’s cap. All these things had happened, and my father had committed them to a memory that wasn’t just his own but the worlds. My father’s life wasn’t about disappearance . His was a life that worked against it.

Helen Macdonald H is for Hawk

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The quality of being alone

eunuversode sight

Found Photo from here 


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The Quality of Silence

One of the things from my painting days that I sorely miss is a certain quality of silence. As the working day progressed and I sank steadily deeper into the depths of the painted surface, the world’s prattle would retreat, like an ebbing tide, leaving me at the centre of a great hollow stillness. It was more than an absence of sound: it was as if a new medium had risen up and enveloped me, something dense and luminous, an air less penetrable than air, a light that was more than light. In it I would seem suspended, at once entranced and quick with awareness, alive to the faintest nuance, the subtlest play of pigment, line and form. Alive? Was that life, after all, and I didn’t recognise it? Yes, a kind of life, but not life enough for me to say I was living.

John Banville, The Blue Guitar

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