Archive for June, 2008

could it be real?

June 25, 2008

Copyright The Sartorialist
The Sartorialist is a fashion photographer with 15 years experience in the industry. He has this wonderful project online, he snaps photos of people he encounters off the street.

Aside from the rich and layered fashion ideas one can glean, particularly from the images done in Milan, I found myself wondering… is this for real? Are these real people? They had all the qualities of characters from film and I love that! Definitely worth browsing the archives on this fantastic blog!


worlds and worlds and more worlds

June 25, 2008

Photo copyright Matthew Barney.
I always liked films, the kind of films in which you sit down and at the end it takes you maybe just a moment to emerge from the ‘reality’ of the film. The story, the characters become real. That’s something I appreciate about matthew barney’s work, the way he pushes the absurd into a reality. Even though the characters are obviously artificial the images have a reality to them, that is absent from a lot of staged photography.

I guess as a I re-think things and move toward my newest project, this is where I’m trying to be… creating a world blurring staged, documentary creating a reality that’s a complete world of it’s own. I don’t know.

what country is this?

June 24, 2008

TSA inspectors had a woman remove nipple piercings with pliars. They’ve now ruled that you must show these piercings for visual inspection. Obviously, there are other places a person can pierce that one might not want to submit for inspection…

Don’t have any piercings? That’s okay your genitals are still up for inspection… New airport scanners now can see through your clothes… but don’t worry they don’t keep copies so they say… we’ll wait for the internet site won’t we… I’m sure you’ve seen the ACLU retort, “Passengers “should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies [such as] the size of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane.”

And if that’s not enough, you also now get to pay 30 dollars round trip to check your FIRST bag. So let’s recap…

We throw you in a plane that hasn’t been safety inspected in decades, charging you 30 dollars to take bags (sorting through your undies with our disease ridden hands, no worries we wear “gloves”) but before you get on we need to see you naked in one fashion or another and if you have body piercings we want to watch you remove them (yummy)… I suppose my only question now is… do you get vasoline with this experience?

I’m just disgusted by all of this. But I’m also tired so this post probably makes no sense ha ha ha…

reality and other fictions

June 20, 2008

I guess I’ve always been interested in the line between reality and fiction. Bewteen documentary and staged photography. I’ve been kicking it around in my head for years. I guess I’m a product of the age we’re in… everyone’s kicking this around.

In Nosferatu, Werner Herzog hired gypsies to play the role of gypsies warning the young protagonist (played by Bruno Ganz) not to go to Count Orlok’s castle. There is something magical about that mixing of the real and imagined. Herzog calls this kind of mix ecstatic truth….

I’m bored by alot of documentary photography. It reminds me of dry academic texts created by removed, dispassionate researchers who some how believe that applying the right system of organization will provide sense to the world. I have no use for that, I read and saw enough of this in grad school.

Maybe it’s systems. Systems that I’m tired of… we’re all so organized, sensible, systematized. It’s exhausting and lacks magic, mystery.


This image, here. It’s by Tomas Munita. I like much of his work. I like this particular image because it looks like a fake to me. The tight composition, the lighting… it has a painterly quality to it, I wonder if he asked them to sit like this, moved people out of the way not to break his composition. I don’t really care what this image is depicting, I care more about what I can think of, what it let permits me to see. 

Too much of what we see is closed. It demands of us, you will see this. Blah! 

Another great video… wow

June 19, 2008

mask failures in film

June 16, 2008

I was really excited when I first saw the trailer for the film the strangers. Sitting in a cool theatre on a Saturday morning watching previews, the woman in front of me whispered “holy shit that looks scary” to the man next to her. I agreed. The trailer, unfortunately, is probably the most haunting part of the film.

I think many things went wrong with this film, among them the absolutely absurd gender relations that made the characters unreal to me. But the thing that bothered me the most was the use of the masks, which initially was incredibly effective, but then somehow as the movie went on became increasingly less effective. Do we need to know what lies behind the mask for the mask to be scary? By the end I was so disconnected from the killers that they didn’t scare me at all, they were like the wind or the moon. They became devoid of intent, inanimate.

Now I know what you’re saying. What about characters like Michael Myers. Well we don’t see their faces right? But we do see behind the mask in the sense of the back stories of abuse, etc. The use of masks in horror is a generally frustrating issue for me in the last couple of years. Think about hostel, the image of the pig-man mask. When I first saw this image, I was stunned. This was an iconic mask. This was a symbol of brutality and …. during it’s 10 seconds of screen time it essentially served the same function as a pair of plastic glasses and beard disguise. Pointless.

For me the most effective use of a mask in recent years, has to be Rob Zombie’s recreation of Halloween. The handmade paper masks on the walls in Michael’s cell scream out as though they embody the demons inside his head. And of course there is the way the young Michael uses the mask as transformation. Is he the mask? Or is the mask the evil he allows to take his body? Maybe that’s why that mask has become so iconic.

One of the things that I always liked about the original Halloween was how the audience was cast into the POV of the killer, of Michael. If masks exist to take on new identities to escape the confines of what makes us, us… then perhaps film itself is becoming our greatest mask.

Fencing Story of Interest

June 16, 2008

I found this story both surprising and interesting. I am always fascinated by how sports manifest and how they are modified to meet the needs of communities.

Instrumental and Symbolic

June 15, 2008

Masks are all around us. Today I was thinking to myself, what makes a mask. What is a mask? What is it for basically? I mean consider these two examples…

Obviously these masks seem very different and yet they’re both masks. It seems to me they represent the two large categories of masks… instrumental and symbolic. Masks ultimately exist either to protect the face or to allow us to take on another identity… to evoke a spirit if you will or to transform…

Of course it can’t be that simple… a mardi gras mask may let one loosen social restraints and take on a “wild” identity, but in some ways doesn’t a medical mask do the same? By placing the guard we are protecting ourselves from germs or protecting others from our germs and yet aren’t we transforming our identity when we wear the mask? Are we not becoming the sick or becoming the authority of doctor, of medical professional? So in a way it seems to me that even instrumental masks have symbolic functions.

Why are masks so haunting? So frightening and compelling?


June 14, 2008

Masks… Masks… Masks…

June 11, 2008

I love masks. Here are a few masks that I found recently on the net and find very interesting…