I recently came across these two paintings in an Auckland charity shop.
They are around a metre across and very precisely painted. They now hang on my wall and I have spent quite a while thinking about them. About who commissioned them and who painted them. About where the buildings are and what they look like now.
Click on the images to see them full size.
It is a wonderful thing when an artist finds or invents the perfect medium for telling their story.
In the 1970s Kohei Yoshiyuki wanted to document the phenomenon of people meeting in Tokyo’s parks after dark for anonymous sex and, more than this the men who would silently observe under cover of darkness and sometimes shrubbery. Yoshiyuki found the perfect tool in the form of a 35mm camera loaded with infrared film and fitted with an infrared flash which is invisible to the human eye. The topic of voyeurism has been has been part of photography since its invention so it is interesting to think about looking at images made by a man watching men watching people being intimate.
The photographs were first exhibited in an exhibition of life sized prints in 1979. The gallery was in pitch darkness and each visitor was given a flashlight as Yoshiyuki wanted to recreate the feeling of the park. I wish I could have been there.
In The Photobook, A History, Vol. II, Parr and Badger write that Document Park “is a brilliant piece of social documentation, catching perfectly the loneliness, sadness and desperation that so often accompany sexual or human relationships in a big, hard metropolis like Tokyo”.
A collection of these photographs was published by Hatje Cantz as The Park in 2007 and the series was exhibited by Yossi Milo.
Stephen Meisel recently shot a fashion story in the style of The Park with a modern ‘dogging’ twist. It was deemed too controversial for Vogue Italia but was picked up by the American magazine V.
I remember the first time I saw David Burnett’s photographs showing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans back in 2006. The accompanied an article in National Geographic and it was the first time that I realised that documentary photography wasn’t just about being amidst the action with a Leica and Tri-x 1600. Documentary photographs could be slow, contemplative, beautiful even.
Soon after I bought a 1950s Speed Graphic from ebay. When each exposure costs £7, you tend not to waste too many.
You can see the whole series HERE.
Each year there is an annual short film making contest in New Zealand called V48 Hours.
Entrants have just one weekend to write, shoot and edit a short film.
This years winner came from The Downlow Concept and is hilarious.
I am often amazed by the amount of free information to be found on the internet if you know where to look.
Creative Live hosts live classes on subjects such as studio lighting and HDDSLR film-making with pro photographers such as Zack Arias, Vincent Laforet and Chase Jarvis. These are not short tutorials but comprehensive courses of around 20 hours.
The classes are free to watch live but you have to pay if you want to download and watch them at your leisure. At US$80-120 though, I think they are an absolute bargain considering the amount of information they contain. I’m looking forward to watching the What’s New in Photoshop CS5 in the morning with some coffee and cake.
The next free course is July 23-25 with David duChemin and Chase Jarvis on improving your your photography and post-production. Details here
The Photoshelter Blog has also got in on the action and Tim Mantoani is giving an interactive webinar next week (1100 Wed 14th July Auckland time).
note: all of the underlined words in my posts link to related webpages.
The New Zealand Film Festival begins today. You can see all the trailers and posters here.
The best films I saw at last years festival were Big River Man and Moon. I went to see Moon purely based on the amazing poster design. The best poster designs this year are for Teenage Paparazzo and Space Tourists.
Buster Keaton’s 1924 film Sherlock Jr. will be a highlight for me this year. I’m also looking forward to watching Animal Kingdom, Four Lions, Mammut and Exit Through the Gift Shop.