Richard Billingham | Dysfunction & Alcoholism

  Richard Billingham,  Untitled  (1995), from the  Ray’s a Laugh  series. Copyright of the artist, courtesy of Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London.

 Richard Billingham, Untitled (1995), from the Ray’s a Laugh series. Copyright of the artist, courtesy of Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London.

Photographer and filmmaker Richard Billingham, uses a unique method of facing the memories of his feral family life growing up on a Midland’s council estate. The artist creates the most beautifully disgusting photographs that encompass how vital the documentation of real life is, creating something so unsettling and repulsive while simultaneously prepossessing and peaceful.  

The artist uses a distinctive form of subconscious rumination. His photographic work was originally intended for use as source material for painting. It was unknown to him that his photographs had a much deeper and underlying importance. His work now takes the subject matter of caged animals; reminiscent of his earlier work: he and his parents cooped up in their council flat like untamed animals in a cage, unable to escape their uninviting reality, rancid walls consumed with dirt and wild dysfunctionality. Both of the photographic series' express despair and desolation.

In 2016, Billingham produced the first part of his three-part film, Ray documenting his father’s self destruction after his wife, Richard’s mother, Liz, became estranged from the family. Ray is a visual depiction of Richard’s memory. He portrays his father becoming a secluded prisoner in his own bedroom due to his chronic alcohol addiction. The first visual segment is the battle for control over Ray by Liz, and neighbour Sid.

 Richard Billingham,  Untitled  (1996), chromogenic print, 105 x 158 cm. Copyright to the artist, courtesy of Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London.

Richard Billingham, Untitled (1996), chromogenic print, 105 x 158 cm. Copyright to the artist, courtesy of Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London.

 Richard Billingham,  Untitled  (1990), colour print on aluminium, 105 x 158 cm. Copyright of the artist.

Richard Billingham, Untitled (1990), colour print on aluminium, 105 x 158 cm. Copyright of the artist.

Part of me feels unsympathetic to the way the film has been produced as it is recreated with actors. The acting aspect of the film diminishes the aesthetics of real-life quality values, even though they can be seen in the artist’s family photographs. Billingham has recreated the film the way that he interpreted it in life, but the events taking place in the film are somewhat fabricated. The words and actions are incomplete and we are seeing Ray being acted from the artist’s point of view - not from real life events.

However, the message is still resonant. I have experienced childhood trauma in the form of alcoholism and can thoroughly relate to the film. Yet it appears that what we see is only the surface. Although we’re seeing what Ray was like through his son’s eyes, the film somewhat lacks the basic emotional depth that really grasps the viewer.

Nevertheless, the emotionless qualities of the film are a harsh reality of what an alcohol addiction is really like. Drink is the only thing on the alcoholic’s mind; regardless of whether they’re emotionally torturing their loved ones. The living conditions and poverty are a secondary thought to the primary selfish needs of alcohol.

Billingham’s film, Fishtank (1998) is an extreme juxtaposition to Ray. The realistic comparisons between Ray and Fishtank are noticeable. The way that Fishtank is produced shows the grittily realist dysfunctionality of Billingham’s family life. The film is made from real life events currently happening in the family home and we can see the way that Ray naturally acts when he believes no one is watching.

While there are some beautifully happy moments in Fishtank; when we diminish the laughing and smiling, it becomes apparent the conditions the family are living in are treacherous and traumatising. The grim reality of the situation alludes to the parent's neglectful nature towards their home and to a certain degree, their children’s psychological state.

Although we can clearly see that the Billingham family are watching a documentary about fish, leading us to believe this is what the film is named after; we can question whether the name itself sheds more light into the way that the artist perceives his father; confined in a metaphorical fish tank. Ray is the fish and alcohol is the water. In Ray’s addicted mind, he needs the intoxicating fluid to survive.

The way Billingham documents his family life appears to be a display of deep psychological loneliness, and the way he photographs caged animals is comparable to the way he perceives his life. The level of unease he can express with something so simple, suggests he is more comfortable with neglect than with beauty.  

Lindsey Bahr | Journey Into The Dreamlands

Journey Into The Dreamlands is the ethereal, dreamlike series from New Jersey based photographer, Lindsey Bahr, featuring musician, David Ross Lawn. The pair create a soft intimacy, exploring themes of fragility and surreality through their imagery.

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Photographer Lindsey creates a surrealistic world through her photographic work, capturing the pure essence of her creative dream dimension:

"This set of photographs captures a glimpse into another dimension, a world I call The Dreamlands. We have all been to this parallel world, but for me it’s a bit deeper than just a dream, it’s an obsession. It’s a world that I visit and have become fascinated with finding and capturing it’s essence and pure emotion. These images represent an aspect of that world; a familiar and comforting feeling but with a sense of dread and uneasiness hidden just under the surface."

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Aiming to convey an atmosphere of intimacy, this is transmuted through David's connection to Lindsey and his surroundings:

"I like to describe modelling as an extension of 'the self'- a liberation of mind & body, working in harmony with the lens. I aim to channel an essence of intimacy with my surroundings, whatever they may be, and the photographer captures & interprets this intimacy, adding into the atmosphere their own creative flair. that is, to me, how this set was achieved. I live for such interaction."

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See more of Lindsey and David's collaborative work in our upcoming print volume, Dreams.

Jalal Abuthina | Jettisoned on Atman

"In a distant star system, somewhere just beyond Orion's tail, lies a small sulphur planet with a single moon orbiting it.

To most spiritually evolved civilisations throughout the universe capable of celestial travel, this moon, known as Atman, is as revered as it is feared, and usually only ever spoken of in hushed reserve. Few know of its exact location, and even fewer the true details of its puzzling history.

Passage to this coveted and most sacred of places is reserved only through the Circle of Elders, and it is believed that entry into its gravity field can only take place post-ritual.

Visits to Atman are forbidden, even to members of the Circle. The only ones allowed to set foot on its sands are those known as the Emsheh, the unreachable. Members of the Emsheh tribe are considered throughout all worlds to be the most dangerous and corrupt of individuals. Believed to be stripped of all spirit, they pose the greatest threat to the state of cosmic peace that the Circle strives so hard to maintain.

Traditionally, on the rare occasion one is seized and in the custody of the Circle, Emsheh are taken to Atman to face their reckoning. No one can say for sure what happens on Atman when one is delivered there. But somehow, it conspires to give each visitor a unique experience, ultimately curing them of their abominations and afflictions.

As always, the Emsheh will emerge unscathed, rebirthed, and free from any memory of their time there..."

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Jettisoned on Atman is the mystical series by Dubai-based visual artist, writer and photographer, Jalal Abuthina, featuring musician, Hamdan Al Abri. Jalal's personal work varies highly in subject matter and approach, and drifts between locally focused photo documentaries, public intervention projects, and his own personal excursions into the curious and surreal.

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While location scouting around Dubai for this series, the artist came across an obscure construction site that rested on a small reclaimed island off one of the city's main beaches.

"For the past few years, the concrete pillars of the site had been covered by giant sand dunes by the developer to conceal the incomplete work, and at the end of last year, the sand was finally cleared before re-commencement of construction plans for the development. Throughout the years being buried in the sand, the combination of sea sand, salt and time had accumulated and interacted with the concrete and metal pillars in their own way - resulting in a very strange (but beautiful) aesthetic that set the site aside from any other I'd ever seen. Combined with the fact that the location was sealed off from the public and completely secluded on its own island, it looked and felt like a completely foreign place."

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Both Jalal and Abri were drawn to the genuine mystique of the spot.

"We couldn't help but start throwing ideas back and forth at each other with the underlying inspiration seeding from the actual environment itself, and wanting to do something that could visually play on the impression of that first encounter we had with it. So we did, and it ended up being a mishmash of ideas woven into a storyline that was shot over two sunrises. Last month, the pillars were demolished and construction plans for a new beachside development have already begun on the site, so we were really happy about deciding to do the shoot there and to be able to capture this fluke occurrence in time in our own way."

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Site hieroglyphics drawn by Naeemah Petersen, with clothing provided by Dubai based designer, Aliya Tair.

Luka Naujoks | Someone's Soul

Please be aware this post contains imagery which may be distressing to some.

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Today we are featuring the poignant work of 18-year-old German artist, Luka Naujoks. Someone's Soul is a photo documentary series exploring mental illness, combining the external and visible effects of emotional pain and trauma, with the underlying, internal and invisible effects.

 "It was important for me not to focus so much on the outward, but on what happened inside people, in their minds and souls, and to display the very intimate stories and personal emotions of strangers, which at first sight can hardly be imagined."
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Upcoming Event | analogueNOW!

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Fellow Berlin-based analogue photography lovers, coming up this weekend, 13th - 15th October, is analogueNOW!

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The weekend is packed full of all things analogue! With show & tells, workshops, portfolio reviews, networking opportunities, and concerts, photographers and photo enthusiasts are able to discover and explore current techniques and new approaches.

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Beginning in 2015 with the first edition of the festival, the original concept aimed to convey the idea that analogue photography was not simply a matter of nostalgia, but a conscious, aesthetic decision.

The platform also holds a series of monthly events - for example, the Analoger Foto-Stammtisch (AFST), held on every last Wednesday of the month, which is an open meet up with the goal of bringing together both film photographers and film photography fans alike.

With changing topics and locations, they also organise photo walks, workshops, visits of photography exhibitions, lectures and presentations, activities meant to bring together institutions and photographers, with an emphasis on community building supportive networks.

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13-15th October 2017

BLO-Ateliers, Kaskelstr. 55, 10317 Berlin, Germany

Facebook Event

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September Contest Winners: MUSE

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our September photo contest themed Muse, it was beautiful to see the people and places that make your soul ache and push you to create. Here are the three winning entries:

RYHN Jewellery | 'The Idylls' Collection

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Today we are featuring the stunningly understated and texture-rich handcrafted jewellery collection, The Idylls, by RYHN. Each piece is meticulously handcrafted in studio by designer and metalsmith, Kathryne Radburn. Expansive, raw Canadian landscapes and Roloff Beny's photo book, To Every Thing There Is A Season, were the inspiration for the sculptural designs of this softly amorphous, simple and dark collection. Experimenting with an aesthetic that embraces the natural properties of metals and gems, each piece of jewellery is textured to give the elegance of wear and age of a treasured heirloom.

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"I’m a metalsmith by trade, but I’m very much inspired by art and the natural world. The intersection of the two - that balance - and how it can influence jewellery is what I find really exciting. 
In my studio I was experimenting with shapes and raw textures, collecting objects and artifacts from places that inspired me like various tree barks from the woods, a barnacle covered rock from the beach. I also kept going back to this Roloff Beny photo book To Every Thing There Is A Season. I found I had a longing for the landscapes in the photographs and the idea of these places became romanticised in my head.
Craftsmanship and an attention to detail in the creation of every piece, is very important to me. As is the story behind the line. The inaugural collection from RYHN, The Idylls, is named for my experience of these landscapes, so vast and beautiful. I would long for these places or the idea of these places, and it inspired me to translate them into texture - to make patterns which I could put onto jewellery. So from a distance the piece has a minimalist, timeless shape, but close up it’s a miniature wearable landscape. 
The textures in the jewellery, inspired by rugged, nostalgia-filled Canadian landscapes, both real and imagined, are an analog for this raw, romanticised emotion."
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Find out more & purchase here: 

Website

Instagram

Five Years | Kickstarter Campaign

For the last five years, Manchester-based photographer Elegia, has collaborated and worked with friend & muse, Faye. The two are celebrating their long collaborative relationship by condensing their extensive body of work into a stunning coffee table book.

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"Faye and I have been working together since 2012, when I was at the very beginning of my journey into photography. Over the last five years we've become friends as well as collaborators. We've created hundreds of images in various settings over the North West of England; seeking out locations which combine our love for brutalist architecture, design and pop culture. Many of our ideas come from a shared appreciation of cinema and music, which we like to make (obscure) references to in our styling and props. We often travel around to other parts of the UK and overseas, whenever we find a new house or outdoor space that looks like it has the potential to suit our style. 

After so many years of working together, we understandably have hundreds of images to choose from and over the last few months we've been curating what we feel is the best of our work to publish in the book. The design process has already begun and the book will be 200+ pages featuring Polaroids, 35mm and 120 film images; as well as many collages, drawings and mixed media pieces."

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Help fund this wonderful project by backing their Kickstarter campaign here!

 

Ghanwa Rana | 'I Am Writing You From A Country Far Away...'

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Paris-based photographer and filmmaker, Ghanwa Rana, shares with us her upcoming documentary project, Tamaghose. Translated as "source of hope", the film focuses on the women of Kabylia, the region north of Algeria. The artist visited for the first time in February 2016, where she shot with her Holga 120N and came back with a series of moving black and white images, which she then titled, I Am Writing You From Far Away, a selection of which are featured here.

With a degree in Theatre, Cinema & Anthropology, and a masters degree in filmmaking, specialising in documentary making, Ghanwa decided to create something which explored the lives and identities of the Kabyle women, from growing up in a war zone to the way in which they expressed themselves, through singing, tattoos, jewellery and carpet-making.

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Ghanwa pursued this project due to her curiosity in elderly people and "the secrets they may hold", and the idea of those secrets passing on through the generations. She also wanted to explore the idea that human beings from all around the world share a commonality, from the way people dress and get ready, to their tattoos and jewellery:

"There are so many similarities with ways of doing things and the reasons behind them... Afghan and Kabyle jewellery have so much in common, as much as Rajasthani face tattoo and Maori tattoos... I wanted to make something in my way, about sharing those stories."

The artist has wanted to pursue the project for years:

"It's something I've been thinking of since I was 15 or 16 years old... so it's getting more intense with time and meeting people, throwing my lens into a whole new world... So when I met Lisa, a sound engineer and one of my best friends, it was obvious we wanted to work together, and as aspiring filmmakers, we wanted to create something after our studies. And there's something important about that project why I'm doing it now, It's because I feel like it's already too late. In Kabylia, the women I want to share the stories of are very old, there's even a woman of 105 years old. They were little girls or teenagers during the war. I've already lost two of them since my first journey there. And with them it's there stories, the secrets that they are leaving... In some years it's just going to be some old stories a grandmother used to tell, and some objects in museums and replications of those objects for merchandising but the spirit of it would just won't be there... they are the last guardians of those secrets and those skills and its the beliefs of a social group that will be lost... It's already started. That's the thing with old people... They get fragile, and start forgetting... It's heartbreaking."

Filming of Tamaghose will commence in December of this year. See more of Ghanwa's work here.

David Ross Lawn | Photography by Lindsey Bahr

 
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Today we are doing something a little different... For a long time now we have been considering the idea of taking our publication from simply a platform for film photography to one which showcases every kind of artistic notion. The one commonality: emotion. We want to be a platform which showcases work dripping with raw emotion & feeling. We want to make you feel in this world which can often be devoid of sensitivity and softness. What better way to begin this journey than with the beautiful, dreamlike debut EP, Songs of the Sun, from published composer and performer, David Ross Lawn.

From the first moment, the pensive and expressive elements of sensitivity can be felt. A unique ability to simultaneously evoke a sense of melancholy and a feeling of hope, whilst gently giving way to soothing, melodic, meditative moments. The EP comprises of a four track piano solo, marking various landscapes of perspective through a minimalist and cinematic sound aesthetic:

"My main inspiration and keyword for this album is interaction: how the human condition interacts (or doesn’t) with the clarity of nature: how two people can stare through each other in a coffee shop as if they don’t exist together; how the moment of clarity can be archived. I feel like there is an architecture to a moment, and this project is my way of portraying interactions that I have either encountered with the world, or interactions that I have witnessed happening in-front of my eyes. With the artwork, an interaction is shown between the human and the sun: how the light is always keeping us warm, but we aren’t always fully present to feel."

 

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Beautiful photography by Lindsey Bahr.

Purchase Songs of the Sun here.

Stream Songs of the Sun on Spotify here.


David Ross Lawn (b.1992) is a published and commissioned composer and performer of contemporary vocal and instrumental music. As a performer (oboe, piano and voice) he has performed in various symphony orchestras, concert bands, professional choirs and opera companies around Europe and the United States.  As a composer, his recent piano solo work has had various features in Scottish Television and online high fashion promotions. As a vocal composer, he has received a number of commissions, awards, and publishings with GIA Publications & Walton Music, and is continuing to work on a large-scale project with several living poets.

Upcoming Exhibition | Matthew Finley 'Fragile'

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Running from October 13th to November 19th is LA-based photographer, Matthew Finley's solo exhibition, Fragile, held at A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas. Curated by Amanda Smith and Kevin Tully, original 7x7" and 12x12" tintypes will be shown from the artist's series exploring the difficulties that come with social anxiety and introversion:

"This series has become a reflection of my own struggle with being a shy introvert who seeks connection, yet more often hides or "puts on" what I think others want of me. Anxious, self-conscious, awkward. I have made literal our societal programming to pack away those "unappealing" qualities, felt by many but hidden. In our cultural history, the person with the bigger personality and the biggest mouth is often the most prized. They are the squeaky wheel that gets greased. Those who struggle with expressing their thoughts and feelings are told they are not good enough. Or, more tragically, they are simply ignored. The "less than's", must box away our fragile hearts, affix the correct face, and head out to try and be noticed."

Opening: October 28 4-8pm

Running: October 13 to November 19 2017

For more information, click here.

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Matthew Finley is a photographer based in Los Angeles, he is a member of the Advanced Photography Critique Group at CPW. He has been involved in a number of exhibitions across the West Coast, as well as New Orleans & Cincinnati. He has also had his work published in several publications, including Fraction Magazine, Shots Magazine, Plates to Pixels, and our latest book.

PHOTO CONTEST | SEPT 2017

After the success of our first Ethereal Light photo contest in August, we are moving on to our next month's theme... Muse. This month we want to see your analogue photographs of the people and things in your life which make your soul ache, inspire you and move you.

Find the entry rules on our insta post!

Three winners will be announced on the 25th September, each will be featured on our website and receive a free tote bag!

Good luck!

 

PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS | AUG 2017

Each month we will be holding a photo contest based on various themes. To celebrate our first month we decided to give away some wonderful prizes, including a copy of our special edition book, tote bags & prints. This month's theme was Ethereal Light, we had some incredible entries but eventually we had to choose!

 FIRST PRIZE:  Brigita Ercegovic

FIRST PRIZE: Brigita Ercegovic

Our first prize winner is photographer Brigita Ercegovic, based in Split, Crotia. Preferring analogue formats for the mood and emotion it brings, her work is nostalgic and intimate, capturing moments of isolation and melancholy. Her first noted exhibition was her solo show in Belgrade in 2008, and has since been presented in several group exhibitions and various publications.

 SECOND PRIZE:  Chiara Cappetta

SECOND PRIZE: Chiara Cappetta

Our second prize winner is twenty-year-old self-taught photographer Chiara Cappetta, based in Bologna, Italy.  As a self-confessed shy person, she began to express herself through various forms of art; ballet, piano, drawing, cinema, music... when she received her first camera at ten years old, she decided then that photography would be her chosen form of expression. In March of this year she released her first photographic book, Presente, Un'odissea, which is out now.

 THIRD PRIZE:  AylaRose La'Akea

THIRD PRIZE: AylaRose La'Akea

Our third prize winner is Hawaii-born multi-media artist and model, AylaRose La'Akea, currently based in San Francisco, California. Although working with various media and formats, her main outlet is analogue photography. With a focus on fine art, portraiture and lifestyle shots, she seeks to convey honest emotion and feeling. 

 

Thank you so much to everyone that entered, details on the September contest will be up on the blog soon!