Mar 28 2012: Sepia-Toned Monochrome Photograph Showing A Swarm Of Bees (Date Unknown)

This undated image of bees swarming has hung around my desk for several years now, pretty much since I found it inside the pages of an old encyclopaedia sometime around 2006. What it shows is both commonplace, insofar as bees form swarms regularly: the sight of one isn’t an everyday occurance, but nor is it … Continue reading

Mar 25 2012: Forty-Three Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Six (1958)

If yesterday’s images by Edward Mortelmans from the 1958 edition of Girl Annual seemed to draw inspiration from the paintings of Laura Knight, the forty-three sampled monochrome illustrations seen here have no such unifying element beyond being largely executed in line and wash, and seeming largely unchanged in format from the kind of images that … Continue reading

Mar 22 2012: Seven Snapshots from Everyday Life United By Their Square Format (c.1960s)

If yesterday’s gallery of children was unified by nothing beyond the subject, today’s equally random gallery is unified only by the square format of the photographs: the subject matter veers from a man in an aqualung and another posing on a beach in swimming trunks to a woman standing beside a window and an elderly … Continue reading

Mar 20 2012: Fourteen Monochrome Photographs Showing Men In A Variety Of Roles and Locations (1900s – 1970s)

Talking to someone who’s been following these posts recently led to a point being made that I’d only half-noted myself: that there were far more images of women gathered here than of men. In commercial and advertising photography, the reasons for that imbalance are well-rehearsed, insofar as commercial messages aimed at women tend to present … Continue reading

Mar 9 2012: Possible Portrait of Francoise Sagan from Studio A Sandrei (Sainte-Maxime, Undated)

Another portrait of a woman, singled out here by the possibility that she might be none other than the author of Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan, seen in some cafe or bar of the 1950s or 60s. The girl at the centre of the image certainly closely resembles Sagan, and the photograph itself had been kept … Continue reading

Mar 7 2012: Five Portraits Featuring an Unknown Dark-Haired Woman (c.1970s)

Ahead of a planned gallery of portraits to mark International Womens’ Day, I noticed that this particular lady turned up in several of the photographs I’d set aside to scan, creating her own sub-group of pictures within the larger group of female photographs: the odd thing is that I don’t recall these arriving together, or … Continue reading

Magic Show at QUAD Gallery (NVA, 2009)

The conjuror and the conceptual artist, the con-trick and the act of construction: each shares something deeper than its ‘con’ prefix, a connection that goes beyond linguistic roots to evoke focus and misdirection, suggestion and the act of ‘making visible’, the arts of provocation and end-of-pier entertainment. It’s a range made explicit in Jonathan Allen’s … Continue reading

Taking The Michael (NVA, 2012)

Taking The Michael (Out/Side/Film, 2012) 78m Ian Nesbitt receives a call from Matthew Pountney, who has in turn received a call of his own – or at least, “a very direct communication” – from the universe. “It’s something to do with 2012”, he explains, referring to the Mayan Prophecy that is often interpreted as meaning … Continue reading

An A to Z of Artists Writing and Writers in Art (NVA, 2009)

A is for…Guillaume Apollinaire Guillaume Apollinaire was born in 1880 and died in 1918, but in his 38 years of life he packed in a great deal, consolidating the foundations of modernism as we know it in poetry, fiction and art with a stream of works including Zone, Calligrammes, Alcools and the stories and short … Continue reading

June 3 2011: Never Endings: An Interview With Cornelia Parker (Metro, 2007)

Cornelia Parker: Never Endings Cornelia Parker is one of the UK’s leading artists, and her highly evocative brand of conceptual art spans sculpture, installation, photography, found objects and many unusual methods of transforming everyday materials. Books are shot, sheds exploded, toys cut in half and silverware steamrollered, while in her 1997 exhibition The Maybe her … Continue reading