Monday, 30 January 2017

Juno Calypso: "In photography you're not allowed to laugh"



picture by Alejandro Acin

I saw Juno Calypso speak in Bristol (twice - once at UWE where I teach on the journalism course) and once at the Arnolfini.

She spoke to packed houses both times including to over 200 people at a sold-out Arnolfini. It's the biggest crowd there's been at an IC Visual Labs or Photobook Bristol Event and a lot more tickets could have been sold.

So what is it about Juno Calypso that makes her so popular!

It's the work. It is instantly recognisable. Mention mirrors and green bum and everybody will know who you mean. Everybody will remember it too. It goes beyond the mirrors and green bum though. Calypso says her work is about the mythologies of romance, of love, of femininity, but it's also highly cinematic work that dramatises those things but also links in to Calypso's world view and the complete weirdness of the locations and styling she uses.It hits all the big spots of gender, identity, and space but does it with humour, with the personal mixed with the sinister underbelly of those virtual sets that she photographs herself in, all told through stories in which gender, identity and space do not get a mention. Instead we hear about why baby oil gets repeated showings in her pictures - she used to have an older boyfriend who had a bottle of baby oil that would always be at completely different levels. She eventually worked out it was because he was fucking absolutely everyone. So there's baby oil in a few of the  pictures - "Sad Sex" in a bottle.

That helps explain the audience. There were a lot of young women there. In contrast, the people who buy her photographs, explained Calypso, are "drunk rich white men in suits" - there's a six-word critique of the art market for you.


A Dream in Green by Juno Calypso: "I wasn't going to show anyone this picture. It was going to be just for me."

The other reason peope came was because she's an entertaining speaker. She's really funny, and she's also very direct. At UWE she talked about the value of great teachers and a good photographic education.

But she also wondered why there is that spirit of gravity in certain sectors of photography. "You can turn People on. You can freak people out. You can make them smile. But  in photography you're not allowed to laugh" she said. "At university, you'd have breaks and everyone's joking and laughing and then you go into the seminar and everyone's deadly serious. Noone cracks a smile. Why is that?"

It's a great question. Why is it that normal, interesting, funny people suddenly start making work and saying things like "I'm interested in the politics of non-space"  and we don't wet our pants laughing and say "no, you're not." Because actually, and quite obviously they are not remotely interested in it. There are maybe 7 people in the world who are really interested in non-space (or whatever, put any word that sends shivers down your spine in here) in a meaningful way. So why say it. It's just something they say because somehow they think they are suppposed to say it. Why do they think that? Who's put that idea into their heads?

And there is a world in which this is something you are supposed to say. But it is self-defeating. The audience is small and self-selecting, it limits the work and it stops communication. Calypso could have spoken about her work in a drier way because it does reflect questions of gender and identity, but it would have been painful to sit through. Those ideas are embedded in the work, and leading with the personal and cultural insights into how and why the work was made was more engaging, interesting and life-affirming and honest.

That voice is also apparent in the way she talks about her work. She recognises the strength of the work but there is a lack of preciousness to it. "I took this big 5-4 camera with me and unpacked it but then just used the Canon 5d. It looks the same! Nobody can tell the difference," she said.

So it was great to have this different voice speaking about photography. Perhaps that voice is one of the most important things in photography. It's not just about the images, it's about how you frame them, how you talk about them, how value them. There is more than one way of talking about photographs. You don't have to talk about them with a single monotone voice. You can be interesting, you can be funny, you can be irreverent. Because photography, especially now, is not  a single monolithic audience of sober-minded people obsessessed with gender/space/identity. In fact very few people are interested in gender, space and identity. These are not interesting subjects. It's the stories which manifest gender, space and identity that are interesting and these are should be full of  life, love, tragedy, humour... And that's what Juno Calypso has. And that is why so many people came to see her talk.


:


IC Visual Labs review of the talk. 

Juno Calypso interview on Port Magazine

"Everyone was taking about Bristol. I'd never been they but we all knew you had the best fucking ketamine." Juno Calypso on Bristol

.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Primo Levi and How to tell a story



There was a piece in the Guardian on the distrust of statistics and the rise of emotion in politics. It made  a division between statistics and emotion. The overall sentiment of the piece placed statistics on the rational, scientific end of the spectrum, emotion on the other end - the end inhabited by Trump, Brexit and the swivel-eyed loons.

But statistics are emotional, they are value laden, and they carry within their numbers the values. Every morning I listen to the Today Programme on Radio 4, and I hear statistics on the economy, on growth, on GDP, on exports and imports and trade balances, all of which are passed off without a hint at the ideologies, or the destruction they represent. Economic growth is an abstract entity that has destruction embedded within it.

And of course, this way of talking is something that is relatively new. It has been accepted with barely a whimper or a questioning of where it comes from. And it determines our everyday lives, or rather the destruction of our everyday lives.

Numbers also have emotional value. This week the UK Supreme Court ruled that Article 50 (which will lead to the UK leaving Europe) could not just be passed by our unelected prime-minister, but would have to be passed by parliament.

Then yesterday, the disastrous Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, said that all labour MPs would have to vote with the Conservative government for Brexit when Article 50 came up for the parliamentary vote. If waving a white flag is the best policy the Labour Party has, then the 24% they got in a recent opinion poll is looking quite good, really, all things considered.

Except of course, it's not a white flag for Corbyn. Corbyn was always against Europe. while 'campaigning' for the Remain side Corbyn gave the EU a mark out of 10. He's never given anything else a mark out of 10 as far as I know. Not Trident, not the minimum wage, not higher taxation, not immigration, never.

But the EU got a mark out of 10 and the mark Corbyn gave was 7 (or 7.5) out of 10.

That number means something. In the 1950s after Stalin died, Chairman Mao said he was 70% good and 30% in error. Actually he said this under pressure. Mao thought Stalin was fucking great as far as Russians go but couldn't say it due to internal pressure. After Mao died, as China  stabilised politically and started on its path to world economic supremacy, Mao was also given a mark of 70% good. But here 70% meant he was a fucking psychopath nutbag who brought the country to the brink of ruin (or to complete ruin if your life was destroyed in the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution).

So 70% or 7 out of 10 can mean many things. Seventy per cent at school is an A grade. In Corbyn's case (he has a deputy who waved a copy of Mao's little red book in parliament in 2015 remember - so he knows these things) 70he's s% means the EU is a disaster and you should vote to leave. Except he couldn't just say that could he.

It's not statistics that matter so much as the voice, and the story that accompanies them. Numbers on their own make for a boring story or at least a story that doesn't engage us. A litany of statistics will often patronise us, at best might lecture us, but they won't involve us.

It's Holocaust Day today, and the evolution of the telling of the Holocaust story in images, in stories, in museums is an example of this (Janina Struk's Photographing the Holocaust: Interpretations of the Evidence is a great book on this and on the real uses of photography and the real power of photography both for evil as well as for good).

In the book, Struk tells how in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the horrific images and figures of murder at the hands of the Nazis were shown around the world. It didn't always have the intended effect. The piles of emaciated, diseased bodies dehumanised the people they had once been, the statistics were too much, Everything was too much. The images that were supposed to be anti-Nazi mirrored the anti-semitism of Nazi propaganda in some ways. And, according to Struk, people resented the propaganda, because that was the voice in which it was presented. The images were true, the figures were true but it was seen as propaganda both in Germany where it was shown, but also in the cinemas in the USA and the UK.

It told the story, but it told the story badly, and from a distant, non-personal point of view. But ways of telling stories changed and became more effective. So now in museums commemorating the holocaust, rather than (or in addition to) the horrific images, you also hear about the lives of real people, of real jews and the lives they led before they were brutally starved, mistreated and murdered.

When I taught ESOL one of the main challenges was how to change the minds of a significant minority of students who had been given the view that the holocaust was a good thing and that the only thing wrong with it was that Hitler didn't finish the job because then Israel wouldn't exist (somebody had told them this).

The statistics, the pictures, the cold hard facts of history never did the job. They were abstract, they lacked humanity, they weren't interesting. What was interesting were stories that resonated with students; "Do you love me" from Fiddler on the Roof resonated with the girls. Part of it goes like this.


(Tevye)
Golde I'm asking you a question...

Do you love me?

(Golde)
You're a fool

(Tevye)
I know...

But do you love me?

(Golde)
Do I love you?
For twenty-five years I've washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked YOUR cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

(Tevye)
Golde, The first time I met you
Was on our wedding day
I was scared

(Golde)
I was shy

(Tevye)
I was nervous

(Golde)
So was I

(Tevye)
But my father and my mother
Said we'd learn to love each other
And now I'm asking, Golde
Do you love me?

(Golde)
I'm your wife

(Tevye)
I know...
But do you love me?



And for the boys, it was Primo Levi's chicken story from the Truce. Levi has been liberated from Auschwitz and is taking the most circuitous route back to Italy imaginable. He's ended up in the USSR and he's marching from one refugee camp to another and one of his friends, Cesare, decides he's had enough of walking along an unwavering straight road with no end in sight. Cesare wants a chicken. A roast chicken. And he wants it now.No matter that he doesn't speak Russian and he has no money. He wants a chicken and he's going to get it from the village he has seen in the distance.

So Cesare goes to this village and after getting shot at and persuading the locals they are not dangerous, get down to the business of bartering some old plates for a live chicken.


'He grumbled and swore. Was it possible that it was so difficult to understand what a chicken is, and that we wanted it in exchange for six plates?  A chicken, one of those beasts that go around pecking, scratching and saying 'coccode-e-eh:' and rather half-heartedly, glowering and sullen, he put on a very second-rate imitation of the habits of the chicken, crouching on the ground, scraping first with one foot and then with the other and pecking here and there with his hands shaped like a wedge. Between one oath and the other, he also cried 'coccodee-eh;' but this rendering of the chicken's cry is of course highly conventional; it is only heard in Italy and has no currency elsewhere?

So the result was negative. They goggled at us with amazement. Why, for what conceivable reason, had we come from the ends of the earth to play the fool on their square? Hopping mad by now, Cesare even tried to lay an egg, pouring far-fetched insults on them all the while, so rendering the meaning of his performance even more obscure.'

With the locals getting more and more disturbed by Cesare's mad chicken dance, Levi saves the day by drawing a chicken in the dirt.

'...then an old woman sprang out of the hut, her eyes alight with joy and comprehension; she stepped forward a couple of paces, and in a shrill voice pronounced: "Kura! Kuritsa!"

She was very proud and happy that she had been the one to resolve the enigma. From all sides laughter and applause borke out and voices cried "Kuritsa! Kuritsa!"; and we alos clapped our hands, caught up in the game and in the general enthusiasm. The old woman curtsied, like an actress at the end of her performance; she disappeared and re-emerged after a few minutes holding a hen already plucked. She dangled it under Cesare's nose, as a double check; and when she saw that he reacted positively, she loosened her hold, collected the plates and carried them off, 

Cesare, who understood these matters because he had once had a stall at Porta Portese market, assured me that the 'kurizetta' , the little hen, was fat enough, and worth our six plates. We took it back to the hut, woke up our companions who had already fallen asleep, relit the fire, and ate it with our fingers because we no longer had any plates.'

Monday, 23 January 2017

"It's Shite Being American. We're the Lowest of the Low."



The great thing about having a blog is that you end up writing the same thing again year after year. You can repeat yourself endlessly and nobody notices too much.

And you can dink things a little and what made sense in one situation still makes sense in another. 

A few years ago, after my country showed its stupidity by voting for the Conservatives, I wrote this post. A Trainspotting view of the election. 

And with Trainspotting T2 coming out this week, it seems that it applies just as much to America. 




Renton On Being American


"It's SHITE being American! We're the lowest of the low. The 

scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched, miserable, 

servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization." 






Renton On The Reasons People Vote 

Republican


"Choose your future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to

do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose 

something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons.

Who needs reasons when you've got the Republican 

Party?"



Begbie On Donald Trump


“You fucking knew that fucking cunt would 

fuck some cunt.” 


(PS The blog is looking forward to a guest appearance by Begbie on the blog.)

There is no god! That's my call to prayer.



Donald Trump is now president of the United States. He is a man who has already put open deceit and lying at the centre of his presidency. He has not even been president a week and he has made the United States the laughing stock of the world.

Here is a man who brags about sexually abusing women yet still got voted into power. As an individual this abuse makes him backward and lesser. As a country that voted him into office it makes the United States backward and lesser.

It does make you wonder why people are so hateful to women. Why are they so scared of them tht they need to oppress them on a daily basis.

And yet, so often we excuse this oppression. I see it and hear of it all the time here in the UK, and it happens on a global scale. If an individual were to confine, mutilate, burn, beat, rape, force a woman to marry, or simply 'grab her by the pussy', you'd say that individual was dysfunctional or psychopathic.

And by the same token, we should say that if a society legitimises those actions, it is dysfunctional and psychopathic. It's lesser.  It's backward.

Using nationalism (see this story), religion, politics or tradition as a justification for this male violence is no excuse. It's part of that backwardness, part of that male fear of women, that male terror of the female that has somehow come to be seen as an excuse for the most barbaric of mistreatments.

The heartening thing about the Trump presidency is the number of women who came out around the world to protest his presidency, to protest the abuse of women on a global scale. This was particularly important in the US because it showed all those values that sometimes seem so mythical in the US, but here were made concrete. They elevated the United States, they recovered it. These were demonstrations of truth and justice that didn't make any excuses for violence and oppression of women. Because it happens everywhere, because there are men of every religion, every nationality, every political persuasion who are opportunist enough to hide their violent indadequacies behind the shield of religion, nationalism or ideology.

I'm not a nationalist, I'm not an ideologue, and I'm definitely not religious.

There is no god!

That's my call to prayer. No god, no allah, no Siva, no Jesus that rose from the dead, no koran that was dictated by god, no nirvana, no god who has promised any land to anyone ever. There is no god.

If you excuse the oppression of women because of religion, because of god, you are lesser. You diminish your belief and the belief of those who use religion for justice and good. If you are right wing and you oppress women, you are lesser. If you are left wing and you abuse women and use dialectics to try and disguise it, you are lesser,

The hatred of women, the fear of women, the abuse of women has no boundary. It is everywhere. And it should be called out everywhere. And that is what these demonstrations around the world were about. They transcended religion, nationality and ideology. They were absolute.  If you hate women, you fear women, you abuse women, you are lesser.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Forget meitu, the GolGove app is where it's at!


There's something happening today but the real news this week is Meitu, the crazy app that makes you look super cute and a bit simple and is yet another step on the path to Chinese hegemony 

Unfortunately, my phone is too old and full to upload it so I tried making one myself  That's it above. 
It turned out to be even better than Meitu, Basically I invented a Michael Gove/Gollum app.



If millions of people do Meitu which just makes you look simple and cute, how many more are going to do The GolGove App (I've got a name for it) which makes you look like Gollum or Gove, Everyone knows the cave dwelling Gollum, but the annoying and irrelevant Gove - he's somebody only people in the UK know at the moment, but once my app gets going that will all change. An annoying and irrelevant cave dweller. Who doesn't want to look like that.

It's one that is bound to sell! And Investment opportunities (Euros, Canadian Dollars or Swiss francs please, no pounds or US dollars) are available. Please form an orderly queue.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Ein Buchrezension uber Goodbye America von Brad Feurhelm


Alles die bilder sind von Brad Feurhelm und Goodbye America

Heute ich schreibe in Deutsch für (ich habe das Umlaut gefunden!) ein Buchrezension uber Goodbye America von Brad Feurhelm.

Goodbye America hast ein glänzende Abdeckung. Drinne das Buch, es gibt viele Fotos gefunden oder gekaufen von Flohmarkt in England oder Amerika oder eine andere Land.



Diese bilder zeigt die Volk von Amerika wenn sie spielen. Aber es gibt bilder von Television. Sie sehen aus wie Screengrabben! Hier in diese bilder ist das mythologie von das Amerikanishe Welt; ein welt mit Seks und Reichtum und Vergnügen.



Aber diesen Welt ist eine Mythologie! Es ist nicht die Wirklichkeit. Es ist ein Lüge! Für Feurhelm, Amerika ist ein Korruptische Land. Es ist ein Land. Aus diesen grund, die Bilder sind verbrannt und zerkratzt. Dafur Amerika hast bekommt wirklich ein Hölle! Und es gibt auch eine Referenz zu die grosse Fotografien von Amerika wie Robert Frank.

Auf Wiedersehen Amerika. Und auf wiedersehen England auch. Die beide sind scheisse und Deutschland und China sind die Zentren der Welt!

Du kannst den buch gekaufen hier. 

Unschuldigung fur meine Deutsch. Es ist sehr schwehr und es gibt sehr viel langer worter!


Neue Wörter

Glänzende Abdeckung = glossy cover

Vergnügen = pleasure

Lüge = lie

Auf der Rückseite des Buches = At the back of the book

verbrannt und zerkratzt = burnt and scratched

Hölle = hell

Google Translate Version in English

Today I write in English for (I found the umlaut!) A book review about Goodbye America by Brad Feurhelm.

Goodbye America have a shiny cover. Inside the book, there are many photos found or bought from Flohmarkt in England or America or another country.

These pictures show the people of America when they play. But there are pictures of Television. They look like screen bugs! Here in this picture is the mythology of the American world; A world with seks and wealth and pleasure.

But this world is a mythology! It is not the reality. It's a lie! For Feurhelm, America is a corrupt country. It is a country. For this reason, the pictures are burnt and scratched. For America you got really a hell! And there is also one.

Goodbye America. And goodbye to England as well. Dieting are the centers the world!

You can buy the book here.


Innocence for my German. It is very harsh and there are much longer words!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Make America Kittens Again




Mio Dio! è troppo brutto!

Dove sono gli gattini carini e dolci.

Grazie, Make America Kittens Again. Tutti le fotografie del Donald Trump cambiano in fotografie del gattini. Bellisimo.


E in Inglese

My God! it is too bad!

Where are dear and sweet kittens.

Thanks, Make America Kittens Again. All photographs of Donald Trump change of kittens pictures. Bellisimo.



(Other) Adventures of Pinnochio: Il Mio Primero Recesione del Libro in Italiano:


Tutti le fotografie sono del Pinnochio (grazie Tipi. Li ho rubato)

Faccio come voglio con il mio Blog. E por quest'anno voglio imparare le lingue straniere per mi; Italiano, tedesco, francesce e spagnolo. Forse...?

Ma non ho il tempo per scrivere il mio blog e imparare le lingue straniere. Pero la soluzione è facile; io scrivo il blog in le lingue straniere. Io scrivo particolarmente le recensione di libri perche c'e molto difficile per scrivere in Inglese e ci vuole molti tempo.

Da ora in poi, le recensione sono un pocco corte, pero io impararo un pocco Italiano (o francese, o tedesco). Allora,una dia, io non sono il inglese stupido chi posso parlare inglese solamente. Forse, Inglaterra e la nazione del brexit, pero io voglio essere un po più europeo.Allora, il mio primero recensione in Italiano è (other) Adventures of  Pinnochio da Lorenzo Triccoli.



Il libro è la historia del Italia nel ventisimo secolo. Ci sono le fotografie che Tricoli ha trovuto sul Internet, Ci sono i capzioni e ci sono una granda storia sul retro del libro con un indice. è molto chiaro e ho imparato molto su la storia della Italia. Più importante sono le parole del Carlo Collodi, l'autore della historia del Pinnochio. Allora, il libro è satirico e politico.

Vediamo le historie del mafia, del disastre chemica Seveso, i scandali del Vatican e molti di piu.
Allora, ci è un libro historico e per mi è molti interessante. E con le parole di Tricoli, faccia una granda panorama della Italia oggi. E le parole sono interesante, non sono noioso. Leggo tutti le parole rapidamente!

La storia è chiaro e facile di capire, e le strate del fotografie e parole unianno insieme.

Per finire, questo libro di Lorenzo Tricoli è molto buono!

Puoi comprarlo qui

Scusa per il mio Italiano. è molti difficile! Che porco!




Le parole nove

Forse = perhaps

Da ora in poi = from now on

le recensione di libri = book reviews

 ci vuole molti tempo = it takes a lot of time

un po più europeo = a little more european

nel ventisimo secolo = in the twentieth century

sul retro del libro = at the back of the book

noioso = boring


Google Translate verzione in inglese

I do as I wish with my Blog. And por year I want to learn foreign languages ​​to me; Italian, German, and Spanish francesce. Maybe...?

But I do not have time to write my blog and learn foreign languages. But the solution is easy; I write the blog in foreign languages. I write particularly the review of books because there is very difficult to write in English, and it takes a lot of time.

From now on, the review are a short light steamed, but I impararo a Pocci Italian (or French, or German). Then, give a, I'm not the stupid English who I can speak English only. Perhaps, England and the nation of brexit, but I want to be a little more europeo.Allora, my primero review is Italian (other) Adventures of Pinnochio by Lorenzo Triccoli.

The book is the historia of Italy in ventisimo century. There are photographs that Tricoli has trovuto on the Internet, There are capzioni and there are a granda story on the back of the book with an index. It is very clear and I learned a lot about the history of Italy. More important are the words of Carlo Collodi, the author of the historia of Pinnochio. So, the book is satirical and political.

We see the histories of the Mafia, the disastre chemica Seveso, the scandals of the Vatican and many more.
Then, there is a book historico and for me many interesting. And in the words of Tricoli, granda face a panorama of Italy today. And the words are interesting, they are not boring. I read all the words quickly!


The story is clear and easy to understand, and strate unianno of photographs and words together.

Finally, this book by Lorenzo Tricoli is very good!

You can buy it here

Sorry for my Italian. it is a lot harder! What a pig!


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Happy New Year: The Face of 2017




I watched Strictly Ballroom over the New Year and saw Barry Fife, the corrupt dancing judge (who incidentally didn't get elected to Queensland's federal government. Queenslanders aren't as dumb as some we could mention).



And I thought "there it is. That's the face of 2017. Crass, venal and corrupt. The face of life-denying tradition."

But it's not Fife  who triumphs in the film. It's Fran and Scott and everyone else. And they're not crass, corrupt or venal. They affirm life. They go with love. They try new steps.

So it's love that's won. And old hate's down for the count.

So they're my faces of 2017. Rather than continuing with the traditional British discourse of, er, progress; an endless litany of self-obsessed finger pointing, hectoring, mean-minded narcissism, droning monologues, myopic hobbyism and downright misery, let's go for an affirmation of life, Fran and Scott. Faces of love, doing something new, facing up to the enemy and carrying on regardless. In an entertaining way, that takes the people with them.

Let them be a lesson to us all

Happy New Year.

O Buon Anno! Si, e vero. l'italiano è in arrivo. Inizio la prossima settimana.


Thursday, 5 January 2017

Why Photography is Better than Painting


A Painting of 3 Farmers = Far inferior to the photograph

Painting is an incredible invention. Combining the technology of animal hair with the science of paper and the ingenuity of pigments and all kinds of chemicals, painting provides an insight into the minds of artists from time immemorial.

But let's be clear on one thing. Though paintings can be great, they can also be monumentally stupid when they are framed and put on show as though the self-indulgent and loose-leafed mimicry of the artist is something we should treasure and value.

Why show paintings on the wall when they belong on the easel or in the studio where they belong. Why divorce them from the sense of place from which they came, a sense of place which combines with that sense of being and self which created them. Paintings have a place and that is where they belong.

I know this isn't a popular thing to say, and it is with great trepidation that I say it. The public do like their paintings so and can often be seen to be enjoying them. Above is a painting that I recently saw on show. I walked around the exhibtion and the audience were enthralled by it, taking in the colours and the tones and the shapes for a long, long time. This was something I simply couldn't do.

A Photograph of 3 Farmers = Far Superior to the Painting

But when I look at this painting and see it framed on the wall, I can't help but compare it to the great photographs of our time, photographs it tries but fails miserably to emulate. Where is that sensitivity of character compared to the August Sander photograph it so shamelessly attempts to copy. What depth of sorrow and loss has been lost in these few daubs of paint that the Sander captures so brilliantly through his use of photographic optics with photographic paintings? Throughout history, painters have attempted to emulate this mastery of the photographic art by using the tools of photography but to what end. The efforts of Canaletto, Vermeer, Velazquez, Da Vinci, Degas, Hockney are pitiful in comparison.



A Famous Work of Art by Velazquez

Similarly, the embarrassing daubs of paint on canvas are just blotches compared to the timeworn expression caught in Lewis Hine's photograph, made properly using a camera, film, chemicals and paper. These images have depth and soul, they have performance, participation, deceit and determination at their heart, a social complexity that goes beyond the surface smudges of these sad simulacra of creative experience that these paintings represent. These are photographs that changed the world, that made it a better place. What painting can claim that?


Painting = Shite



Photograph = Great!





It is therefore absurd to pretend that painting can in any way, shape or form can be comparable to the miracles of light and lens that have produced the great photographs of our time. And if you disagree, why not try this experiment. Look at the door on your fridge, the walls of your house and see if any of the paintings on display there have the energy, vitality or grace of the photographs on show at any number of famous galleries around the world.


Acknowledgements are due to Mr J.Jones for the inspiration.


Happy New Year from Jonathan Jones.

'Kate Middleton is rightly honoured for her photographs – they are full of love'

Every year, Jonathan Jones of the Guardian clickbaits us all into place with his insightful thoughts on art. Here he is musing on photography. I'll leave the extracts to suffice. 


 'I would much rather look at these honest documents of familial love than Mario Testino’s fake flattery of royal glamour.'

'If you want to take a great photograph you need to discover something unique.'

'Kim Kardashian looks at what she loves, too, and so does Sebastião Salgado. If you want to take worthwhile pictures, concentrate on what really matters to you, be it your bum or the lost peoples of the Amazon. It is the scene that is wondrous, not the snapping of the shutter.'

Flat, soulless and stupid: why photographs don’t work in art galleries


'It just looks stupid when a photograph is framed or backlit and displayed vertically in an exhibition, in the way paintings have traditionally been shown.'

'It’s amazing how long some people can look at a photograph. I observed the observers, rapt before illuminated images that I really can’t look at for more than a few seconds.'

That is because when you put a photograph on the wall I cannot help comparing it with the paintings whose framed grandeur it emulates, and I can’t help finding photography wanting.

'A photograph, however well lit, however cleverly set it up, only has one layer of content. It is all there on the surface. You see it, you’ve got it.'

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