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Sofa Portraits now available for pre-order

  1.          Sofa Portraits is now available for pre-order from my website (orders will deliver in October/November)   The pric...

Monday, 31 January 2011

Xavier Antin

Via Mrs Deane comes the work from Xavier Antin's Printing at Home and Just in Time or A Short History of Production, projects that put the potato back into printing. Oh, and don't believe everything you read on your computer. I don't know if Antin ever got the potato printer working, but God Bless him for even imagining it.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Kim Jong Il Classics

Continuing from the thoughts of Kim Jong Phil, for the weekend here is North Korean classic and the Team American World Police thesis on Neoconservatice US foreign policy in the post-Soviet age.

Picture from Kim Jong-il looking at things.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The thoughts of Kim Jong Phil

Every word I say is mesmerizing 30x40

Phil Toledano is productive and imaginative and takes the piss - so a good combination all round. I liked his American Gift Shop and I like his latest project, Kim Jong Phil. The title alone takes it into a different league. The best thing is he's sent snaps of North Korean propaganda posters to Chinese on-demand painters (which I've been tempted to use but never quite managed to dare send a credit card number to) and they've painted the pictures with Phil's face in.

What irks me is that Phil doesn't really have an ideology to go with the pictures and he mixes up Saddam Hussein and Laurent Kabila in with Kim Jong Il - which just strikes me as perverse. Or perhaps I'm just sore that he didn't go the extra mile and use Maoist propaganda posters - the finest propaganda posters to be found.

In any case, Toledano didn't mind any of that. He just said "fuck it" and got on with it - and damn fine he did too. The quotes below are from an interview over at A Photo-Editor.

On top of all this,  his phenomenally popular Days with my Father is being made into a film. 

Well, I’m doing a project called “Kim Jong-Phil.” It’s also straightforward.That was a revelation for me, was this parallel between artistic self-delusion and narcissism, and how a dictator is fueled by the same kinds of desires and urges. So what I did was I found paintings and murals from North Korea, photographs of them, and I had them copied in China into 30×40 oil paintings, and they replaced the dear leader with me. So this is a project about me, again, because since “Days with my Father,” everything has been inward facing.

PT: You have to just say “Fuck it.” That’s the best advice I can give to people is to just say “Fuck it.” Just do the thing you want to do. If you want to take pictures of your balls, then take pictures of your balls. I’m serious. I know that’s not the kind of advice that Rob can probably publish, or you can write, but I really mean it. Because the world is composed of millions of people always telling you things you can’t do or shouldn’t do. There’s always a reason “why not” for everything. So that’s why I find this Kim Jong-Phil thing so resonant with me as a person, is because I spent my entire life being a pathological contrarian. It’s a reflex, it’s in who I am. I have to do the thing that I want to do. I just have to do it. And the more people tell me I shouldn’t do it, the more I want to do it.  The more wrong it seems like it might be, the more I’m interested in it. So that’s the thing. People don’t do stuff because fear is immobility. So you just have to be moving at all times. Which is why I’m terrified right now because I have no projects in front of me. “Kim Jong Phil” is done, “A New Kind of Beauty” is done, “The Reluctant Father” is kind of done, so I have nothing in front of me so that terrifies me because I feel like I’m going to start slowing down and I’m going to sink to the seabed.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Panos Pictures Call for Submissions

A call for Submissions from Panos Pictures. Here is an interesting interview with Adrian Evans on what Panos in  lookinf for in a photographer and how the submission process has changed over the years.
Submissions guidelines are here.

I love the Tod Papageorge quote: If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not reading enough. 


What makes a photographer stand out to you?

‘Put bluntly someone who can explain why they take photographs, what they are trying to say in their photography and who they are trying to say it to. In other words photographers who think about their practice and their audience. It is incredible how few photographers do this.
I’m looking for photographers who can interpret the world around them, rather than just illustrate it – Panos isn’t a wire agency. A photographer should have their own vision and aesthetic.’

‘Equally important is the ability to tell new stories or to tell existing stories in new ways. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing a story or subject I haven’t seen photographed before. Too many photographers forget about the importance of identifying and researching stories. Think before you shoot. I recently came across a quote by Tod Papageorge on David Campbell’s excellent blog. He said “If your pictures aren’t good enough then you’re not reading enough.” That sums it up for me.’

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Andris Feldmanis's Estonian Interiors

More TV watching from Andris Feldmanis from Estonia, who got in touch after doing a workshop with George Georgiou and Vanessa Winship - a wonderful experience. I especially like the interiors in Feldmanis's pictures - my favourites are of the cramped and cosy interiors where the viewers huddle as though they are in little nests - you can see more of them here.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.

These are a few of the things Amy Chua didn't let her kids do. The rules are from Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - another controversial mothering book. Just from reading the snippets, it seems to present an idea of a generic "strict immigrant" approach to parenting. It also ties in to ideas of what it is to be Chinese in the Chinese diaspora and a smash and grab title that wraps two nationalist cliches in one.Chua was born in the Philippines and moved to the US when she was 2 months old

The book is also an example of incredibly astute marketing where an extreme is presented as the way forward with no alternative permitted - Sarah Palin with a law degree. And rather than being Chinese, it is Anglophone and  North American, slick soundbite-marketing which does rather more than it sells itself on. Chua is having it both ways, which is something that artists and  photographers do almost without exception - some lessons for us all there..

The following is an extract from the Guardian interview.She relents eventually and the kids do other stuff as well but let's pretend she's as horrible as she sounds for a minute, and that all parents of East Asian background are like this.

Amy Chua was in a restaurant, celebrating her birthday with her husband and daughters, Sophia, seven, and Lulu, four. "Lulu handed me her 'surprise', which turned out to be a card," writes Chua in her explosive new memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. "More accurately, it was a piece of paper folded crookedly in half, with a big happy face on the front. Inside, 'Happy Birthday, Mummy! Love, Lulu' was scrawled in crayon above another happy face. I gave the card back to Lulu. 'I don't want this,' I said. 'I want a better one – one that you've put some thought and effort into. I have a special box, where I keep all my cards from you and Sophia, and this one can't go in there.' I grabbed the card again and flipped it over. I pulled out a pen and scrawled 'Happy Birthday Lulu Whoopee!' I added a big sour face. … 'I reject this.'"

Listen to Chua on Radio 4 here.

Read the Guardian article  here

Read the New York Times article here.

WSJ extract here and blog responses 

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Sofa Portraits Book for Sale

Sofa Portraits is now available in bookform - 42 pages, 29 pictures, measuring 30cm x 21cm. It's in an edition of 60.

It's handmade with a Japanese stab-stitched hardcover binding. I was looking for a cover that matched the sofa in the picture. I couldn't find one, but worked out with normal bookcloth the time limitations, imperfections and design flaws of a handmade book more than matched the dilapidated state I was trying to recreate. It's not perfect in other words.
If you would like a copy, they are £60  - made payable to colinpantall@yahoo.co.uk at paypal. Postage and packing is included in that.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Mother and Child

I was emailed a couple of months ago about this story that accompanied my pictures of Isabel and Katherine. It was in Black and White Photography a few years back with a text by Katherine. Reading it again brought back memories of the mixed emotions of being a young child, of having a young child. 

   Few of us remember our early years. If we do, our memories have a ghostly, hallucinogenic quality. They might be primal and visceral or banal and trivial, but they are always emotional. They are memories of envy, pleasure, fear, rage, happiness, pride, malice.

To have a child is to rediscover that part of your childhood, to revisit that  forgotten stage of your own journey. It is one of the reasons parenthood is such a profound experience; it allows us to fully map out, for the first time, who we are and where we came from. Through our children, we can trace the invisible roots of our own lives that lie buried in the dank soil of forgotten memories.

My first taste of this came a few hours after my daughter, Isabel, was born.  She did not hesitate, but came quickly and violently, landing in the midwifes hands, just after midnight, on a warm spring night. I had two feelings the moment she was born. First, that she was amazingly beautiful, a tiny human creature perfect in every detail. Second, that she was a stranger. She had come from my body, but I did not know her, or even recognise her. And I had expected to recognise her. It was as if someone had walked in off the street and placed this unknown infant into my arms. I knew then that she was an individual, someone totally separate from myself. I could not tell, yet, what kind of person she would turn out to be. But she had begun. She had taken the first step on the journey. 

    After the drama and back slapping and triumph of birth came the abandonment. I returned to the ward and the midwives said goodnight. I was left, in the half light of a maternity ward at night, with my freshly born baby.  It was 3:30 am.

   We sat up in bed and stared at each other. Her face was a blank, her eyes two dark saucers devoid of anything we might call human. She looked ghostly, scary almost. What was she thinking? What was she experiencing in those first hours of life? She had only just been expelled from the only world she had ever known to find herself here, in this cold, hard place. She stared at me, her eyes boring into me, as though trying to understand who I might be. Did she recognise me? Did she recognise my voice, my smell, the sound of my heartbeat? Or was she studying this strange being who was to be her carer and protector, the person she would come to know in time as her mother?

    And I, like any new mother, felt totally inadequate for the job. It was huge, gargantuan, beyond daunting. I was meant to be having a baby. Instead I had given birth to a human being.
I soon discovered that I knew my baby far more intimately than I realised. Her cries pierced my soul, speaking in a language only I could understand. Where others heard the wails of an infant, I heard hunger or terror or the plaintive longing to he held and comforted.

   It was easy to chart her physical evolution, the journey from helpless infant to a walking, talking child, capable of controlling its bodily functions. Books even existed where you could record these remarkable milestones: the first step, the first word, the first locket of hair.

   But the emotional journey, the journey into personhood, is more illusive. What are the markers for that? Where do we locate the moment our child first experiences jealousy or self pity? How do we record the way she sees the world or her evolving sense of self? We cannot measure these things with a pencil on the kitchen wall.

   It was this journey into personhood that fascinated me most. From the moment she emerged from the dark warmth of my body into the harsh light, she had begun her journey towards herself. Every cell in her body was dedicated to the task. My role was to supply a safe, bounded place where she could get on with the job. Her personality was evident almost immediately: She was laid back, playful, hot tempered, funny. Watching her grow was like watching a mystery unravel, an exotic flower come fully and spectacularly into bloom. At times she was a pendulum, screaming and kicking and red faced one minute, laughing and jumping and delirious with pleasure the next. It was at such moments that her struggle with that violent and beautiful thing called the human condition was most evident. 

   At first, I was always there to rescue her and protect her from danger. Eventually, she discovered that her mother cannot stop another child from being spiteful, cannot stop the scraped knee from hurting. Her mother cannot control the outside world, or the inside one for that matter. In the end she must learn to deal with these things herself. 

  To watch and help your child through this process, through those first few years of her life, is both glorious and heartbreaking. It is wonderful to see them embrace pleasure and beauty, to be fully engaged with life. It is a torment to watch them wrestle with the dark side, to see them experience cruelty and betrayal and pain.

And to know that this is only the beginning.

   Four years after that night spent staring at a baby in a hospital ward, we threw a birthday party for our daughter. The empty-eyed infant had evolved into a bubbly, happy child with a fiery temper and vivid imagination, a sensitive girl who is easily frightened, yet strangely resilient to wounds. For her it was an epic event. She was four, officially a big girl, well on her way to achieving her greatest ambition in life: to grow up. 

For me, it was the beginning of the end. The first crucial leg of her journey towards selfhood was over. In six months she will be starting school. She will line up with all the other children, in their identical uniforms, and begin her life as a social creature, negotiating with others, functioning within an institution. There she will discover new ideas and other ways of being and begin to make up her own mind about how to live in this world.

  © Katherine Tanko

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Documentary Maker's Daughter

    Documentary filmmaker Doug Block with his daughter and film subject Lucy
    Doug Block filmed his daughter growing up. The result was the documentary, The Kids Grow Up. Below are some extracts from a Guardian article on the film, with some pertinent and close-to-home questions raised for anybody who films or photographs their family.
    'Just think," says Doug Block's wife, Marjorie, while he trains his camera on her, "when she works all this through in therapy she can take the footage with her. Her therapist won't have to imagine what you were like." 
    Block, a documentary-maker, filmed their daughter Lucy's final year at high school – interspersed with footage of her over the years. His film, The Kids Grow Up, is ostensibly about how a father copes with the prospect of his cherished only child leaving home to go to college. But there is lots more here. It is about his own childhood – "I was a lousy parent in the main," admits Block's elderly, ailing father – and about what it means to be a modern dad (friend or father?). It is about the passage of time,and Block's inability to let go of the past and grow up, as his wife – ever the voice of reason – puts it during one of their filmed interviews. 
    There are plenty of other moments that make Block look terrible: when he is filming Lucy – aged about 13 – at a basketball game and she doesn't realise until she catches sight of him, and then, her face furious, she shouts across the court: "Stop it, stop it, stop it!" When he looks like a creep for filming his daughter's boyfriend, unaware, through the kitchen window. When his distressed daughter, soon to leave for college, says through her tears as he attempts yet another interview with her: "I'm really pissed off that you're doing this at all. I hate it." "I'm sorry," says Block, in a weedy voice, but he still doesn't take his camera off her. "That was really hard because the whole time I'm thinking, do I turn it off?" says Block. "But Lucy hadn't said to turn it off. She knows I'm rolling because there's a red light on the camera. All I wanted to do was put it down and wrap my arms around her." Why didn't he? "Because your instincts as a documentarian take over and you go: OK, she hasn't told me to turn it off and this is an important discussion. I can always decide later not to include it if it's going over the line. "I know it makes me look really bad, but if you are making personal films, you can't worry about looking good. 
    Later, when I speak to Lucy, who is at college in California, she says she was never excited about the prospect of being the subject of a documentary. "It shows a much more personal side of my life than I share with most people," she says. "I thought it would be weird and it was. At the beginning I said I didn't want him to film me in public. He asked to come by when I was with my friends and I was totally opposed to that. I probably asked him to stop filming about 50% of the time. Maybe I would let him film for a little while and then I would tell him to stop, usually because I would be doing something, he would start filming and I wouldn't be able to do it any more because I felt like I was acting." 
    How did Marjorie feel about the filming in general – wasn't it an intrusion into their family life? "No," Block says. "These are two really strong women who say what they think and if they didn't want me doing it, they would have told me. They didn't necessarily want it done, and in the moments when Marjorie didn't want to be filmed she would say not now. But she generally likes to do interviews – she feels that, over the years, we've had some of our best conversations on camera because she says I never listen to her as closely as when I'm interviewing her." It wasn't always like that for Lucy. During her last month at home, she felt increasingly unhappy about being filmed and ultimately broke down on camera. "If I had known at the beginning that the filming would have had a negative impact, I wouldn't have made it," says Block. He also says he would never have released it had Lucy been unhappy with the footage. "She was always going to be the first to see it. During her first break home over Christmas, I showed it to her, very roughly put together, and I gave her the opportunity to opt out. I was prepared to shelve it, and she said no, that she thought it would be a good film." But hadn't he put his daughter in an impossible position? This was his career – she could hardly ask him to stop a project he had been working on all year. He says it occurred to him. And Lucy admits: "There were times when I didn't want him to make it but there was no way I could have brought myself to tell him that. "The hardest part has been for my dad and me to separate our relationship from the movie. I told him recently that I had a hard time distinguishing what his real feelings were from the things he said in the film [for the sake of the story]. I don't know if he realised that before. I feel good about the film now but it has enveloped our family life too much for the past three years and I'm very much ready to move on from it." 
    Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Secrets of the tribe

Secrets of the tribe is a documentary about the behaviour of anthropologists who studied the Yanomami people in the Amazon; Napoleon Chagnon (pictured above) and Jacques Lizot in particular. As well as looking at how data was rigged, how corners were cut, how children were abused  and how negligent practices caused the deaths of hundreds of tribespeople, the documentary is also a small examination of warfare and ritual amidst anthropologists themselves - the anthropology of anthropologists. Roald Dahl would be gratified to know that there seems to be some kind of correlation between facial hair and personality traits. Essential and depressing viewing.

Watch it on iplayer here if you can.

"The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in a fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomami Indians, also known as the 'Fierce People'. In the 1960s and 70s, a steady stream of anthropologists filed into the Amazon Basin to observe this 'virgin' society untouched by modern life. Thirty years later, the events surrounding this infiltration have become a scandalous tale of academic ethics and infighting."

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Jonathan Franzen, Freedom and Peep Show

The great  success British comedy in recent years is Peep Show. It's a programme that is about fools, probably made by people who are fools, starring actors who are fools. Best of all, the Peep Show  fools are fools who I identify with - all men should identify with them if they're honest. The only ones who won't identify are the dishonest men - the double fools if you like. Sometimes I am Mark, the low-achieving ineffectual nerd able to talk himself out of all spontaneity, pleasure and fulfillment in life, but then sometimes I am Jeremy, the low-achieving ineffectual loser who believes in a self-entitled view that success, money and sex should be dealt to him on a plate because, because, because... just because he is who he is.

The message of Peep Show is that we are all losers, we all have unjustified feelings of self-entitlement and we are all ineffectual - and that even if Mark and Jez were efficient, successful and well-adapted they would still be complete tossers. Like the rest of us.

Which brings me to Jonathan Franzen's Freedom where the Mark and Jez characters are played by Walter Berglund and Richard Katz (Richard has a big dash of SuperHans, another character in Peep Show, thrown into the mix), the only difference being that we're in the United States now so Walter and Richard are tremendously more successful and self-aware than Mark and Jez - but they are still fools, American fools.

Like Jez, Richard has occasional insights  into the world and one of these comes as he is putting in a deck for a wealthy family. As he puts it in, he meets Zachary, the son of the household. Zachary is a fan of Richard's old band and wannabe guitar-hero. But Richard doesn't like Zachary.

"...it was important that Zachary be squished. The kid had been given his own practice room, a cubical space lined with eggshell foam and scattered with more guitars than Katz had owned in thirty years. Already.... the kid was a more  hotdog soloist than Katz had ever been or ever would be. But so were a hundred thousand American high-school boys. So what? Rather than thwarting his father's vicarious rock ambitions by pursuing entomology or interesting himself in financial derivatives, Zachary dutifully aped Jimi Hendrix. Somewhere there had been a failure of imagination."

I think all fair-minded and decent people can all agree that Richard's desire that Zachary should be squished is a just one. And one can wonder whether the same fate should befall the  photographic equivalents of Zachary - but what are the photographic equivalents and is everything is tilted to their advantage or am I just making all this up? Why is life so unfair? When am I going to find that bag of £50 notes so I can become like Zachary and have my large format digital doo-dahs with 20x24 prints of everything and not have to get up early in the morning and do things like go to work and wash the dishes?

Squish them indeed, squish 'em like bugs on a wall!

Now then, has Jonathan Frantzen ever seen Peep Show - or am I stretching this one too far.

You can read more on how the  wealthy and privileged have taken over rock music here. The story includes  some fine made-up statistics like " A new survey into the heritage of modern musical acts has found that 60 per cent of acts in the charts today - attended public school - compared to just one per cent two decades ago."

Monday, 10 January 2011

Mother: The Korean Blow Up?

I loved the Korean film, Mother by Joon-ho Bong,with its provocative sense of ambiguity and uncertainty. The film is about a mother and her hunt for the real killer of a girl whose murder the mother's son has been convicted of. 

Especially interesting from a photographic point of view is the role that mobile phone photography plays in the film. In the film (and South Korea in general), mobile phones that have been adapted so they don't bleep when pictures are taken are called 'pervert phones'. The murdered girl had one of these phones and on this phone the mother suspects she will find a picture of the real killer - but the mother is not the only one looking for the phone.

So the film is a contemporary Korean version of  Blow-Up, but with a few subplots and ambiguities besides. There is a separation angle to the film, there is gross injustice and an obsessive mother-and-son relationship that ties in with  the dangers of both remembering and forgetting - in that sense, the film mirrors  Hindi cinema themes of separation, loss and redemption through suffering. In all those Hindi separation films, the symbolic separation is from Pakistan. I wonder if in Mother, the separation, the lost soul of the film is a symbolic North Korea. I don't know, but watch Mother - the best film I've seen since A Prophet.

An interview with Joon-ho Bong, where you'll find out that people dance on buses in South Korea and they do in Turkey too.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Photo Eye books of the year

photo-eye have their books of the year lists up, including my own contribution. Find all the lists here.

The picture above is from Andrew Buurman's book, Allotments, one of the ten on my list. I like allotments and I like this book - that's why it's in my top ten.

Jock Sturges, the Third Floor Gallery and Portraiture with a capital p and a small p

Here are a few interesting posts from over the holidays. The first is from J.Wesley Brown at We can shoot too and he asks what is a portrait. Is it a head and shoulders shot, can those pictures of random figures in the background be a portrait and what of pictures of pictures or screens or posters...

Not sure I know the answer to any of that, but I suspect it is something where the elements of the picture contribute something to the subject being portrayed or vice versa.

The other interesting post was by Elizabeth Fleming guest-posting on A Photo Editor. In this post she asks whether photographers should be held responsible for the recontextualising of their images, on the internet in particular. She also said that the pictures struck her "...as distressingly sexualized and, frankly, unsettling. Jonathan puts it best in his piece when he says that: “even in a world of moral relativity, these images transgressed some basic taboo.”

There is a whole can of worms to get oneself into here (not least the twists of Sturges' own life) but I don't think the photographer (or the film-maker, writer or poet) should be held responsible for the recontextualisation of their work.  I'm not interested in Sturges' work but I would defend it from charges of criminality.  I also think that Sturges pictures are more de-sexualised than anything else - his models might be attractive, skinny Europeans, but barring the lack of clothing in his pictures, it seems to me that he goes out of his way to avoid the sexually suggestive. 

Finally, it's over to Blake Andrews for an interview with Joni Karanka about the Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff -  another example of people who are just getting on with it despite minimal funding and the immense time and effort involve.. 

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Artful Dodger and 38 Degrees

This ad appeared in some British newspapers earlier this week. It was made by 38 degrees,
an organisation that is also raising funds through the internet.  

This is what they believe in. I believe in that too.


We believe that it's people who should have the power in our society. We help make this happen by making it easy for people to influence the institutions, like the government, who make decisions that affect us all.

We work together in our thousands to defend fairness, protect rights, promote peace, preserve the planet and deepen democracy. Some people might call those goals ‘liberal’, 'left-of-centre' or ‘progressive’. We call them common sense for a better world.


It's fascinating how new media is influencing protest, publicity and fundraising. The three combine in
emphas.is, a kind of horribly-named kickstarter for photography projects. I especially liked this contribution on the emphas.is blog, whereAaron Huey (of Pine Ridge fame) talks about possible funding for putting his Pine Ridge pictures on giant billboards. It seems that the real new deal about funding might be that explicitly political work and models of showing the work are going to be getting funding that they never got before. The killer line is at the end though.

“I definitely hope to go beyond the model of how we get funding, but also to go beyond the model for how we share our images. To come up with a distribution plan that makes the images impossible to ignore. Simple images with simple statistics 60 feet wide on your commute to work. That is real power in the hands of a potential funder. 

“The thing with the Pine Ridge project is, at a certain point, I thought, okay, I’ve made this incredible imagery. So does this all end with a photo show where everybody just drinks wine and pats me on the back?  F**k that. It’s totally inappropriate. I also don’t want someone to pay me to go make another body of work just so it can be another magazine story or a photo exhibition where everybody congratulates me about being great at showing misery. “Now I know that my billboards are not exactly a commercial proposition. I’m actually proposing to not make any money off of this; I’m proposing to put out incredible amounts of effort for the issue. I would have no chance of recouping any life expenses from this, except maybe if it is coupled with a magazine partner. That would be ideal, of course, if someone said: Oh, love the billboard concept, I’d also like to run this as a photo essay. The truth is I do still need magazines to help spread the message.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Sisters RIP: Isabelle Caro and Geraldine Doyle

Isabelle Caro and Geraldine Doyle, star of the Rosie the Riveter poster both died over the holidays. Follow the links above for the stories. I think the idea that the picture of Caro can be inspiring in a thinspirational way serves to show that pictures can be sometimes completely out of our control and that there are possibilities and perspectives that perhaps need to be disregarded.

Isabelle Caro, a French actress and model whose emaciated image appeared in an Italian ad campaign and whose anorexia was followed by other sufferers of eating disorders, has died aged 28. The picture above is by the Oliviero Toscani.


Caro was featured in an ad campaign by the Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani in 2007 for an Italian fashion house. Under the headline "No Anorexia", images across newspapers and billboards showed Caro naked, vertebrae and facial bones protruding.


The ad campaign was launched at a time when the fashion industry was under scrutiny about anorexia, after a 21-year-old Brazilian model died from the eating disorder. Caro's agent, Sylvie Fabregon, said the image was intended "to show what it is like to be anorexic".

Some groups working with anorexics warned that it did a disservice to those afflicted. Images of Caro appeared on pro-anorexia websites; yesterday, one posted a notice about her death and a photo of her, with the caption "die young, stay pretty".

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year: the face of 2011

Happy New Year - the ghost of the year to come put an appearance in on New Year's Eve. Not sure if she's going to be better than 2010. You decide.

Happy New Year Everyone!