organstealing!

20 July 2004

Despite the massive public interest, no-one was found to have lost their organs. The whole story’s mind boggling, but that final line is the icing on the cake.

Mummy, I’m scared.

19 July 2004

Interconnected‘s gone funny on me. I thought this was a glitch, but it looks like a trend. What really scared me was that whilst watching the text judder on mouseover, whilst googling for the Wargames references, I was listening to Plastikman’s Closer.

Ritchie Hawtin + Matt Webb = fear. There’s a higher intelligence behind both, but sometimes I’m darned if I can figure it out.

new ipod

18 July 2004

Some details and another shot of the new iPod from the Newsweek article it was launched in.

Oh to live in the States

12 July 2004

Not because I want to live there, but just because the standard of Apple support is light years ahead. Got a problem? Go to the nearest Apple Store, or phone them up, and have it sent elsewhere in the country you live in. Got a problem in the UK? Pack it up and send it to Holland, never to be seen again.

Matt has been having dreadful trouble with his new Powerbook. This is not good. Apple UK/Europe have been fairly crap about the whole thing.

Which is why I always feel a little nervous as my PB takes a little longer to wake and sleep, and why the fact it won’t pair with my phone even since I upgraded to 10.2.8 fills me with deep fear of the next upgrade I make.

I bought this computer to make life more pleasant. It shouldn’t leave me on tenterhooks every time it threatens going wrong. The main fear is sending it away. It is my main computer. I have no other Apple. Unlike many people, I can’t carry on as before without it.

Damnit, this sucks.

perlinlatin

09 July 2004

A module to let you write Perl programs in Latin. I want to learn Perl more than ever now. This is the shizzle.

highnoon

08 July 2004

Go to Music for Robots now and download the Juno cover of DJ Shadow’s High Noon. With guitars an’ stuff. It’s great.

furthertinkering

05 July 2004

Individual archive pages now work, so you can leave comments. I might still rejig the comments formatting later, but hey, it’s a start. Next goal: sorting the monthly archives and master archive index…

Bill Brandt retrospective

05 July 2004

I went to the Bill Brandt retrospective at the V&A on Saturday. It was an interesting experience; I think the last photography exhibition I went to was the Ansel Adams/William Egglestone pairing at the Hayward, which was fantastic.

This, as I said, was interesting; mainly because it showed the fascinating development of Brandt as a photographer. Above everything else, brandt is a master of composition. At times, his developing is a little weak (though that may be down to print decomposition), giving otherwise great images a grey cast; this is something he improves on later. But throughout all his images, from his early staged-documentaries, through his landscape work, to his portraits, it’s the composition that shines through. I think this is partly down to the strong influence of the Surrealists on him. Even when taking landscape shots for Lilliput and Vogue, that surreal influence is somewhere in the image. As he’s given freer reign, and he develops as an artist, he becomes less constrained; one of my favourites in his nude sequence is the image right – just an ear, and a beach, but with the bizarre proportions his ultra-wide angle lenses constrain the image into.

His portraits are unusual – as much an analysis of setting and scene as of the subject. You often get the feeling that Brandt’s subjects are trying to hide from the camera, shying away, and that Brandt simply works around this. He’s more interested in forms. The exhibition placed his famous nude sequences towards the end, and it demonstrated how perfect a culmination they are: a culmination of the photographer’s appreciation for form, light, and the female figure.

Even though some of his early work is hit and miss, the hits really score. Brandt loves light as another aspect of form – the shapes light produces, the way it influence representation. His blackout pictures, shot by moonlight, are wonderful examples of this. Similarly, his Jarrow landscapes, harsh and dark-grey are lightened not by shade but by form – clouds overhead, coal-piles, smoke from a chimney stack. His shots of eyes are Escher-like in their fascination with form. He’s less interested in the subject in in the surface of their skin. Or, perhaps, he’s just as interested in the subject, but just feels that this is all you need to know. Looking into the eye, into the eyelid, the skin around the socket, is looking into the soul. Maybe.

Of all the pictures of Brandt’s I found online, this portrait of Francis Bacon perhaps sums his work up best for me. Yes, it’s not one of the marvellous nudes, but this represents the various angles of his work best. It features the fascination with form – the trees on the skyline, Bacon offcenter, the sky dodged into blurry smudges, and the path just hinting at texture. It features the surreal angle – the subject seemingly disinterested, the lamppost at an angle that seems unrealistic. His command of the camera has matured, developed – look at the developing of Bacon’s face. And yet somehow, the whole thing works far better as a portrait of Bacon than him just sitting, staring at the camera. It captures the subject not only in the representation of the man, but the landscape around him.

Writing that, I seem surprisingly enthusiastic. Initially, Brandt’s sloppy developing, formulaic composition, seems unremarkable. But as his skill and experience progresses, he develops in an unexpected direction. It’s a great exhibition – thoughtfully laid out, even if the photos are a little too close together – and provides a wonderful cross-section of Brandt’s work.

not. finished. yet.

04 July 2004

But it’s a start, and at least I’m pleased. Even if the type-on-paper motif is possibly a little anachronisitic and foolish on the web.

This is a work in progress. I just don’t have the energy to do this all in one fell swoop. So, for now, just the index is redesigned. The about page is not, the archives page isn’t done, and I haven’t even sorted the monthly and individual archives. Have no fear, I will do; it’s just an ongoing work in progress, a succession of tweaks. I’m also going to rejig the way comments display.

I think.

I had so many things to say this morning; they all disappeared into a flurry of spring cleaning (in July), of the bedroom, of the weblog. I have an article to finish and a book review to write. Subscribe to the RSS feed. It’ll keep you posted better than I possibly can.

Links & notes for this month