Saturday, October 21, 2017

Who Was Henry Wellcome?

Earlier in the week I got around to visiting the Welcome Collection in London's Euston Road - adverts for 'Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? had intrigued me.


Previously I'd thought that Welcome was some 'grey' part of 'Big Pharma' but in fact the story of Henry Welcome is more interesting and the Philanthropy he demonstrated something to celebrate.

Samaritans Campaign 











And in fact Graphic Design can Save your Life (perhaps) - nice to see Samaritans recent campaign  included - the jury is probably still out on the Smoking adverts versus health warnings (or is it?) but the subject was well covered - with Silk Cut adverts deconstructed with the help of Semiotics (and quotes from David Lodge).

It was good to see too the AIDS and Samaritans' campaigns  on show.

Earthly Delights 



William Price- He was a bit of  an Eccentric






















I also took the opportunity to look at the Art displays and was much taken with traditional work in the Wellcome history  I liked the Painting of William Price of Llantrisant (by  A C Hemming) - Price was a pioneer in promoting cremation.

Also good to see  'the Garden  of Earthly Delights' an  Oil painting after Hieronymus Bosch.

But biggest buzz was to discover Eat 22 by Ellie Harrison - this shows commitment and book and video both great

Reminded me of my 365 project but wow

Here it is

Friday, October 20, 2017

Indian Photgraphy and Samuel Bourne

Until March 2018 at Science Museum






















London's Science Museum somewhat (perhaps) unexpectedly has a fantastic (and arty) exhibition showing 160 years of Indian Photography - from early Colonial pictures to modern documentary work what I found really illuminating was the way the Indian indigenous agency fed into work with hand colouring making a fascinating hybrid.

Also noticed that one of the early British Photographers  was a 'Samuel Bourne' who spent about 7 years in India from 1863.

Also on at the Museum are examples of Indian Technology  and science from Tuk-Tuks to brilliant mathematicians.






Bose - Brilliant at Maths

A typical Indian Tuk-Tuk

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Week 4 looking at Paintings - National Gallery again

National Gallery -A Gallery that's hard to fault or imagine better

Back with the excellent Julia Musgrave who is leading the CityLit looking at Paintings course yesterday and again the National Gallery.

Portraits this week and I reckon they're great -although in the hierarchy of paintings we see Portraits below History (in the Hierarchy of Genres) - this  seems to me to be pretty arbitrary anyway.


Something we didn't really unpick was when a picture becomes a portrait - is it just a single figure, looking at Portrait definitions it seems that head and upper body should dominate. 



The power plays involved in portraiture were very evident in our tour, our first painting was Portrait of Pope Julius II by Raphael (of which there are several versions)  and the fact that it was commissioned by the sitter who was probably the most powerful man in Europe means that it is his message that is at the forefront - what I loved here was finding out about how the work at one stage had a blue background - this made it almost like a Pop Art picture (to me anyway).

Julia also highlighted some of the other detail which reflected Julius's family and his extravagance (the rings on his fingers).
Nonnius a clever Doctor 


Looking at the painting of Christina of Denmark by Hans Holbein (the Younger) we were educated to the fact that Holbein had been dispatched to capture a likeness of the young widow so that Henry VIII could weigh up the possibility of her being his next wife (she was luckily spared this fate) - the court Painter was being used as a sort of dating app (a primitive Tinder).


The painting of Ludovicus Nonnius by Rubens  reveals another function of earlier portraits, here the items placed around the sitter show his standing - he was accomplished and intellectual, a doctor and in the painting we can see his learning (the books)  and the bust of Hippocrates (showing the medical associations) -  The artist shows his skill (perhaps a little showily) with the foreshortened book.


Klimt's portrait of Hermine Gallia was another highlight and reflects changes to portraiture that were apparent with the introduction of photography - the subject was an important figure in Austrian society prior to the period of Nazi rule.
Not the bling sometimes associated with Klimt
Women are (as so often) the subject more often than the painter but some subjects were influential - like Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame (by Francois Hubert Drouais (1727-1775) - here we see a painting of a clever woman with many interests.

There was a painting that stood out - it was a Self Portrait of an assured woman - smiling, this was Self Portrait in a Straw Hat by  Elisabeth Vigee le Brun.


 Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame

An early 'Selfie'




















For me seeing a portrait now I am interested to know about  who commissioned the work and what other indicators are included in the work to help us understand the message being made by the work - perhaps odd that we didn't visit the National Portrait Gallery next door for this week 4?


And lovely biscuits


On the subject of Art - I really like the lovely Gaufrette biscuits from Beniko not too sure on what Hokusai connection is..

Lovely biscuits

Friday, October 13, 2017

News from the Broadcasting World

Earlier in the week at Savoy Place - it's a year since the last IBC review (I nearly booked in with my 2016 ticket) and as always the news is exciting and frightening.

The eye candy (for the women) was supplied by Nick \Lodge

First thing to note is that women are in the ascendency - the event was produced by the redoubtable Terry Marsh (a woman) and of the 5 people on stage only one was a man (Nick Lodge formerly at ITC) - this is not the usual situation at IET events as far as I can recall.
Savoy Place - Just a Short walk from Embankment 


When the RTS are hosted by IET it's very civilised the Savoy Place (the first London home to the BBC I think) there's snacks and drinks -- I got chatting to a woman from INMARSAT who was telling me about developments aimed at delivering services to inflight travellers (which I'd not realised was practical).


What you always get from things like this is an idea where an industry is heading and the acronym that I noted down was FAMGA which reflects the growth of the Facebook/Amazon/Google Hegemony.


Having said that the exciting technological advances are coming from startups - the one that I was really knocked out by was mentioned by Muki Kulhan (who has been around social media in the broadcast space for something like 20 years) was the 'City Producer' app which is pretty much a studio in a 'phone'  - I recall a similar phenomenon with a studio/Post production platform based on a PC known as a Toaster but this didn't do the Acquisition.


Of course Facebook was on the hot issues list with it's Live Facebook 360 but I can't help feeling we've been here before and that TV is something it's very easy to get wrong - Apple have certainly been plugging away at it for quite a few years.


Something that did slightly bring the stage enthusiasts back to earth was an audience question on mmonetization - not too much intelligence on how it might be achieved but I was reminded of when I was at Discovery how it's a challenge to be able to find a way to sell direct to viewers when the rights have already been sold to platform owners.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week 3 of Looking at Paintings - History Part II

St Luke at work

Well In some ways I suppose weeks 1 and 2 were a build up to week 3 (which I is kind of inevitable)  but what I'm saying is that London's National Gallery is seriously impressive.

Having spent some time at the Gallery it did cross my mind that the visit could feel repetitive but the truth of the matter is that there's an awful lot of pictures there and even if you so look at some more than once the subsequent time spent looking at them can bring fresh insights.

The chance to be in the National Gallery also means I get to notice other paintings as I move around - like these two, Salome is very confrontational  and the colour (particularly the flesh of Salome) striking - It was painted from the biblical story  of the delivery of the head of St. John the Baptist.
The painting is from about 500 years ago by the painter Sebastiano del Piombo.

We were aging looking at Narrative in paintings and also looked at some works that were originally frescoes but had been removed from the walls the were painted on (like Penelope With Suitors by Pintoricchio -from about 1509).



The second painting around the same time (1520) was not credited to a specific artist but the idea of a 'painting about a painting' I find rather curious - it's called 'Saint Luke Painting the Virgin and Child' -
and the studio was Workshop of Quinten Massys- Massys is an important figure in the Flemish art world.
(St Luke is traditionally the saint associated with painters.)

The Group looks at Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone
 We also looked at paintings from Titian's Workshop and The Death of Actaeon from Titian but the picture I was most thrilled with was Luca Giordano's Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone, this is a later painting (from the 1680s) and is ostensibly of a theatrical production - but shows much more.


Salome (1510)  by Sebastiano del Piombo








Saturday, October 07, 2017

Week 2 Looking at Paintings (At Tate Britian)

Tate Britain
Tate Britain was the location for the second session of the CityLit run 'Looking at Paintings' course.




Susanna and the elders











Topic this week was 'History' and it's a big one (it's split across two weeks it's that big), we kicked off by looking at 'Susanna and the Elders' by Peter Lely.


The fact that Peter Lely's work is shown in Tate Britain is a  lesson in itself, work in Tate Britain is largely intended to be 'British art' Lely was Dutch by birth (and training) but spent most of his working life.

At the time of this work many works were drawn from Biblical stories as was Susanna and the Elders, this particular story has also a sexual element  which allows  some titillation - the subject was used more than once by a variety of artists, and there are more titillating versions.

It was also pointed out that the statue shown in the painting was that of the Manneken Pis which far from biblical was pretty much contemporaneous  with the work (this a common practice when travel to exotic places was less accessible was to transfer Biblical story settings in this way).

Strangely the animal in the background was intended to be a camel (many would not have seen this animal either). 


What I got from the 'lesson' was a greater involvement with paintings that I wasn't initially drawn too - this was certainly the case of  Joseph Highmore's sequence of paintings inspired by Pamela (by Samuel Richardson) .

As was the case from my earlier City Lit courses visiting galleries  with Leslie Primo  and James  Mansfield I'm realising that it's not about the number of works covered on visits but actively getting involved and looking.

The highlights of the works we looked at for me were the pre-Raphaelites particularly Christ in the House of his Parents by Sir John Everett Millais .

A Highlight for me

Monday, October 02, 2017

Finding my religion and camera use

Probably more than minutes though 


One of the things I have had in mind since before the start of 2017 is around religion - it's something that is questionable for me but important and I'm hoping that Marcus Weeks's book which I recently received will act as a starting off point for my consideration much as an earlier book on Philosophy by him did.

Keep an eye out here and I'll be reflecting on what I get from the book weekly.


Photography and The Canon G7 X



Almost SLR ability to give sharp focus and depth
Enjoyed watching the part 3 of 'Britain in Focus' with Eamon McCabbe on BBC catch-up - I suppose the fact that Martin Parr was a large part of it helped (loved the insight on the influence that  a photographer called John Hinde's Postwar holiday postcards had on him).



Background Focus &




















'Throwing' Focus






I'm adjusting to my new camera - it's surprising to me that it feels so different (in terms of the pictures I get) from the G 16 - really do like the different picture ration that I'm using and impressed by its capabilities at low light.




Not so sure about not having an optical viewfinder and not being able to access an 'electronic zoom' but think depth of focus is worth having - also intrigued to find that exposure (to me) tends towards underexposed but detail in 'the blacks' is there to be accessed if wanted - am hoping to find that I can take advantage of this when I start to learn a bit about Adobe Photoshop at RACC later in the week.


G7 x- Good at low levels of available light 




Sunday, October 01, 2017

Another off site CityLit course -Looking at Paintings

Week 1 at the V&A

I've enjoyed quite a few CityLit courses over the last few years -some of  the ones I really like are those that are not classroom based and bring the chance of discussions around art.

 So it was with a certain amount of enthusiasm that I arrived at the V&A in  Kensington last Tuesday afternoon for  course led by Julia Musgrave where we get to grips with some of the skills around looking at paintings.

An example that addresses perspective

The course has I think a degree of chronological form and is centred on 'Western' art - in the first week we've encountered some of the issues of art that came out of the church ahead of widespread use of perspective and the challenges that artists confronted in provision of producing colour that reflected nature.

Like most CityLit courses it is well organised and appropriate notes are provided - those taking the course are largely 'mature' (in age anyway) individuals.

As well as supplying guidance and some answers there are areas to muse on like the famous picture (one of my favourites) below - is it just a copy or is it more?

A copy - or is it more of Raphael's ' School of Athens'  by  Anton Raphael Mengs

A model used as an aid


Apart from the works that were on the set agenda I noted a model by Sansovino (The Descent from the Cross) which was used by Perugino in producing his painting it reminded me of the work of The Chapman Brothers and helped me realise that they too are part of a history of the use of models.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britian

Untitled -Book Corridors 
I'm not sure when I first encountered the work of Rachel Whiteread but it was notable (to me) in that it was something decidedly different.

[I saw and noticed a small work by Rachel at the Saatchi a couple of years back]

Tate Britain is hosting (quite a) bit of a retrospective and the nature of the work means that it's quite a different exhibition.


Rachel's work is (like many I guess) about observation and place - the way she abstracts solidity and creates work that resonates sets her apart - I was particulalrly drawn to the Room 101 (called Untitled Room 101) from George Orwell's book in turn derived from a room in the BBC Broadcasting House

I also liked the work that seems to capture the essence of a Library - Untitled -Book Corridors.

Like me Rachel notices doors
A seat that fits the table
Chicken Shed -A work that's outside - where it should be 
Another work about seats -Untitled 100 spaces

Rachel Whiteread's Untitled-  (Room 101) from the room in Broadcasting House.



There was a fascination for me too with the doors and chairs that fitted really neatly under tables - It's surprising that more don't do that.

Great that there was a work outside the Tate Britain too (and one in the Duveen space there as well).












Sunday, September 24, 2017

British Library and Business

Paolozzi at British Library 

Earlier in the week back at the British Library for the second of their  Business Start-Up Day's (I was there at the first too)  - seems amazing that a year has passed since I attended the first one.


Something like 20 sessions (all free) to choose from I went to ones about the Social media Start up area as it's what's of interest.


Favourite of the three sessions I attended was Sam Lane's 'Tips for taking Photographs with Smartphones' good speaker and her points work for pictures generally in terms of pictures for Social networks. (You can download Sam's presentation here).
Sara Rego of UK2 Group (standing)


Taking the Leap Online by Sara Rego was good to as was The Google Digital Garage presentation on 'Building a Social Media Strategy'.

(Here's a resource from Google's Digital Garage).

Reassuringly one of the tips I picked up was - no need to blog everyday!

Getting it wrong


I was surprised to see that British Library has it (somewhat) wrong on the notes around Michelle the Beatles song written largely by Paul McCartney  -Paul was not an Art Student, as the note says - still great to see the song lyrics.

And perhaps it can act as another lesson in questioning what we see?


London's British Library - another example of what we are lucky to have in London


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Looking back on BEAT 2017

Well the BEAT  2017 , Ealing Open Studios was I think largely a positive experience for me - a great opportunity to talk to new people about activities around Photography and other creative endeavours - really appreciated that some of my friends came to see me (Thanks so much to Norman & Sandra, Nick & Susana, John, Nev and Ed).

Planning is worthwhile




I was able to use some of my knowledge from an earlier  CityLit course in terms of planning how I displayed my Photos' which was good.





Ladies who look




Also great that Tim Layden (my co- conspirator from earlier in the year)  had some of his work on show and was able to come down and be part of the 2nd w/e.



It was incredibly kind  of Viv (and Greg) to invite in a few of us 'Waifs and Strays' to share her space.


As well as people I know there were loads of people who were obviously talented in many ways - some top notch photographers and people who just like being part of the whole event.

We have a general meeting of the BEAT participants and a party to look forward to - I'm hoping that we can get more involvement from other parts of the Borough it feels currently like Acton, Greenford and Southall  are under represented and we need edgier stuff as well as  more younger people too.

Nice that some exhibitors became visitors this year too.
Ealing Park Tavern- A varied menu and plenty of time to chat 

I'm genuinely excited when someone wants something I've done and when one guy wanted a card (just £3.00) I almost paid him rather than received it.

A Meal at the Ealing Park Tavern on Sunday evening was a super way of celebrating the whole experience.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Getting set for BEAT 2017 w/e 2


Well the new improved Open Studios in Ealing (BEAT) is starting up again tomorrow and one of the refinements that's been added is the chance for participating exhibitors to open to each other - on Tuesday we were able to welcome a handful of  people which was rather nice.

Also it was rather nice to see John Kaye coverage in Ealing Today supplemented with some mention of the younger participants including yours truly in one of his fetching T-Shirts (a right old Trompe-l'œil).

If you get the chance do visit venue 57 and you'll see Doors, Utilities and more Red images than you can shake a stick at as well as some framed and hung prints (at giveaway prices).



A Couple of my pictures

Banners in the Borough



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sporadic - BEAT 2017 w/e 1

So the Sporadic here is more about me than the event which would better be described as Steady.
Gordon Road sign

Whereas my Blogging of late is Sporadic, this could of course be a good thing -anyway more on that later.

Back to BEAT 2017, the second of Ealing's Open Studios.

Photo's on show
















Last year Mandie at the Orchard Café took a number of lost souls under he wing and by and large we had quite a jolly time - this year those nomads (or most of them) are finding a temporary home in Gordon Road with Ceramicist Viv Phelan  one of the originators of the event.

Ceramics -A Granddad who lost his wife
(she was sold)

I suppose the main thing that I get from this and other chances to show my photo's is a chance to talk about what I do and also engage with what others do - this year (weekend 1)  there was a fantastically wide selection of personalities - some with there own views and some who just came to look.
Gordon Cookson - Wood-turner 
















In main Tim Layden is absent as he has taken a new teaching post in Milton Keynes but he's planning to be around for w/e 2 (Saturday and Sunday) - having got to know Tim a bit (and exhibit with him as half of the 2 Tims) I'm happy to speak a little about his work but it'll be nice to see him talking about it.

2 old 'So & Sos' make a nice present


Of course it's nice to sell prints too but (oddly) I feel a bit sad now when they go (although of course I can reprint).