I’m now 21 months into my Changing Views Project – here are a couple of the latest images:
Check out the rest of the project here.
I’m now 21 months into my Changing Views Project – here are a couple of the latest images:
Check out the rest of the project here.
I was at the Trump protest yesterday in London and took a photograph of a man whose badge made me smile because of the use of the word quite. I tend to use the word quite myself – I was quite upset or quite angry – it’s very tempered, understated and moderate. I love the British humour of the badge with its rather absurd contradiction:
Recently I have worn stickers that have been handed out to me by campaigners rather than badges. Although they share similar concepts they do not have the longevity of badges as objects.
The above photo was taken in 2016 on the day of the Brexit vote; you can see the sticker was already curling up at the edges and destined for the bin at the end of the day.
However I have some of my vintage badges from childhood, teenage and student years. The oldest one is probably the Manchester United one, possibly from the late 60s. Then the Art in Revolution badge was from an exhibition held at the Hayward Gallery in 1971. Free Angela Davis is also circa 1971. The anti-Nazi, Gay Liberation and Jewish student and peace badges were from my time at the University of Sussex and the anti-nuclear FORSA TOMICA ? NO GRASSIE is in Venetian dialect, dating from 1980 when I studied at Ca’Foscari University in Venice:
I’ve just returned from a short trip to Venice. One of the photos I took was of this sign, seen outside a parish:
I noticed the sign and misread it at first; I didn’t realise it was advocating a modest dress code policy. I initially saw the X above the guy’s cap as some kind of propellor rather than a “NO FLAT CAP” instruction. I also thought the couple looked quite gender fluid which was also I assume an unintentional connotation from the sign designers.
I started to think about other signs I’d photographed relating to dress codes, behaviour and etiquette. One of the most specific and detailed was the sign below, taken in New Orleans earlier this year:
In Japan I regularly came across the Shoes Strictly Prohibited sign, a custom I really liked and have tried to adopt in my own home.
You are offered plastic slippers if you need to visit the bathroom whilst sightseeing at temples:
A situation I hadn’t come across before was having to take my shoes of before entering a changing room to try on clothes in a fashion boutique, which i experienced in Kobe, Japan.
The sign below was seen at the Savoy Theatre. I actually think it may have hung on a door in the ladies loos. As well as the elegant font, I like the polite instruction, and tend to agree that there’s a time and place for wild dancing and loud singing, both of which I am prone to:
Compare the Savoy Theatre’s polite and empathetic tone to that of the bossy, expletive-filled sign below, seen in New York in May:
The other week walking down London’s Kingsland Road in Dalston I took an illusionistic street photograph involving a barbershop window that regularly catches my eye. In the mix is a striking, monochromatic bearded profile with pronounced eyebrows as well as a beautiful, shrouded female figure with crossed hands. Rather than hipster qualities I associate his look more with those of a descendent of a Biblical Assyrian king. She has religious connotations, reinforced by the man’s forehead and quiff that could be seen as lending her an angelic wing:
Coincidentally I’d also taken a few photos of barber shops on my recent trip to New York. The first is the Bonefade Barbers sign, taken in the East Village. I like the combination of the skull with the edgy haircut. A bit Rock ‘n’ Roll fused with Day of the Dead; to me there are connotations of Elvis and Rockabilly. Then there is the play on words, drawing on Bona Fide – Latiin for good faith – and haircut terminology; the fade is a fashion choice and also part of both my sons’ vocabulary and current look:
The photo below was taken in New York’s Chinatown. As well as the iconic red white and blue barber pole I like the mix of languages; the Chinese characters on the plastic bag covering the old-style traditional broom, and on the glass shopfront, and the WET PAINT sign that has the translation PINTURA FRESCA in Spanish:
This next photograph was taken in Osaka, Japan. It also features the barber pole and multilingual signage but it was definitely the red-lipped, eye-lined, ginger barber mannequin that initially drew my attention, complete with oversized scissors and comb:
Next are a couple of photographs taken in London, both presumably aspirational. The first a multi-peaked gelled look for a child, showing both front and back view in the poster:
This next image was taken in Brent Cross Shopping Centre, looking up towards the skylight. An advertising image for Hob Man, a grooming barber salon, the neat side parting combined with forehead frown as a sign of desirability made this a contender for inclusion in my FROWN PROJECT:
Finally a photo of my husband getting his haircut at Pankhust Barbers in London’s Soho, sitting on a vintage Bentley seat framed by images of iconic, stylish masculinity such as actors Steve McQueen and James Coburn. I think he is getting my favourite, the Cary Grant:
Last Wednesday evening I was privileged to see Fatoumata Diawara. It was the launch of the Paris-based Malian singer songwriter’s new album Fenfo (Montuno/Wagram label) at Rough Trade East In London’s Brick Lane. She was performing solo, just voice and guitar and some backing tracks to occasionally multiply the chorus. She finished the set with an emotional accappela track. She gave me goose pimples as soon as she started singing – she is an incredible performer; the combination of her voice, spirit and beauty is something else. I was also moved to tears as were a number of people around me. I had previously seen her perform at The Jazz Cafe back in 2011 when she launched her album Fatou, and enjoyed hearing her musical collaborations with Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca. She also features in the Malian director Sissako’s 2014 powerful feature film Timbuktu, which I highly recommend.
Here are some pictures I took on the night:
For Fatoumata Diawara’s future tour dates see her website. She is due to return to the UK with her full band in July and November of this year.
I have been taking my time writing this post as it has been proving to be more complex than I thought. Originally it was a supposed go be a companion post to Gotta Photograph that hat! and to a future post focussing on head wraps and scarves. In many ways it still is; I just found the theme larger than anticipated, producing links and connections extending beyond photographs I’d taken of hair accessories that had caught my eye.
Even today as I write this I encountered an image in this week’s The Observer newspaper that I had made a mental note of before. It was of the Iranian woman Masih Alinejad, with her hair uncovered. Her adornment of choice is what appears be a white frangipani flower:
Like many people I love flowers. Just the other day I was in Regent’s Park photographing and inhaling the perfumes of the roses in the rose garden:
I also love seeing flowers, both real and artificial, adorning hair. Where did my penchant for this form of hair accessory come from? I looked in some old photographs I had of my parents and grandparents. No flowers in the hair on my father’s side of the family, but a few on my other’s side. My mother was a ballet dancer and here she is with her younger sister. The flowers add to the pretty femininity and natural grace of their identity as ballerinas:
Here’s another photograph of my mother’s aunt Malka Asher. She is accessorised with a floral tiara above her kiss curls. She has hooped earrings, a chunky gold choker and a dramatic flower print dress:
Some images of women with flowers in their hair that I have kept over the years; a page from an Arabic language vocabulary text book I had in the mid 70s:
A still of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera just referenced with his hand to the side of her face. The image is a TV monitor shot I took in the late 80s or early 90s.
A photograph I took at a life drawing class run by Flesh and Bones featuring the model Carla Tofano embodying Frida Kahlo:
Another monitor shot, this time of young flamenco dancers on Spanish TV:
Over the years I’ve photographed signs and labels and other objects drawing on the imagery of a flamenco dancer or gitana:
Golborne Road juxtaposition market day- a 1950s style painting and Glamour Magazine:
Some cut out graffiti in Brick Lane:
A vintage olive tim in a Margate café:
Last week I attended a Spanish Festival, the Feria de Londres. A mother and her baby daughter caught my eye. The mother was a Flamenco dancer and they both had flowers in their hair. Here are several shots of Jessica and her daughter Matlilda:
Here’s another family – three generations in red, Chalk Farm, London, 2011
Women’s March, London 2017:
Lolita fashion at the V&A, London 2012:
A couple of pictures of musician Davinia Baño from 2012:
Jade’s new tattoo, taken in 2007:
A brief history of myself with flowers in my hair:
The image below was probably from the mid 60s and predated my knowledge of the hippie movement by a couple of years. This was more of a nod to Dorothy Lamour and a Hollywood notion dressing up. with connotations of holidays, warm weather and possibly freedom from the imprisoning rigours of primary school term times, Having flowers in one’s hair was very different to wearing a hairband, ribbon or bow which were considered normal, sensible, everyday hair accessories. In the photograph below it is about dressing up and masquerade. This still of me as a Hula dancer taken from an old home movie:
The 80s – that’s me on the right:
In the mid 90s a group of salsa dancers were invited to perform on the Channel 4 morning show The Big Breakfast. We thought we were going to be cultural ambassadors performing Cuban choreography.The reality was a Carmen Miranda-like novelty appearance. I still have the placard we held up – that’s me on the left:
A self-portrait from 2005 – a bit Frida Kahlo:
A very airbrushed Photo Booth image from 2008:
Dressed for a summer gig with The London Lucumi Choir and having a quick dance at the Rueda at the Park, Kensington Gardens. I do not recall the photographer’s name – let me know if you recognise your image so I can credit you!
Identifying with Carmen, Paris 2007:
Finally a recent portrait of me (2017) by young Carla. I like the fact that she has depicted me with a flower in my hair even though I wasn’t wearing one:
Last week I was in New York for a few days staying on the Lower East Side. The weather was quite unsettled – muggy and rainy. One grey morning I saw a guy walking towards me in sandals and socks. These were not the frowned-upon socks and sandals combination formerly attributed to unstylish men with no interest in fashion. He had neon hair, the shade of a yellow highlighter pen and carried a fuchsia-coloured silk bag. His feet were tucked into bright goldfish complete with realistic eyes. I asked whether I could photograph his footwear and he obliged:
The sight of quasi-realistic fish on an urban pavement had a surreal quality. I had a sense of déja-vu; ten years ago I’d photographed a random fish found on a Tel Aviv pavement. This still life was literally a nature morte:
I’m back in London now and after a sultry weekend the weather has been very thundery and rainy. I took this yesterday in Camden. Although there are no visible fish I like the surreal illusion of a river flowing between the pavements. Needless to say I had to find another means of crossing the road:
I tried to think back on any other images of urban fish I had in my collection. The photo below was taken in a trendy cafe in Kyoto, Japan back in 2006:
And a traditional sushi and sashimi bar in Osaka in 2015 – the back wall displays the menu via a series of ink paintings of fish and Japanese calligraphy:
And here’s a street abstract taken in London’s Soho which I call Red and Green at Bar Italia. The woman on the left is wearing a dress with a koi carp print; the fish under glass in an urban setting:
Below is a still life composition I took at a Persian restaurant in London during the Iranian New Year of Nowruz. The goldfish symbolise new life. There’s a great Iranian film by Jafar Panahi called The White Balloon (1995) where a young girl is determined to buy a nice fat goldfish for the new year but loses her money:
I looked up the word fish in my photo catalogue to see if it came up as a keyword; funnily enough there was a photograph under fishnet. This was a vintage image I had scanned featuring my Aunt Pauline looking very glamorous in fishnet gloves, standing beside her husband, my late uncle, Matt Aminoff:
The other day I went to The Barbican and walking down a side street near Moorgate I saw the sky and clouds mirrored in a glass-fronted building. Later, on examining the image I also saw a face in the centre of the image, with arched white wispy eyebrows and a round mane of hair framing the heart-shaped face:
I then remembered an abstract photo I’d taken a few years ago involving architecture, cloud imagery and illusion which had a Magritte-like surrealism:
Here’s another one from the same period incorporating sky and illusion:
The photo above also brought to mind a picture I’d taken earlier this year during the cold snap referred to as The Beast from the East – looking up at a row of icicles suspended from my balcony:
The next two images concern architecture and abstraction and were taken last year in San Francisco. The photograph below was taken at the top of Coit Tower:
I can’t remember where exactly in San Francisco I saw this geometric mish mash, but I liked the combination of the illusionistic garden imagery and painted arches bordered in Arabic calligraphy and Moorish tile patterns, together with the colourful modern facades:
And finally a photograph I took last winter in Venice incorporating architecture, sky and serendipity – I looked up in the sky and saw that the puffy circular vapour patterns corresponded to the curved roof tiles on the building in front of me:
It’s been a few months since my last post on London’s Afro Cuban Music Night and I’ve wanted to do a piece highlighting images of dance. The following three photographs allude to dance using fragmentation – parts of the body to suggest the whole. The dancer is an Italian called Cesare.
In the photo below you can see Cesare’s red scarf employed in dancing rumba. Cuban musician Gerardo de Armas is playing the Cajon, a box-shaped percussion instrument played with the hand that is used in Cuban rumba sessions as well as other genres such as Afro-Peruvian and flamenco.
Cesare’s red scarf also features in the image below, Gerardo is playing congas.
Fragmentation of movement combined with percussion and song. Dave Pattman is on cajon, and you can see from his gaze that he is looking up at the dancer.
One of the reasons I like this image is that it confirms the interconnected, inseparable relationship between song, rhythm and dance in this genre of music. In Western culture we often approach these subjects as isolated entities.
The next photographs all feature dance teachers in action. One of the first Afro Cuban dance teachers in London, writer and polymath Mario López-Goicoechea, plus Cuban artist Luanda Pau Baquero now based in London and Danielle Satsias director of Havana Londres:
Here’s another photo where dance, percussion and song all come together. Vicky Jassey can be seen leading the singing to the right of Luanda:
Participation is actively encouraged at the Afro Cuban Music Night and the images below feature Silvia and Sandra dancing:
The Afro Cuban Music Night takes place the first Monday of each month and is currently held at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BX, beginning with a dance class taught by Luanda Pau at 8.30pm
Mario López-Goicoechea’s blog
Luanda Pau artist page on Facebook
Yesterday on my way home I saw a leafy tree reflected in a scooter’s wing mirror. I liked the surreal, abstract quality of this image of my neighbourhood street so I stopped to try and capture what I saw with my iPhone:
I started recalling other images I’d taken involving vehicle mirrors and remembered a series of shots featuring my son Dan in a taxi in Havana from our trip to Cuba with The London Lucumi Choir back in 2008:
The next image is an abstract featuring reflected Parisian architecture, the facades appear upside down:
Next up are some photos I’ve taken in Italy combining nature and abstraction. The first two images were taken near Ravello. In the photograph below, fuchsia bougainvillea is framed in the mirror
The next photograph plays with scale, combining the greens of rubber plant leaves and reflected views in the distance:
The following image was taken in Puglia via the wing mirror of a 3 wheeled Piaggio Ape Calessino; I like the circular framed neutral-toned abstract with its cactus surround:
Here’s one from Rome with its earthy facades:
And finally an image involving the rear view mirrors of an Egged public transport bus approaching Jerusalem. You can see the driver – several times. The Hebrew text on the display translates as THE NEXT STATION JERUSALEM CENTRAL STATION: