Image of the week...Taxxxxi!

My expectations are high so I half prepare myself to be disappointed as the windscreen fills up with disdained and dreary apocalyptic scenes. The grey is overwhelming and I wish there was raining to paint the scene in its natural hues. It’s so beautiful.

We stroll about for a few hours but the heat is intense and I know what I’m hunting for isn’t there.

‘No I don’t want to see a monastery thank you’ I repeat with irritation for the sixth time to Alex. He seems to have a relentless tenacity to change my mind.

I surrender to treating it as a reccy and a fun day to explore but admit I am slightly disappointed. I stop a taxi driver as we pass and ask to take his picture. His wide eyes and tan jacket compel me.

Tomorrow we shall return and hope for grey skies OAO xx

 

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Image of the week... stop off

The bottle jumped erratically as the truck attempted to maneuver the rocky terrain. The natural carbonated spring water had turned a thick, cloudy yellow from the intense heat; it looked gross. I was pessimistic today but glanced with curiosity as we slowly passed a group of men playing dominos in an otherwise dead wasteland. Alex noticed my concentration and asked if he should stop. I shrugged. "Yeah, why not?"

He reversed and parked. I could see them half looking up and calculating our agenda as we approached. We flaunted a toothy grin and explained I was visiting and wanted to take some portraits. They were patient and agreed; happily letting us intrude. The wall behind was a perfect canvas and they remained engrossed in their game as I shot. It felt calm and time disappeared. We chatted some more and wished them well before heading back to the dirt track.

oao x

 

 

 

 

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Image of the week...all text no image

When I’m on the hunt I feel like I start with a flat tank, half full. As I drive/walk etc I feel like my energy, self confidence and love of life slowly drains and I yearn for the end. Then , occasionally I turn a corner, I see something. Like finding a snack in your bag when you’re really hungry. It can range on the spectrum from a half rotten satsuma to a home-made flapjack . The satiety and comfort it brings is unmatchable . I am recharged, energised and ready to hunt for more.
In the mean time I fade in and out of rage at the sun and regret my wasted time and faffing . I feel lament for the clouded heavy skies that painted the scenes whilst I was still showering .
I chant:
Let go of what you can’t control
Be patient and present
Be grateful
It will come and if it doesn’t - that’s ok

It’s strange when no one else around you feels that anxiety
As they smile and drive they are unaware of the time a cloud looms or the sun strikes a building in a seductive fashion.

This is my first escape in a while and I felt the need to vent that I've taken no pictures and feel a tad empty. But who knows, maybe I'll stumble across even a mouldy satsuma soon.

 

OAO

Image of the week...way back when

It seems like ions ago we jumped off the train and landed in East Tilbury. With the sun shining I feel the urge revisit the land of paddling pools and koala parks. This old shot reminds me how much I loved the community and how the smell of summer ignited an orgnanic gathering. It wasn't just the kids that went out the front to play. In no time at all we were greeted with a display of gymnastics which quickly escalated into a contest. I recall having a real desire to do a head stand until I was reminded that I was being unrealistic...oao x

 

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Image of the week... ongoing

“How long until you finish the project?” She quizzes as I sip my wine, realising I’m drunk.

“ I don’t really have ends to projects “ I explain.

Perhaps it is the relentless lack of satiety I feel or maybe just a general absence of closure. It has taken me 7 years to form the relationship I have with Devorah and her family. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all of the people I want to meet and experiences I want to explore within the Jewish community. I have no idea why I started and not a clue as to when I’ll stop. I ve also discovered that I seem to be shooting the same shots over and over which is depressing.

I was aware from the beginning of the project that it would lead to an infinite and unattainable chase; a quest to learn how to portray the world I am exploring. However the experiences have kept me hooked. I decided I am simply responding to the people I meet and the conversations I have. I am interested in the tradition, the community and the daily life. In essence the people.  I quickly realised there is too much to learn. 

As I sit here soaking every ounce of vitamin D I can extract I think how strange it was that only a few months ago I was heaving my stupid leg cast through the snow in Stamford hill. Even if it’s only for a few hours I can’t resist poking my head out to witness the celebrations; they are infectiously energising.

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Just behind the kitchen table straddling the stack of chairs and the fridge freezer, blinds open. That’s the position I find myself assuming nearly every time I visit. At first I resist it’s seduction, defiantly I adopt new positions, dance around the rooms to explore a new angle. But eventually every time I resign to that spot. The best view in the room. Here’s my attempt an alternative

 

OAO x

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Image of the week...tease

I've just finished writing my blog post for today but I don't have an image yet. Plus, my eyes are drooping.

To behave I'll post an image from the BBC shoot. I'm planning an aligned project this year and revisiting the images for ideas. I am reminded how infectiously entertaining the group were. I can't wait to get started... OAO x

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Image of the week... baby steps

The tinted windows made me anxious the light would fade. I loaded a roll of film occasionally looking up to trick my car sickness. Gently climbing out of the cab I enjoyed the smack of a cold snowy breeze. The park was quite empty and looked alien covered in a white blanket. I was there to test my foot with a camera for company. According to google, the sun would set at 530 so I had an hour until I hoped a purple haze would hit the sky.

After 30 minutes of walking like a pensioner, the scene was yet to impress when suddenly out of nowhere a blizzard hit. The sky turned in a matter of seconds and the parted trees and windy path transformed into a painting. I felt joy. Not only for having two feet on the ground in a peaceful place but for the gift of artic ambiance. I fired off a few frames as a group of girls filled the space between myself and a translucent pavilion.

The counter said 8 as I fought against the wind towards the tall arched trees. Every passer-by was a questionable opportunity. A boy of about 10 rejected my offer when I explained my reasoning was to test a new camera for college. He looked at my 32-year-old face and suspiciously declined. I am getting old and fooling no one – that blag has expired.

A desaturated yellow bag and a blue coat hid a man walking towards me. I waited until he was close but pressed too soon. The shot was crap and as if to mock my attempt he lifted his beautifully animated face and smiled as he passed me in slow motion. His eyebrows and thick mustache were buried under an avalanche of snow and I could have sworn his green eyes twinkled as they locked to mine. He had worn leather skin with deep lines painted perfectly around his features. Damn. That was a shot missed.

My hands were uselessly cold which meant my camera was now redundant. My attention quickly shifted back to reality and the pain in my feet began to chant loudly. I looked down at my fur coat and boots sprinkled with snowflakes and remembered that I was not immune to the weather. I often forget when I am shooting that I am also there; that the snow hits me too.

After ten minutes I was ready for a second bath of the day and fought on to find the exit and take refuge in a newsagent whilst I figured my route home.

Walk one complete. Damn cold baby steps.

This image is from a trip to Romania years ago when the snow storm took us by surprise. Andrei guided me to a spot he recalled from his childhood. It's the last time I remember feeling as cold as I did today. The other makes reminds me how much I need some vitamin D x

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Image of the week...never forget twice...

I am secretly a creature of habit. I need wild unpredictability blended with a nourishing amount of consistent routine. This blog keeps me safe. It's a window to vent each week and I've tried never to miss two weeks in a row. Once is forgivable under the circumstances of failed technology or dreamy remoteness but twice is just silly. I often find myself typing with drooping eyes or reflecting on old imagery.

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The picture I wanted to talk about will have to wait, as it's not yet released. So instead I'll revisit some older scans. With my frustration levels beyond explanation, I am dreaming of travelling more than my head can handle. To remind me of this I decided to punish myself by delving through my scans from last year.

I would give a lot to be strolling around Romania or Albania again...oao x

 

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Image of the week...next...

A teeny incoherent post before I pass out...

Tied to my crutches I am frustrated beyond words . To keep me sane and rested I'm trying to focus my efforts on research. With a few exciting projects in motion, I decided to revisit the images I shot for the BBC for some productive reflection.

When shooting this I was reminded of how much time I spent in Wolworths , my love of Babybels and the joy of that after school freedom.

I'm acutely aware that my teen years were so long ago, time seems to move quicker than ever. I'll be continuing this work and no doubt triggering more nostalgia.

OAO x

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Image of the week...Familiar strangers

I need to have as much mystery as possible when I shoot a portrait. Endless narratives and infinite outcomes keep the tension alive and maintain my curiosity. So shooting someone I know is dull, almost pointless. A present I have already unwrapped. Like a gorgeous sunset, you know you can never do them justice. They are more than flesh and light.

I can't shoot my mother, she s too close. My sister I can manage occasionally at a distance; because she evolves so rapidly and despises being photographed which is always a tease.

Hin has appeared in numerous images over the years. But as a prop, a figure and never as Hin.

Shooting him is equally challenging and daunting. I value his artistic critique but know him too well to find him a potential subject. For this I also had a brief- to make him as alluring as possible.

We surrendered for a local spot with little choice due to my blasted foot. Hin and I have walked together for years. The most fitting scenario would clearly be to grab a portrait on a random walk. In the mean time this will have to do. 

 

OAO x

 

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