Last Post for Christmas

I was going to try and do a few posts over the next couple of days with some of the things that have captured my thoughts recently, but I seem to have finally fallen under the bug that a lot of my friends have had (I was rather smugly thinking I had escaped it). So I am sat in bed with my laptop reeling off what I expect to be a rather meandering post written through a mentholated fog of Beechams Powders. So I beg your indulgence and hope you will stick with me on this.

This will be the last post for about a week as I am heading off to visit family in the New Forest for Christmas. In a desperate attempt to get into a Christmas mood I am listening to possibly the only bearable yuletide album I own,  ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas‘ the original soundtrack by The Vince Guaradi Trio. This was apparently used as a source material for many of Wes Anderson‘s wonderful films.

My friend, the musician Rob Barker put me onto the Charlie Brown LP and yesterday I spent some time with Rob at the Tate Modern, the highlight of which was the amazing (I use this in the very real sense) work of Cildo Meireles. At the risk of seeming like a heathen, if you are going to pay for one show at the Tate Modern don’t bother with Rothko, go straight to the Meireles exhibition and happily hand them you hard earned cash – you will not regret it, it is absolutely amazing and needs to been seen to be believed. We couldn’t stop talking about this show once we left, and its been a long time since an exhibition has left me like that, its only on until January 11th so go now!

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Rob enjoying one of the 'Rooms' of Cildo Meireles

I think I have mentioned the American photographer Alec Soth in the past on this blog, its hard not to as he is possibly the most influential contemporary photographer to come out of the US for years. He is also very good at talking about photography and what its like to be a photographer. Any interview with Alec Soth is worth reading so here’s a good one that came up recently on the Two Way Lens blog. I had a particularly unsuccessful day on thursday when I was given access to the Yeoman Warders Club at the Tower of London. I struggled in the dull light and found it almost impossible to frame a picture that I thought was even vaguely successful. On these days you can start to question why you do what you do and begin to think that photography is a stunted, clumsy medium. So it is always a relief to read words like this from someone like Soth:

‘I keep working with photography because I love the process. To be honest, the medium really gets on my nerves. It is fragmentary and painfully mute. I’d be much more proud to say I was a novelist. But even if I could write novels, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.’

This captures the love/hate relationship that seems to be at the heart of using photography to explore your vision of the world.

Finally (this hasn’t been as rambling a post as I originally expected) I would like to say a big thank you to all of you that have supported the blog and the residency and helped me try to make sense of the strange lump of history and tradition that is the Tower of London. Have a lovely Chrisatmas and see you all in the New Year.

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