Track B – (The Art of Street Photography) – The Art of Composition, and the Composition of Art. Part 2.

Maria a.k.a. Bess/Ishaiya:

The continuation of our series The Art of Street Photography, by Maria Phillips and Bill Jones.

Originally posted on Just Us:

The Real Versus the Almost Real

In our development of this series me and Bill have discussed at great length what makes Street Photography an art form, it is in fact what inspired the series to begin with. We drew the conclusion then, that in order to appreciate and understand the Art of Street Photography, as is the title of this series, we first need to address the concept of art, and how exactly it applies to this particular medium, which we have hinted at to some degree in our previous posts with regards to its historical evolution. There seems to be considerable consternation amongst photographers and critics alike as to exactly what this genre is, whether it’s meant to convey a message or a story about the societies we live in, or whether it is meant to be a form of voyeuristic art for the sake of entertainment. There…

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Covent Garden

Gumballs!

I’m a bit rattled this morning, having had not very much sleep. My daughter had gone into meltdown when she realised that non-school uniform day was tomorrow, not today. So I was awoken from my dream-filled slumber by my phone buzzing urgently, the familiar buzz ascribed to one person alone in my contacts list, and the impending dread of wondering what I did this time?
Could I drop her uniform off at the school pronto?Fred and Ginger
Not any time soon, I said. And that was that.

I’m not good with urgent awakenings. It often sends my heart into an irregular rhythm and I get a tension headache that tells me the universe is a cruel master at times, and should stop making me perform like a little dancing puppet.
I’m sitting in my work chair (one of those bent plywood, flat pack Swedish affairs that bounces slightly when pressure is applied) trying to calm my tired head and placate my Fred and Ginger heart.

The image of the marionette is strong in my mind for some reason. I remember as a young child having fallen in love with the old wooden marionettes that had been on display at Hamley’s toy store on Regents Street in London, back in the digital-calculator-watch filled day when toys were still cool and home computers were an innovative abomination.
I’d bugged my then not yet absent father for months it felt like, about this particular marionette of a traditional Bavarian mountain farm girl that I’d seen on my first visit to Hamley’s. He told me I would have to save up for it, which at the time seemed an impossible task as he only gave me an allowance of 50p a week. The marionette was £34, more than a week’s wage at that point. Eventually my Dad caved and I visited the toy shop again, probably with my Nan, with the sole Black holesintent of purchasing this marionette. Except I remember I was so dazzled by the enormous range of toys which then spanned the store’s four floors, that distraction got the better of me and I changed my mind and bought something else with the hard-earned cash my Dad had given me, hard-earned for him that is. He was so disappointed in me. How things have changed.

Somehow I had ended up with the marionette anyway, although I can’t quite recall how that transpired exactly. But when I think of it, my Nan springs to mind.

My daughter reminds me of me in some ways. She is impulsive and highly sensitive, and changes her mind on the flip of a coin, leaving any preparation or important task to the last minute. I can imagine she was devastated when she turned up at school the only one of her classmates dressed in civvies. She has had a bit of a bad week so far. Poor girl.

Gumball-Machine

I on the other hand have been up to my eyeballs most mornings researching and writing about visual semiotics for the purposes of mine and Bill’s series on The Art of Street Photography over on the other channel. Finishing my next post was my intention for this morning, but my head feels like a gumball machine, that if I shook would rattle and spew forth its planetary wealth. I’m imagining a small blue sphere popping out of my mouth, a little Pluto, and again I am transported back to the same period of the 80s when my brother was up to his own little planetary orbs in computers and things astronomical. I’m filled with a sense of unease as I am dragged back to that time of my life. It was one long disappointment that I longed to be over and done with already by the time I was 6 years old. I was 9 maybe 10 when Marionette-Gate occurred, a little younger than my daughter is now. Such a sad time filled with so much anxiety, and longing for a bomb to drop on the house, and obliterate what was then my life. The 80s with its nuclear threats, Aids, riots, Nostradamian Armageddons, and bad pop music. I look back and Wooden shoesit’s like an eclectic cocktail that had been spiked with arsenic. Me, a member of Generation X having grown up with a sense of impending doom as the world shifted up a gear and left the dying analogue for the promise of digital wonders. My life has been replete with dramatic changes and shifts, and my own analogue heart is struggling to keep up with all this fibre-optic speed that insists on making it tap its little Bavarian clogs to a long forgotten rhythm.

Change is inevitable I suppose. My daughter might look back at this time of her life with a similar dread too, I dare say. Wondering why Mummy seemed so intent on tracing Grandad’s footsteps, not understanding that her own strings are being pulled by a hand familiar with the contours of her own beliefs and experiences. The accumulated treasury of life, that is nothing more than a gumball machine full of rubberised coloured sugar balls.

It’s almost 11 O’Clock. It’ll soon be time for the day to shift up a gear again as I go and perform my parental duties. Heaviness pulls at my eyelids and my chest, and I could so easily drift away again on whatever adventure I was on before I awoke this morning. I can still make out the images of the dream playing out on the canvas of my shuttered eyelids. Oh well, things to do, brain cells to kill…

Blue Gumball

*Images courtesy of the internet. Unknown sources.

The king and I 2

The Narcissist and I – Conversations with an Anarchist. (Snapshot Stories)

“To define me is to disrespect me, to manipulate me is to misdirect me. To deny me, is an insurrection. That is not love.”

 

“To call you an anarchist is perhaps the correct term, although convention stipulates that you are very much an Archist. You do everything by the bloody book, you are courteous, smart, and use your smarts courteously. You talk to me in numbers, facts and ailerons that guide this The king and I 2otherwise tumultuous flight on a course of directness. And in your directness there are an infinite amount of deviations that espouse a growing sense I have of your intolerance to absolutely every fucking thing you seem to lay your eyes on.
Am I pissed?
Yes. I hate feeling that every time I object to something you do, you shove me aside, put on the brakes to our indestructible relationship and dump me. You switch off, go quiet, ignore me and make me feel worthless. Do I make you feel the same? Well perhaps, but is it really the end of the world my love?
Do I need to make it any clearer how much I love you and want to be with you? Except whenever this happens between us, not only do I feel it coming like a bleeding great juggernaut heading toward me at high speed, but I seem to be overwhelmed by the feeling that I must The King and I 1engage with the front fender like a rabbit caught in headlights, standing my ground like a proud fool, not wishing to kowtow to your obvious misgivings and consequent rudeness. Then I am left wondering how you steamed right over me, turning me into road-kill, fodder for the ravens and vultures that lurk just in the periphery.
You have to know that you are not the only one that finds this behaviour tiresome, and you are certainly not the only one that wants nothing more to do with it. It seems to turn on a weekly cycle, having occupied the Sunday spot up until recently, now having shifted to a Wednesday since your road rage incident when I was with you last. That was a Wednesday; and it seemed to cement and shift the day of ignition. I say ignition because you are like a bomb waiting to go off almost like clockwork once a day, once a week. I really thought I’d managed to dodge that bullet this time, this particular week. But I see that I was being remiss in my estimations.
I keep telling you this, in fact I have stopped since the last time you dumped me unceremoniously, last Wednesday, but I have said repeatedly that I can read you like a book. How do you think I can love you as much as I do? Because I’m connected to you. When you pull away I feel it like I’ve been disconnected from the mains socket. When you connect fully with me however, I feel like I’m flying high. I’m so full of love for you, for us and I feel as though there is nothing that can keep me from you. But my god you make me work fucking hard for your affection!
I have no clue how I’m supposed to be around you, without breaking the delicate shell-like membrane that you insist on residing within, cocooned in your prison like an incubating dragon waiting to grow to maturity. I know the version of you I want and would prefer, and I’m working damned hard at manifesting that version of you like you would not believe. The you that discards me on a whim is the one that needs to leave this relationship. He needs to find his ownyul-brynner-the-king-and-i2 way, somewhere that he can grow without destroying those he loves around him. That part of you I dislike intensely, and I want nothing to do with him. I know he is a remnant of persons past for us both, but I have no intentions of taking him with us in this incarnation of my life. So if you have a semblance of faith in us at all then you will apologise and make amends because you know and feel that you should preserve us and encourage us to grow in the way that we both know we can. You will message me because you will feel my intent and understand that I am worth more than your pre-emptive wrath.

I’m a fool and you’re an idiot. I want you to fight for me, but I fear you already gave up several Sundays ago. You gave up the ghost and threw me out with it. Maybe you aren’t here because you wouldn’t be good for me or yourself in your current state. At a distance your torrid behaviour is easier to tolerate, then again maybe it isn’t. I always feel like I undergo a death when you get mad with me. You push me as far away from you as possible and it makes my lady parts hurt. I feel my personhood shatter into tiny shards, and I no longer wish to participate in anything. You break me so you can remould me it seems. You tear down my preconceptions and desires likes a force of nature, exposing me for all to see as far as the next fucking galaxy. You make me burn bright like a raging star, reminding everyone who can see me in the infinite Universe of their fate, should they err even just a little from their heart’s intent. And for what? Why do you need to destroy everything in your life until it no longer functions in the way that you found it? Is that what happened to you?
I am not you, yet you reflect me perfectly in so many ways that I will never fathom.
Then in one fell swoop you change everything, press ‘reset’ and the world is full of hope once again. Once that is, you have got over whatever it is you are finding yourself dealing with.
The-King-and-I-yul-brynner-17921601-1024-768The thing is, I’m here and you, well you are somewhere else entirely. You are nowhere near me at all. You may as well be living on a different planet for all I know. I am in a relationship with a man who is thousands of miles away, weeks of planning away, and hundreds of dollars far from me most of the time. Through the magic of current technology that distance seems to shrink a little as I see your face in real-time streamed through the airwaves like a thought-form turned cinematic. I hear your voice as if you were sitting in my head, just within arm’s reach. But then disappointment creeps in as not so very deep down I realise that you are in fact nowhere near me at all. I couldn’t reach out and touch you no matter how much I wanted to. You are a figment of my imagination gone rogue, a fantasy that like a dream I seldom experience with any kind of physical cognition.
I sometimes catch myself wondering where this ring on my finger came from or what it even means, when it only sits on my finger. An abstract notion of connection that is no more than a piece of metal with scraps of the earth carved and polished and set within its cold hard yellow surface, made to look more special than it really is. This ring will never be enough to convince me of anything. I’m really not that much of a fool, although I can be a fool at times. I am not so deluded and a follower of convention that I would fall for that old chestnut. I am more than fully aware of how much work maintaining a relationship takes, and that no cold hard physical object will ever be enough to do that work for me. A cold hard guideline, a reminder, a prompt for the warmth of the flesh and the heaving of a beating heart, and the aspirations of an active imagination that seeks physical expression. If you have faith in us then you will let me know right now. If I do not hear from you, then I will know that you mean to kill us both with your The King and Iarrogance and shame. That you plan to set us apart as a failed enterprise that was never going to take off because the landing gear had already been previously damaged. I look at the empty blackness of the magic device, and I see that you are not really there. You have abandoned me. You have returned to wherever it is you are, and I am nothing more to you than water vapour on your sturdy fuel-filled wings, a contrail left to disperse quietly and slowly over the expanse of the sky; a huge scar across the universe that will never properly heal, but be reabsorbed into the ubiquitous atmosphere, churned around by the weather systems that pattern and temper the lands and the souls who reside upon and within it. Reabsorbed into the dynamic and ever-changing nature of consciousness, and always I am far from you as you fly into the sun.”

Anna

Window 3

Friday-itis.

Life can be a stupidly peculiar old thing. It never ceases to surprise me. The assholes of the world are somehow absolved from time to time by a never ending streak of creativity that cracks at the air like a bull-whip when you least expect it, sending you either teetering on the brink of some grand realisation, or setting you loose like a balloon dancing playfully in the warm currents of mirth and good cheer.
I’ve mentioned my neighbours in previous posts, the ones to the right if facing out of my WIndow 2bedroom window, who are of an interesting extraction, Eastern-European I’m guessing. The Dad who likes to tinker with mechanics, and religiously warms his engine every morning beneath my bedroom window at the same ungodly hour of 5:45 before finally letting me get some peace and quiet again. The same Dad who went through a spate of leaving his rubbish bin in front of my garage on my drive because he’d decided that exerting his masculinity and thus claiming his psychological territory over the newcomer (me) was somehow a good idea. He picked the wrong little lady to play neighbourly footsie with I can tell you. I know an asshole when I see one. This strange act of neighbourly courtship lasted until I decided that instead of moving his rubbish bin back in front of his garage repeatedly, that I would hide it around the corner of the street. Eventually he desisted.
They are a colourful family, with a constant army of people seemingly wandering in and out of the premises on a daily basis. The mother, a lovely woman, the sort that gives all the neighbours in the cul-de-sac a Christmas card from the family, and warns you personally of any impending danger owing to son’s parties.
The walls are very thin in these houses, and being smack bang in the middle of a terrace I hear it all. So when Mr.Mechanic came home one evening a few months back and decided to let the fury of hell out on one of his family members I was here, experiencing every unintelligible word argued at a million decibels, believing that at any moment there was sure to be a fatality. Four hours later the dust settled, and I hoped, hoped I did, that he had decided to move out as I had seen him drive away with children in tow. Sadly I think elderly Mum and Dad had told him not to be such and idiot and go back home, grown-arsed swine that he was (I can only imagine that is what happened). It was quiet for a good few days after that. Good to know they all got it out of their systems for a while.

Window 1Then, there are the neighbours to the left. The woman who, in an effort to look like a Lucile Ball china doll with her drawn on eyebrows suggesting an expression of permanent surprise, instead looks like a short china troll with a mantelpiece you could proudly display a carriage clock on. The man, who is so accustomed to speaking at a shout to his young psychopathic children sounds like he has permanent vocal strain. I hear them too, through my paper-thin walls being run ragged by three little demonic forms that are often seen parading starkers out in the elements, much to my own children’s amusement. Highly inappropriate family full-stop. Not that I am the model of perfection by a long shot when it comes to reprimanding my own brats, but there is a limit. They of the flashy Christmas lights wrapped around their Yucca Plant (more of a tree really), left on all night, every night over the extended Christmas period which began somewhen last November, and which flashied right through my front door and my bedroom window above making the whole house light up like a fucking Christmas tree!
When I eventually managed to catch them to express my grievances, and after my eldest son decided to announce to them at full voice that “My mum finds it really annoying”, smiling as he did so, we struck a happy medium wherein they would eventually switch the damned lights off some nights in the tight wee hours of the morning, and leave them on other nights on non-flashy mode. Some nights, however, they clearly forgot altogether, or just couldn’t be arsed.

Having become accustomed to a certain kind of discordant wailing drifting through my walls from their humble abode of loud TVs and even louder children on pretty much a daily basis, imagine my utter surprise when I heard a highly pitched manly voice singing from the room on the opposite side of the wall as I took my morning bath today. I stood transfixed for a time, trying to tune my hearing into the melodic but almost familiar cadence of song typical to the Indian Subcontinent, echoed in the roots of flamenco music that I myself grew up listening to. I thought at first he was taking the piss, as the man looks like an ordinary white British bod, then I contemplated the possibility that it was the TV blaring, except that the singing softened and Window 3became louder from time to time as he obviously paced about the room.
As I continued to listen however, I soon realised that not only did he appear to be fluent in whatever language he was singing in, as he would stop periodically and talk animatedly, not sure to whom, but that his singing voice was most accomplished. It was almost pleasant to listen to. He carried a complex melody that I could only conclude came from a thorough knowledge of that style of music, and language notwithstanding. I stood throughout the whole rendition, one foot in the bath, the other on the bath mat, with a stupid grin on my face and my own look of surprise arching above my then very awake eyes. For a moment, the man was redeemed in my estimations, and I wondered if he kept this a secret from he Missus as I’d never heard him sing at any other time? It was clear he was alone. I know they both like a curry owing to the frequent visits from the home delivery guys from the India Star just over the fence in the shopping arcade, but this was a total eye-opener. Maybe they hadn’t minded my own singing now and then after all. People are peculiar creatures.

Track B (The Art of Street Photography) – The Art of Composition, and the Composition of Art. Part 1

Maria a.k.a. Bess/Ishaiya:

Bill and I have begun a new series called ‘The Art of Street Photography’ over on our blog Just Us. As lovers of art and of Street Photography in particular we have taken it upon ourselves to explore the history of this fascinating subject, and the artistic theory that underpins this genre. I hope you’ll join us on our little jaunt into this exciting project, and to what will hopefully become an invaluable resource on the subject. We both draw from almost 78 years worth of experience between us in the fields of photography and art, so we feel confident that we might just pique your interest, especially amongst fellow photographers and artists, or for anyone with an interest. Hope to see you there! :)
Maria/Bess

Originally posted on Just Us:

An Introduction to Vivian Maier, and the Phenomenon of the Artist-Photographer.

Vivian Maier, born in New York in 1926, a nanny originally of French and Austrian heritage, was, is, in mine and Bill’s opinion possibly the best street photographer in the history of street photography. She has been hailed as one of the greatest talents of the Street Photography genre

Vivian Maier Self Portrait with Roleiflex Camera

by experts in the field, since her chance discovery in 2009 when student and dealer in second-hand goods, John Maloof bought a storage container at auction for the grand sum of $389. What he discovered were boxes and boxes full of undeveloped negatives dating from the early 1950s, all the way through the second half of the 20th century, and up until her death in 2009. Her body of work consists of over 100,000 shots. She was incredibly prolific for an amateur photographer…

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Featured Image -- 1636

It’s always the right time.

Originally posted on Just Us:

Bill and Maria discuss equality

I began penning my response to Bill’s comment regarding my recent post, ‘Never a right time’, and realised that it constituted an essay’s worth of wordage, so I thought I’d post it instead as it also happens to be a fascinating discussion. The subject of prejudice will never get old unfortunately.

Not being terribly familiar with New Zealand society, and having graduated from the school of southern American hatred to the new let’s-all-hug-it-out world of pretending we like one another, I find the article … quaint. It is as if the Uni has just discovered — not love — but the idea that someone can stand up and say, “Hey, that kind of sucks a bit.”

I guess I’m used to the American way, which is to shout it out, if not pull a gun until the other guy listens. That aside, I have to agree with you. The…

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Train tracks

Don’t Wait.

Don’t wait until you are losing someone,

To realise that you need to be there for them,

In the way that you should always have been there for them.

Maybe you didn’t really love them in the way

That you thought you loved them at all?

Too caught up in your own whirlwind

Of self-deprecation, or aggrandisement.

If you prepared yourself for the day when you would lose them,

Then you were never truly present with them.

That isn’t love, that is just biding your time,

Until you too lose yourself to the winds of change,

And are gone.

Don’t wait for time to pass you by before you decide,

That the time is now right,

It’s not, it’s an excuse,

And you will never get it back.

Opportunities, like love,

Are there to be taken and enjoyed,

When they arise. They have arisen for a reason,

And at exactly the right moment that you need them.

Life is too short; it dwindles so very quickly.

Don’t be so full of so much self pride, or self loathing,

That you cannot take charge of those opportunities

That greet you, as you stride so blatantly and  unaware through your day.

Appreciate those who honour your path with their presence,

As you them, with yours.

Don’t wait until you are losing someone,

To realise that you need to be there for them,

In the way that you should always have been there for them.

There is no time to lose, at all.

Not now, not ever.