I drove to Whitstable on Saturday and believe me it was beautiful!

a photograph is not a painting

Disaster stroke last week; I lost the battery of the Leica dlux3. This essentially meant no snap shooting for a few days and the realization of how important this has become for me in the last few years, first using an Olympus mju2 and now the Leica dlux3. The evidence is that I  always photograph best when I am not thinking and only looking. Thinking does not engage feeling and snap shooting  is a good way to feel the world around; in that sense, photography is for me an artistic medium, like Haikus rather than philosophical statements. Not for me the big epic, the fresco depicting Hell, Heaven, the damned and the beautiful, I am only looking at the footprint, the chard, the electric wire. By having a thorough knowledge of art history, I often see elements of the real world which recall an art movement, sometimes a painting. This is somehow reassuring for me; what I see is part of the whole, others have seen it before me, be a long time ago or just a few weeks. When I see "that way", I might inconsiderately decide to shoot. It is probably my way of saying to dead artists:I know your work and I embrace you. Photography can hold hand with painting, the way it does with everything that might ever come out of a human brain, the way René Magritte hold hand with pipes and hats. But a photography will never be a painting. The time spent, the smell, the white canvas, wood, plaster which will be covered by hand, the patience also the impatience, mostly the time spent to produce one painting can never be compared to even the longest exposure, the most fastidious Photoshop fiddling, or chemistry enhancing of a photography. So what is Jane Ure-Smith trying to say in this week end FT Life and Art, when she titles her review of Andreas Gursky new show at Sprüth-Magers in Berlin "Painterly Photographic"?, calling him a "painter" of modern life? Possibly, she does not know her De Kooning from her Richard Misrach. Did she meant to refer to his sense of composition? It seems Mr Gursky affirms not being interested in an objective view of the world but a painterly view, which is not the same idea at all than him producing "painterly" photographic work. He mentions the formal qualities of painting, that is the form, not the essence. Form follows function and it is evident here that Mr Gursky is not about to abandon the walls of the museums to start a blog showcasing the snapshots of his "carefree days, driving through some nice landscapes."
I shot the back of this advertising board in front of the old Commonwealth Institute and I was in  a Lucio Fontana meet Picasso mood.




Lorna Sage

As I wait for the bag of frozen peas to work their magic on my knee, I have started to read Lorna Sage Moments of Truth, Twelve Twentieth-Century Women Writers. The anonymous portrait on the jacket makes me want to read every single word she has ever written. She married at 16 because she was pregnant but still graduated and became a literary critic and a Professor of English Literature. She died in 2001 aged 57. I feel that along with Grace Paley, whose Collected Stories I read last year, I will find in LS a true inspiration for what to thrive for as a creative woman and mother: quiet determination, a self-belief so powerful that reserve and shyness have no means of survival. Great accomplishment does not necessitate weekly manicures and in order to shine a woman has no requisite for the services of Mario Testino or Brigitte Lacombe.


                                                              shining in the kitchen 2007



Spring is all over the place, sunshine, daffodils, Alys Fawler and her edible garden on the BBC, Cath Kidtson on a roll for world domination, Essex Ladies in their 70's starting their sunburning cure on newly renovated, primroses planted Marble Arch Plaza. The cat is shedding so many hair, it won't be long until I can do my photo shoot for PETA; it's nice, there is beautiful sunlight again, the thing is, I can not stop thinking about cars. I am doing a lot of strange test from inside my car, some street shots where the cars have the focus whereas I have been cursing any kind of post 1960 vehicles littering my field of vision for years; I'm on the sprawl for the London best car park, window-licking at Peter Bradfield Vintage Cars in South Kensington, and the more I'm becoming engrossed in  my car visual delirium tremens, I remember that I have a fair number of snapshots featuring cars and more so of while-in-a-car snapshots, like the one above, at the red light on the rond point de Realpanier coming back from Arles. I won't go into detail on the reasons I named that blog hips like boys but yes, cars were an important part of me growing up and I'm not ashamed to say I still squeal when I see a Ferrari 250GT. I 'll only show the pretty stuff today but I'm hoping to come up with something interesting from my "3 days in a car boot" shoot.


camera luminosa

I went to my first physiotherapy appointment this morning and could not resist stealing a view from my pale grey curtained partition. The ceiling light, be it neon-light, participating to the fantasy that I stood in my own, long dreamed of, version of Irving Penn's studio. I long for a white linen cabin that could be installed in an instant and on sunny days, invite people to have their portrait taken. The whole installation functioning as a giant 3D light-box, with the white linen filtering as well as subtly reflecting the natural light. The point is not only the light but the isolation, the calm that emanate from a floating curtain, the idea of being in the world but remote from its constant solicitation. I have to go over the pain threshold.