Monthly Archives: June 2012

Relentless Melt

Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest. Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up. The best is yet to come. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. (Thanks, A___) Or in my own words: No more meltdown, “relentless melt” is the word! Cos’ there is no point wallowing in self-pity. 
And with that in mind we are off again. With our degrees pratically in our pockets, we have formed a collective and have managed to get an exhibition off the ground within a matter of days. The biggest discussion, I think, was probably the one about the name of our collective. Well, I present to you “Melt Collective”, loosely based on the Susan Sontag quote 

“(…)  all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt”. 

The Melt Collective comprises of a group of lens based visual artists who met while completing a BA in Photographic Media in Griffith College Dublin.

‘Relentless Melt’ is our first group show since graduating which opens to the public on the 5 July, and runs until 12 of August in the Motorhouse, in Farmleigh House courtyard. And hence our first group exhibition also references the quote. 

You are cordially invited to join us for the opening of the show on Wednesday, 4th of July, in the Motorhouse Gallery in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park. The more the merrier, so I hope to see you all there, and celebrate the next step in our photographic life, now as graduated snappers. Let’s hope that f*ck-ups like the below are a thing of the past – or a deliberate artistic choice…
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Curiosity Killed the Cr*p

I have finally touched marky Mark again. It took a week of sulking but finally, I succumbed. And what gets me to shoot again? No noble pretensions of artistic expression or altruistic urges of public information. Nope. It’s curiosity that got the better of me. Because right now, this minute, this is what is happening outside my front door:
I am a paparrazza. Well, that’s nice to know after putting in three years of semiotics, photo critique, copyright law and photographic theory… Twelve grand well spent. When all you need is a long lens and a curious mind?
Ok, stop the bitterness, Sonja. It’s not like that at all, of course. But I must admit that the last week was one of the lowest points in after my degree course. I felt turned off by photography completely, so disappointed I was with my mark, a very average 2.1, that I could not bear to even look at my darling marky Mark.
And then curiosity struck. The film people started gathering outside in the morning and I just could not resist watching and wondering. And eventually the camera came out to document it. Curiosity. Probably the singlemost important motivation for a photographer. Cos if we weren’t interested in the world around us, we wouldn’t bother carrying around bulky equipment, lying in wait for the sun to shine at the perfect angle, hanging ourselves out of windows on the third floor to catch a glimpse of a scene.
The truth is, I still love photographing. I am not sure if I love having my work graded and appraised and critiqued, though. Tough t*ts. Get over it, Sonja.

20×20

Still firmly in the grip of PTSD, and even more so since the results of college came out a few days ago – and did not meet my expectations. But at little light at the horizon is gracing this dull, grey midsummer day: The 20×20 exhibition is looming and I have made it into it with my submission.
I had nearly forgotten about this exhibition for which a call for submission went out earlier this year. Open to current and recently graduated photography students, Dublin fine arts printers Inspirational Arts were looking for “moments from the side”. Or in their words: 

The theme ‘Peripheries – Moments From The Side’ explores the role of photography and it’s potential for capturing the everyday surrealism, humour and grace with which we live our lives in today’s Ireland. All styles are included, from the staged to the opportune, and the carefully composed straight shot to the digitally transformed abstract.

Between 50 and 60 photographers sent in their entries and 20 of them will be displayed in the iA premises from next week. When I received a call last week from iA to come in and choose the paper for my print, I did not cop on at all that that meant my image was going to be on the wall. I actually had to ask them straight, whether I was going to be in it…
I don’t want to show my picture here just yet – if you are curious, please come and see it when the exhibition opens on Thursday, 28th June at 6.30 pm or visit the gallery space until Friday, 13th of July. But I’ll tease you with an image from the same series that my submission came from. 
Last October I had been out to Arklow to visit a friend for tea. As I left her, I was in a slightly morose mood (much the same as today – is there a theme here???) and decided I needed to seek solace in the desolation of a cold, windy, deserted beach in rainy autumn weather. The car park in Brittas Bay was deserted. There was hardly anyone on the beach. The sky was overcast and grey. I hugged marky Mark closely to me, to prevent him from getting wet. I stalked around on the beach, watching the waves crashing violently onto the strand, being drawn towards the sound and the power of the sea. I had to snap myself out of the reverie before I got totally drenched. I snapped a few images on the beach – sand, waves, gulls. Then I headed back towards the car park. And as I was walking through the dunes, my eyes caught the glistening droplets of water, hanging from the bracken and sparkling lively despite the dull day. Almost an epiphany, I guess. And that’s when I finally found my moment from the side…
inspirational Arts
Herbert Street
Dublin 2
28th June – 13th July

Replacement Activity

What does a photo addict do when she feels absolutely no desire to touch a camera, but has to fuel the addiction? Right, she looks at photos. Pity that I cannot show you the images here – they are not mine and cannot be used without breach of copyright. And they are of fangrrly nature and therefore unsuitable for a respectable blog like this one. Instead I will do what the internet seems to go crazy for at the moment. Or is that only because the fangrrly circles I am currently knocking around in are populated by 14-year-old girls who love everything furry, soft and warm???
Reports have reached me that my cat has gone viral. Apparently Jag is making the rounds of the internet, pictured on the bonnet of a car, stretching his claws. And the picture wasn’t even taken by me. What is the copyright situation on that? Can pictures of my cat be taken by other photographers and then made viral??? (Just kidding, of course they can.)
Well, kitten Jag up there is my attempt at a strike back. Go on, that sad look in his eyes, the big blue peeps, the soft black fur against the white wood. You know you want to. Want what? Want to make him viral. Go on – steal my pic, post it on Facebook, on Twitter, Tumblr on whichever platform takes your fancy. Preferably and for fairness’s sake with a credit.
Gee, I am half tempted to take that camera up and take a follow-up shot of the full grown tom-cat right now. Nah, just joking, I think I’ll stay in anti-photography land for a while yet.

PTSD

… does not stand for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but for Post Three Year Student Degree. It is over, and I have experienced a bout of PTSD. Or maybe it was more like a BO? That does not stand for body odour, despite the sweat that was shed, slaving away on shoots and visual diaries and submissions but is BO for Burn Out. In any case, I did neither feel like taking any pictures nor writing up how the grad show went. If it weren’t for my little iPhone 365 project, I wouldn’t have engaged in *anything* visual at all, save opening my eyes in the morning… But it is time to lay the ghosts at rest, to look truth in the face and to do what must be done – catch up with what happened, is happening and will happen in the future.
The grad show was meant to be the final culmination of three years of academic obsession with photography. For the past nine months we worked on projects that were going to be shown as our final project in the show. In hindsight it is safe to say that this was the most professional and most intense project attempted so far. And even though I had chosen the project myself and was genuinely interested in my own thesis for the project, I could not help but feel bored and frustrated with it by the time the grad show arrived. 
I just about managed to make a selection of images and half-heartedly decide how to print them. I spent a fortune on that – which I shouldn’t have but felt obliged to. And all this knowing, that my project wasn’t going to win any flowerpots there… Never mind – been there, done that. And here’s the proof:
Actually doesn’t look too bad in this image. Postcards and business cards at the ready – and a few of them were taken, so that was nice. But I am sooo ready to move on from this. My attention span is simply too short for any long-term stuff.
Moving on!!!