August 20, 2010

post cerealism

Today's bees knees award goes to the clever, the witty, the oh-so-magically-delicious Ernie Button. Even his name is cool.

Some images from his cerealism series. (Visit his site to see them all.)

(french toast canyon)

(cheeramids #3)

August 18, 2010

mossy delight

Got an email this week announcing that the long awaited moss bath rug by designer Nguyen La Chanh has finally gone into production. Normally the mere suggestion of fungus in the bathroom would be enough to send this recovering germophobe back into intensive therapy (I prepared it as I bathed) but there's something so comfy and organic and not at all gross about it. Add it to the reno source list.

So far the only place to get one is here.

August 12, 2010

i want to ride my bicycle

People who know me would probably be surprised to hear me express enthusiasm for biking. The truth is I adore bicycles. It's the uber sporty, hard core dude, Lance Armstrong loving, spandex wearing school of cyling that I don't care for which is sadly the norm in my corner of the world.

When I was a teenager I spent a year in Germany as an exchange student. One of the best things about that time was the euro bike I was given to tool around the town. Over the cobblestone streets I rode to school, the market, teetering home from the pub... good times.

There's something so civilized about those sturdy yet stylish euro bikes. I love this one - the dutch city bike from Vancouver's Jorg & Olif.

These days, I've got my heart set on the idea of somehow importing a Christiana bike from Denmark. Almost more plentiful than cars in Copenhagen, you'd see these put to use in any number of ways - to pick up the kids, groceries, de facto delivery vans... even the post office uses these to deliver the mail.

Here's one we spotted at Amsterdam's Foam Gallery on our last visit.

I'm not sure how exactly I think I'd be able to make my commute to town with such a bike (it involves a trip down the Alaska Highway which is bigger and busier than you might think), but if anyone out there has a lead on a Canadian or North American importer, drop me a line.

August 8, 2010

so hip it hurts

Our brief northern heatwave has passed only to be replaced by the return of the August drearies. ho hum.

There is a bright spot shining through the drizzle with this morning's discovery of Unhappy Hipsters. Reminds me a little of my favourite Martin Parr series, Bored Couples.

Stare all he might, he couldn’t wrap his head around how to panel the interior of the fridge with plywood.

Though the hike to town was back-breaking, they both agreed that installing a road would have ruined the juxtaposition of the built and natural environments.

Add this to the rotation along with Regretsy, Awkward Family Photos and Cake Wrecks.

August 5, 2010

everything i ever needed to know about photography i learned from duane michals

Like Magritte, Duane Michals' work tweaks something in my brain. I've tried before to explain the response his work elicits in me. The best I can manage is that somehow when I look at his images it's as though discovery and primal recognition converge and I am immediately taken to my happiest of happy places.

(from "a visit with magritte"

Whenever I'm feeling adrift, I pull out my beloved copy of Sequences. It calms and anchors me again.

And when I'm seeking creative guidance, I re-read this incredible 1969 transcript of a discussion between Michals and a group of students at New York's MOMA. Some of my favourite excerpts below.

On spontaneity
"Why does it have to be spontaneous? Ah, you see you're operating under the point of view we've been functioning under the last 20 years and that's the Robert Frank, [Henri] Cartier-Bresson point of view. The reality or the truth of the street. "Something really is valid only when you catch the instant that the thing happens in front of your eyes," you know. You get locked under a question of "reality." That's one kind of reality, there, but you know reality is really a fantastic problem. I mean you really get into this with photography. My pictures are as valid, or may be even more valid, in their contrivedness; they have their own reality. It's two different points of view. But all I'm saying is that people should start considering this point of view as being as valid as the "truth of the street.''

On pretty pictures
"...the fact that you were there to respond to something—that's not enough. Also, when you look at it, it all depends on what you want out of your photographs. If you look at a photograph and you think, "My isn't that a beautiful photograph," and you go on to the next one. Or "Isn't that nice light?" so what! I mean what does it do to you or what's the real value in the long run? What do you walk away from it with? I mean I'd much rather show you a photograph that makes demands on you, that you might become involved in on your own terms or perplexed by. Or I'd much rather suggest something that explains something. I think that, so you see a picturesque picture of a lady standing on a corner with a grumpy face wrapped up in an American flag . . . well that's an interesting photograph; but two minutes later it's not an interesting photograph. Ah, where are all those private head images that are all sitting here at the table? You know, everybody's waiting for something outside to happen for them to record. You know, what's going on inside of you? Why are you ignoring yourself?"

On cameras
"I think photographers should use what a camera can do, like a painter uses what the paint can do. I mean cameras can blur, you can double expose, you can do all sorts of things technically with the camera. People don't use that on purpose, you know what I mean? And I think you should use all the things that people consider as mistakes or the negative aspects of the camera. I think you should keep yourself open and work with blur—you can do many beautiful things. Outside Ernest Haas, that sort of thing, but using it, not accidentally the way he did. Using it for your own means, to suggest a vague impression of an event. So I think people should use the camera as a machine. I hate cameras myself—I don't really like cameras. I'm not a camera buff; I'm not interested in cameras. I always feel like a writer "hung up" on his typewriter. The camera is just . . . like you should know your camera thoroughly and then you should forget about it completely. And it should not be a thing between you and the person or what you're doing."
There you have it - THE definitive master class if you ask me.