Every portrait that is done with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. In photography, the lens might become your brush, the tripod your easel, and you paint a picture be juggling with the light that passes the shadows. The painter constructs, the photographer discloses. While a painting, even one that meets photographic standards of resemblance, is never more than the stating of an interpretation, a photograph is never less than the registering of an emanation - light waves reflected by objects - a material vestige of its subject in a way that no painting can be. Though, there is a terrible truthfulness about photography: the ordinary academician gets hold of a pretty Barbie model, paints her as well as he can, calls her Marylin, and puts a nice Shakespeare verse underneath, and the picture is admired beyond measure. The photographer finds the same pretty Barbie girl, he dresses her up and photographs her, and he calls her Marlene, but somehow it is no good - it is still Miss Barbie, the model. It is simply too true to be Veruschka.
The Gang of Folies Barbie was hired by a Chinese manufacturer to put their critical eyes on one of its photographic accessories - a folding reflector. Initially made to reflect the light up to their will and to filter out all the blemishes the got by their stupid playings all day long. If it's good enough for a Folies' Barbie, it's good enough for the rest of the world. As usual for Barbie girls they understood nothing about the technical handling, neither did they read the manual, and misused the reflector for entertainment only. At least it did withstand CAMEL, who usually bites in all and everything ...
Great artists make the roads; but there ain't no free rides, baby. No hitchhiking. And if you want to strike out in any new direction - you go alone; with a machete in your hand and the fear of God in your heart. Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, but to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, and defiantly shouting "Wow, what a ride!" There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to self-fulfillment; not going all the way, and not starting. Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. There are roads known by everyone and there are roads known by no one. Choose the second, the mysterious one where many glories are hidden. The middle of the road is where the white line is - and that's for sure the worst place to drive.
Barbies were contemplating existentialism. Oh, erm, fuck, did I say that out loud? I didn't know you were reading this. They looked around furtively to see if anyone else heard and gave me a scathing glance. I assure you very few women, and almost no men could survive this. The Barbies laugh as they climb into their outfits for tonight's circus show. A visual complexity, their curved lines are touching their start and end. So concentric and endless, round in all the right places. Beautiful little details for dolls, no? Always it is Veruschka who, despite her broken leg, has the guts to jump on trampolines as she seeks what we all do. What lifts life from the sphere of mere physical existence towards liberty? Arts, religions, and sciences do. All branches of the same tree that attempt to understand the world around us and share this understanding. There is beauty in the predictability of the laws of mathematics that is equivalent to the vision of an artist's hand or a photographer's eye and yet a fundamental truth remains. Circles don't fit through squares, and Barbies don't care. They go infinitesimally small where they reign supreme; atomic-level for the bombshell babes. Here it suggests perhaps that a circle can indeed fit in that square in a way that is transcendent and therein lies a human truth. Diversity is enriching - and to assume is the death of individual freedom.
December 17, 2019: the first snow has arrived at the Folies Barbie revue. CAMEL, born in the Nubian desert and therefore unfamiliar with this white powder, was told by those tricky, nasty and mean Barbies that it is Crystal Meth. Always curious and adventurous, it dipped its round nose deep into the sack. Now, CAMEL is on the back, thinking that it is stoned, singing: "The snow which drives us downhill" & "Snow can burn your eyes, but only Barbies make you cry." Well, imagination dies last.
Photography is concerned with all the ten attributes of sight; which are: darkness and light, solidity and color, form and position, distance and propinquity, motion and rest. The photographer who shoots merely by practice and by eye, without any reason, is like a mirror which copies every thing placed in front of it without being conscious of their existence. He who can copy can do, but he will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard. The worst evil which can befall the artist is that his work should appear good in his own eyes. I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have. Art is never completed, only abandoned. Every now and then go away, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail. A master knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add -- but when there is nothing left to take away.
After unboxing this new big greenish gadget, the insane Barbie dolls first didn't know what it is used for. After studying the Chinese instruction manual, fortunately underlined with many images, they immediately wanted to put it into action and to test the clamping force of the vice. And VERUSCHKA, still the wounded poor with her broken leg on a crutch, was not fast enough to hobble away ...
Photographers bring forward to light, to presence, the unseen by others. Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched with pathos. An ugly or grotesque subject may be moving because it has been dignified by the attention of the photographer. A beautiful subject can be the object of rueful feelings because it has aged or decayed or no longer exists. The very question of whether photography is, or is not, an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art, it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure, Photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. It is a medium in which works of art, among other things, are made. One would think that a photographer finds the images but the truth is the images should find the photographer. This happens when one is receptive, being alert and curious, keeping an open mind. The photographic skill is reflected in the ability to create an experience of the image and successfully convey it to the viewer in that single frame. To photograph what you know is there, not what you can see.
Rashomoniade - Barbies recently have watched a bunch of Akira Kurosawa movie flicks. Later in the unlit moonless night, they fell in a cup of Sake. Not enough for seven Samurai girls, the gang wanna now redo Rashomon in their own, modernized, abstract and artsy Barbie way. And telling the truth!
I see it all through the lens of my camera - the flurry of movement, the venue girl staff in short dresses, giving orders to their heads. As I take it all in, my mind weighs the texture, the composition, the possibility of each changing scene, and I struggle to hold back, to keep my finger from pressing too soon. Click, click. With the Daguerreotype everyone was able to have their portrait taken, formerly it was only the prominent, and at the same time everything is being done to make us all look exactly the same, so we shall only need one portrait. It is a cruel, ironical art. The dragging of captured moments into the future; moments that should have been allowed to evaporate into the past; should exist only in memories, glimpsed through the fog of events that came after. Photographs force us to see people before their future weighed them down. It is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell. A photograph is a secret about a secret - the more it tells you, the less you know.
The Indians say to draw someone's portrait is to steal their soul. I take photographs, does it mean that I am just borrowing them? Though photography is like stealing - you rob someone of a moment that exposes something essential about their character, their soul if you like. To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. The terrifying thought that everyone, friend or foe, can get so close to you, look you straight in the eye and judge you without having any control over it or being able to respond. A part of them has become the property of the photographer. All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person's, or thing's, mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt. Between photographer and subject, there has to be distance. The camera doesn't rape, though it may presume, intrude, trespass, distort, and at the farthest reach of metaphor, assassinate - all activities that can be conducted from a distance, and with some detachment. Still, there is something predatory in the act of taking a picture.