16 Nov 2014


Copyright - "all rights reserved" Simon Harris

8 Oct 2014

Feverish Dream of Fertility and Fucking

Copyright - all rights reserved Simon Harris

12 Jul 2014

Raphael Preston: "Selfridges Oxford Street London 2014"

"Selfridges Oxford Street London 2014" by Raphael Preston.

"… their bodies were streaked … the dancing began ..."

Well, I haven't gone out dancing tonight (working too hard(!)) and I await the kick-off of the England World Cup match against Italy, so I have a spare hour to enjoy some writing!  And here it is! 

Raphael's graphic and dynamic account of window-shopping in London, invites the viewer to consider both the aesthetic and conceptual aspects of his photographic art-work.  How much of the colouration is due to photo-editing and how much it was part of the display, I cannot say.  However, the splattered paint seems too daring to be entirely the work of window dressers, even for a store such as Selfridges.  Therefore I will assume there is at least, some editing.

The artist leaves comments refering to dancing and a battle.  Conceptually, for me I can only conclude that Raphael intends to inform us about tribal dances and battles that are evoked by a shop display at a prestigious store in an affluent area of London.  So, Western cultures are aspiring to tribal cultures!   So much for the supremacy of the West, see Postmodern theory and globalisation/multiculturalism.  I also note the cyborgesque nature of the mannequins in the series of photos.  Photographers and artists who regularly reference mannequins are not only refering to the dehumanizing nature of capitalism, but the condition of "fluid indentities" and "fractured subjectivities", that we currently experience in the West.  Particularly in large cities. 

Well, England are kicking off soon, so after writing about the conceptual evocations of the work (and the series) I will briefly touch on the the aesthetic relevance of the work.

Like an automatic post-painterly, post-modern painting, dripping with haptic, layers of abstraction this photographic "accident" (art-concrete or "found objects"(?)) is a great example of contemporary, visual art.  I resist using the term "avant-garde" because it is debatable whether there is such a thing anymore, perhaps "cutting edge" is less rigorous but more relevant?  
Of course, these are my critical murmerings and they may not be what the photographic artist meant at all!  I reckon I've touched upon some salient sentiments, but the artist knows best what his intentions were!  I forgot to mention musicality; the energy and colour suggest a musical sensibility, but England are just about to kick off!  So I'll leave you to consider this and I'll be off to watch the beautiful game....

Hello Simon,
very glad you enjoyed the series, and the "dance" context they triggered in my vision of them … many thanks also for your text and thoughts … You are welcome to put a link to your text on the photo itself should you wish too .. ? Anything encouraging discussion and reflections, is really great and very welcome …
To answer some of your questions, I do use curves to control Contrast and Tonality in my "developing", and I tend to sometimes favour high contrast. I see this moment as an emotional interpretation of my "negative". Apart from carrying out "repairs" of missing pixel, white holes, dust and so on, I don't manipulate or add to photos.
It's the surreal-ness of the reality I encounter that fascinates me, and the interaction taking place that I photograph.
The paint was actually everywhere, splattered onto the glass from the inside, and it made a Pollack look polite .. it's incredible, and a true work of "performance" art. Incredible beautiful energy, I thought.
I don't personally view mannequins in any special way, apart from a idealised sculptural representation of ourselves.
Of course the industrial production of objects that look like us, made us look at our biological reproduction from an industrial perspective. A la "Brave new world" … which I quote a lot on the "Collective and Impromptu" series.
But then any new technology makes us look at life anew through the prism of that technology.
Looking at a mannequin in the information age, is I guess different .. the discussion nowadays is not about cloning , but more about the information contained in the body image, the body shape, size and so on ..
For all the "compression of meaning" in the photos, and the "juxtaposition act" from the quotes, my wish is for the viewer to become aware of his involvement in what he see.
I hope i am also referencing the amazing amount of talent in this great city of ours, and I hope to celebrate and illustrate it's diversity, and dynamic, it's movements and social structures …
This project keeps me on looking, and I hope it will do the same to others ….
and yes, I was quite involved with music for many years ..

All the best.

3 Apr 2014


Quiet goes the fraction into illustration,
as though inference were bread to feed the human.

Your caliber strains the faculty of belief.
Just one pronouncement comprises mediation.

Lasting moments tense otherwise ripe elastic.
Indivisible comes crashing down on justice.

". . . 'Tis of thee," spoke the prophet, as though eavesdropping.
One of us is doomed to be called professional.

High stakes, cold snakes, posture after posture lakeside.
This early stuff of chemistry fills camisoles.


21 Feb 2014

la reconnaissance et l'aspiration

Via Flickr:
Here Jamari appears like a quixotic apparition; a feminine ideal or oracle, perhaps? Her balletic pose is probably born of "suffrage" more than graceful delicacy, but that is the nature of dance! I liked the presence of a costume designer in the photo, helping to create a meticulous illusion of beauty. As cosmetic as the theatre can be and as hard working as performers have to be, the stage continues to call us to "tread the boards" in order to perform a representational version of human experience.

Recently I am doing a lot of Bhangra dancing as well as Salsa, although Salsa seems to be gradually being shunned for the less elegant Kizomba, and I am becoming drawn more to the idea of the heartbeat as an intrinsic time-signature in both dance and music. Whereas the heartbeat is often used rythmically to denote romance in music. The presence of an enduring pulse seems more important today in dance and music than ever before.

How we ever got so romantic I don't know, but the ebb and flow of the heartbeat seems to echo through cities, reverberate in concert halls and pulse steadily through pop music. As a dancer, it should come as no surprise that my attention is often focused on my breath and heartbeat, however increasingly my timing is shaped by the response of my heart rate to the continuous flux of musical tempos.

Thank you to Jlior for letting me use her photo in this image.


3 Feb 2014

Convenience isn't Everything

Interesting post from the Economist.com where author Andrew Keen argues that the Internet has contributed to greater inequality in society.

My response was originally posted in the comments section of the article.  I have pasted it below.

"I think Keen makes some compelling points. Particularly when you consider the increasing corporate nature of large Intenet companies. Even though IT can create jobs, usually there are more jobs lost than created, which is the appeal of IT in the workplace; it reduces staff. Intriguingly, when I first started using the Internet about 20 years ago, I was blown away by the creativity of users. However, today I get a potent sense of censorship, restrictions and cynical advertising/corporate enterpise. Even though there are a few opportunities for people via the Internet, largely and incrementaly the Internet, in my view, contributes more to global and societal inequality than it does to equality."

18 Jan 2014

Woman/Nature Simulation

Woman/Nature Simulation, originally uploaded by crescentsi.

Via Flickr:
An interesting series of self-portrait photos by "Kahinaspirit" entitled "Reborn", I felt compelled to utilise the power that they featured. Cropped, distorted and layered with digital abstracts, I still feel that the potency of the models expression is retained, and perhaps enhanced?

Thanks to Kahinaspirit for letting me use her photo in this image! :-)