Monday, August 28, 2006

Hop Hop Hoopla

It's a state of the world blog post I'm afraid.

We've just come back from my family home in Guernsey and I was really unsettled to see some of the changes. Don't get me wrong - I've known much of what's happening there now has been on the cards for years. They've prioritised their rich at the expense of their poor and thought they could get away with it for at least a generation; now their crime rate is out of control and many people think town is a no-go area on weekend evenings.

What surprised me though was another difference between this visit and the last - noise. My Dad's house is built well away from any main road. The acoustics mean he's quite sheltered from everything and everyone, and we're used to staying and hearing nothing which for me is a seriously therapeutic experience considering how much noise we have to put up with at home in London. Yet now noise is encroaching into his house at night - boy racers where there were none, loud neighbours, music from directions you can only guess at. A small increase in volume and he'll be at the level we're at - when on earth did things start to change there as well?

Is it really a rich/poor thing which is creating this universal lack of consideration? It's clearly not a London thing anymore. Some people call it drink, some say it's because the people in question don't have anything else to do. Yet I've never wantonly caused noise pollution for people. Ever since I was plagued by it when at university the first time I've never understood why people felt the need to share their noise with everyone else. Yet in 2006 is seems to have become in vogue - a national pastime.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


So many people have so many conflicting ideas about what this is. I'm musing, laying here on the couch, watching the clouds go by as I edit my photos, wondering what to make of something like happiness. What I know is that for me at least it has never been a constant state. Some people seem very "happy" people - not me. For me it's a fleeting thing, happy "bursts", although I've striven to reach a "happy" state. I've felt quite guilty about that this year - since I got married in January there's been, I think, a mutual expectation of a certain higher average level of daily happiness. Yet again that hasn't been the case and I don't think any more that it's circumstantial. 2006 has been a very hard year for me.

Instead it feels like the nature of happiness has changed. With age it feels more like something which can exist, but with strings. The older I get the more compromises enter my life, the more restrictions appear, the more harsh lessons get learned. Happiness can't be this constant, blissful state under such conditions. I know that's something I tried for a few years ago, but reality proved it to be an illusion and a false target. Now, even though I regularly don't consciously feel "happy", bombarded by the transitory and constant pressures life brings, I'm aware that happiness, an adult happiness, might be there anyway. I just have to acknowledge it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
Maybe it's the ever increasing number of grey eyebrows, the now profusion of grey chest hairs or the wrinkles developing now around my eyes, but I've finally started to see concrete signs that I'm getting older. I'll grant you 36 isn't old by any reasonable measure, but youthfulness has drifted from me in a significant way this year. I'm not talking about the hairs which refuse to stop growing in the ears (I love being in my late 30s), it's more a feeling of having been kicked hard enough by life to not think first of the easy, enjoyable choices anymore. The hard ones remain at the top of the agenda even though I'm often far too lazy to pursue them.

I'm not sad about this change, although my changed, less automatically happy attitude has caught some people by surprise. I think I'm taking on attributes of my father other than the appalling body hair you can see in the picture. Where I would try to suffer fools for the greater good I'm now completely dismissive, regardless of the short term cost. Life's simply too short to be upset constantly by people who ultimately don't care a bit about you. I guess I don't think about how fanciable I am that much nowadays easier, whereas for a spell in my early 30s it was a real preoccupation. Maybe that's because I'm married now...married...and the fear of being left behind is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

The average age of my friends has doubled in the last year - almost all of whom are in permanent relationships and one of whom has a child of his own. I don't think I'll be going down that route with Tom although you never know. I'm quite content to be the favourite uncle for now. It does slightly make me wonder though what my priorities will be when I'm in my forties though - and they're just around the corner. Strange thought - my mother never made it out of her time flying by so quickly?

I wonder if I should do a photographic project around the theme of age.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How Far Would You Go?

I'm curious. In the name of art, how far would you (could you, should you) go in using/displaying your body? Where are the boundaries between exhibitionism, pornography and art? Are they fluid? Are they down to subtle nuance? In my frustration at not (yet) developing any photographic relationships in which I can explore the nudity of others, I've taken the decision to use myself. It's much more awkward in a sense - how objective can I be about my OWN body - but it also opens up other questions, such as who should see it, why and in what context?

I've worried that my requests for nude work have gone to make me look like some sort of perv. That I might be anyway is moot - I'm genuinely interested in these issues right now and want to explore them. I don't mind whether it's with people I know quite well, people I barely know or just myself (although the scope there will remain pretty limited).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

This Is Autumn's Doing

Speakerz Corner
Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
It may or may not be actually. My mood always collapses along with the weather, which well and truly did collapse together. It's either the beginning of autumn or the first taster of it and it felt awful. It left me, I guess, feeling a need - not sexual, not desperate, more of an ache than anything else. And I really wanted to fill it through creativity. I really really want to push the boundaries of what I can do photographically with people but it's very hard. People have issues with their appearance, they have their own priorities, the list of obstacles feels truly endless sometimes. I ended up taking a self portrait which I felt pushed things a bit (and of which I am proud) but it wasn't what I'd wanted out of today. Maybe if tomorrow is sunny I won't keep feeling this - I wonder.

I want to make art that takes risks, challenges, impresses, catches 'the regulars' off guard. That's going to mean finding people on the whole who are prepared to meet me half way. Problem is all the people I know would I'd really rather steer clear from.

Photography has issue after issue built into it. I guess good photography would have to - you're asking people to give something of themselves. Why is it that the people who are managing to do this happen to have no soul? Do you have to be extremely patient or leave your soul in the cloakroom?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

John Reid Becomes Michael Howard becomes John Reid,,1840482,00.html

Can someone tell me how and why we're living in a more threatening time than during the height of the IRA's campaign(s)? I don't buy the argument for a moment that post-Cold War population mobility has caused society to be in such a state. For that matter what danger IS society in full-stop? I'll buy an argument about technology having broken down barriers - the Internet more than anything else. But surely since 1990 inequalities, particularly down ethnic lines (albeit not ALL ethnic lines) have massively increased down to choices made by governments for easy votes. Surely that's in part given rise to things like people trafficking, and aided a resurgence in global terrorism (which is hardly new).

And what exactly do we need a debate about? The number of white Australians and South Africans illegally working in most of London's bars or the number of dark skinned Muslims? Surely immigration 'issues' only really affect the already 'have nots', who can easily perceive their lives being affected by new arrivals. Maybe NuLabour could think for a moment about decreasing poverty instead of dreaming up more draconian immigration crises, announcements and laws. Somehow I doubt it though.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Karen: Baby: B/W
Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
So today was the first autumnal day of 2006. We are assured that it will reverse itself tomorrow or Saturday, which is a good thing considering how much I have to photograph on both days. In fact my photographic career is booming, although I've yet to move forward from my first professional gig three weeks ago. But as you can see (particularly if you click on this picture to go through to my Flickr photostream) things are going spectacularly creatively. Karen is/was a work colleague who wanted me to photograph her pregnancy. It turned out to be the best photoshoot I've yet had. And the work with Remodel is going brilliantly - two shoots almost back to back, improving each time.

I can't say how much photography means to me and how much I need this to be a career. Hopefully this image gives you some hint of a clue. And if you want anything done - I'm always able to do it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

If Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, What is Honesty?

In a rare recent act of generosity I just handed in a £20 note I found on the floor at work to reception. They appear to have an honest policy for dealing with it and if noone claims it within three months I get it. It's not like I couldn't have done with it, but I'm sure someone else in the same situation has just lost it. Here's hoping it wasn't one of the legions of drug dealers around there parts...