Monday, February 25, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
It's been a good week for galleries. I went to see the Juergen Teller exhibition at the ICA with my friend Rachel on Wednesday, then yesterday my mum and I dropped into the National Portrait Gallery to see Marilyn Monroe, A British Love Affair. I hadn't been to either gallery before so just stepping onto the premises of each gave me thrills (for real. I really really love art galleries and the ICA is a particularly beautiful space to be; good light, nice floors.)
The Marilyn Monroe display was really lovely. It's a display rather than an exhibition, so just a small room of photos. We were expecting an exhibition seeing as it was featuring highly on the NPG's website last week but when we got there it was a struggle to even find it and we were beginning to think we'd missed it when we finally stumbled upon room 33 on the first floor. It was worth the hunt though, ever since I read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates when I was a teenager I have been a little bit in love with Marilyn. I don't think I'd even seen any of her films at that point so I only knew of her on-screen magic by reputation, but at 15 I fell in love with what a beautiful mess she was. A fiery, determined, impossible mess who suffered from endometriosis and depression and men.
The display concentrates on Marilyn Monroe's relationship with British photographers throughout her career and starts with some of the very first photographs taken of her when she was 19. It then travels through her career and focuses heavily on the time that she spent in Britain filming The Prince and the Showgirl (the time depicted in My Week With Marilyn) mostly made up of publicity shots featured in magazines and behind the scenes documentary and a handful of straight-up portraiture. My favourites were the press shots by Larry Burrows, more famous probably for his graphic documentary of the Vietnam war than his celebrity photography.
We didn't really take the time to look around the rest of the NPG (we were hungry) but I'm planning to go back soon. Aside: Trafalgar Square! I didn't see any pigeons but a bloody big falcon flew right at my head. It was pretty cool.
Juergen Teller at the ICA was less lovely. If you don't know; Teller is a fashion photographer who shoots for the 'grittier' end of the market. He has been working in the fashion industry since the early 90s and pretty much changed the world of fashion photography. You know fashion photographs that feature nice clothes, models in pretty make up with their hair brushed and are beautifully lit? Once upon a time all fashion photos looked like that, it was a given that they had to look nice if they wanted to sell stuff. It sounds kind of quaint now. That's because of Juergen Teller. His photographs are (in the main) not pretty, they're weird and dirty and sleazy and horribly lit. He blasts his subjects with multiple flashes and as a result the photos look like they were taken with a cheap shitty automatic camera. They're not, they just look like that. I can't deny the huge impact that his style has had on photography, particularly fashion photography, or that he made fashion photography a more interesting genre than it was 20 years ago, but god do his photos make my head hurt. They're just really really ugly and the fact that they're of (often naked) celebrities just wasn't enough to make them interesting.
There were a handful of really beautiful pictures in the exhibition; this one of Bjork and her son is lovely and his more personal work in the upstairs gallery held my attention for a few minutes, but in general I got bored of playing 'whose penis/tits/anus is that?' pretty quickly. I mean, in theory I agree with this review that says a gigantic full-frontal picture (or three) of a 68 year Vivienne Westwood is interesting and raises all sorts of questions about femininity and ageing and our perception of beauty, it really really should. But standing in front of Vivienne's vag, all I could think was 'this photo is UGLY. Why has he used so much flash?' But in reading reviews it appears that I'm entirely alone in thinking that this exhibition was a bit shit. So there you go.
Have you been to either of these? What did you think? Did you enjoy?
We're planning on taking the girls into town next week to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition before it closes. I keep seeing the posters on the underground and that fluffed up crow makes me think it's worth braving central London with two year olds for. And I've been thinking about trying to see the Valentino exhibition at Somerset House before it closes, what do you think? Worth a tenner and an indecent length of time spent on public transport?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A couple of months before we left Glasgow I backtracked on a lifetime of disdain and joined the local gym. I loved it. I'm nothing if not inconsistent.
Then we moved to the Highlands and we lived in the middle of nowhere and I can't drive and there was no public transport, so no gym. I thought about exercising outdoors but I don't care what the Scandinavians say (smug bastards), there is such a thing as bad weather and I was not going to start running in this.
I meant to start some sort of at home fitness regime, I really did, but I just.... didn't. And now it's 6 months later and it turns out that the memory of exercise and how good it makes you feel isn't actually the same as exercising. Nor is imagining yourself exercising. To surmise: I feel like crap, my clothes don't really fit and I get out of breath walking to the shops. But after the unimaginable cost of moving house I can't really afford a gym membership. I know that running is free, but I really don't like the idea of exercising in front of people who aren't exercising. Not yet, not while exercising makes me spit up a lung.
That leaves DVDs. You have no idea how bad I have to be feeling to even contemplate a 'workout' DVD. My only experience of such things is being about 10 and looking up from my game of sonic the hedgehog to watch my aunt jumping around the living room in lycra and wondering why a) she was torturing herself and b) why the women on the telly were wearing a fluorescent floral leotard that exposed more of their crotches than they covered.
One look at exercise DVDs online tells me that things have moved on from Mr Motivator only in that all of the lycra clad tyrants on the boxes are now women, the lycra is all one colour and the sense of humour seems to have been removed from the whole endeavour.
So, what I'm looking for from you is recommendations. I've heard of some ballet-based one. And another that you do for a few minutes every day and makes you cry. I don't mind exercise that makes me cry but I want to cry because it hurts, not because I'm despairing at the state of humanity. What have you got? I need to stop imagining that I'm exercising and actually start doing it.
* old photo, via Tenka Gammelgaard
Monday, February 11, 2013
What's your current favourite song? Not your all time favourite, just the one that you keep hearing on the radio and turning the volume up, or the one that you've just started listening to again after years of having forgotten about it.
This is mine. It makes me so happy. Partly it's just exactly the sort of upbeat shtick I need right now (I'm suffering from Winter so bad this year, so bad), but more so it takes me right back to August and the Olympics and that week Nye and I spent in Brighton without the kids, pounding the streets in blazing sunshine looking for our new house and watching Bolt run really fast on a big screen on the beach at twilight. It was a good August.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Friday, February 01, 2013
It's February! Joy!
In celebration of it being no longer January I thought we should probably revel in some colour. A little brightness and vibrancy to bring relief to our poor, mouldering eyeballs.
Here are some of the things that I would like in my life right now.