Monday, October 25, 2010

Julia Margaret Cameron

Whisper of the Muse / Portrait of G.F. Watts
British, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, April 1865
Albumen print
10 1/4 x 8 7/16 in. 
The other week I was teaching the art history kids about the birth of photography in France and England, which meant I got to revisit the work of Julia Margaret Cameron. I won't bore you with a blow by blow account of how photography was invented and developed - for that I recommend the short essays from the MET, or this exhibition review by Geoffrey Batchen. But I might just indulge for a moment, with a few words about JMC.
Cameron was given a camera as a gift and just began experimenting, but quickly became more serious about photography, realising the possibilities of the new medium as an art form. She would dress up her friends and family, posing them in the guise of biblical and literary subjects. Tennyson, who was a close friend of Cameron's described her subjects as 'victims', as they were forced to endure the long exposure times. The first cameras could take minutes to capture an image - and sitting still for that long would have been absolute torture! Portrait studios had braces they would strap you into from the back to keep your head and body still during the shoot, but would be hidden from view. I just love this quote from one of Cameron's sitters:
"The studio, I remember, was very untidy and very uncomfortable. Mrs. Cameron put a crown on my head and posed me as the heroic queen. … The exposure began. A minute went over and I felt as if I must scream, another minute and the sensation was as if my eyes were coming out of my head; a third, and the back of my neck appeared to be afflicted with palsy; a fourth, and the crown, which was too large, began to slip down my forehead; a fifth—but here I utterly broke down, for Mr. Cameron, who was very aged, and had unconquerable fits of hilarity which always came in the wrong places, began to laugh audibly, and this was too much for my self-possession, and I was obliged to join the dear old gentleman."  - From here.

I love the accidents of the medium that Cameron embraced, like the scratches and blurs. In her day, she received masses of criticism for this, but I think now it is these elements of her work that seem so modern. I also love the way she crops the group portraits in unexpected ways, marking a departure from traditional painted depictions of these subjects. She really explored the ways in which photography could represent these familiar motifs differently from painting, drawing and sculpture. If you like her work - there is plenty more floating around the Internet, so enjoy!
A Study of the Cenci, May 1868
Albumen print
11 1/16 x 8 15/16 in.
Prayer and Praise
British, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, 1865
Albumen print
11 1/16 x 8 15/16 in.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Farewell: The Bathroom

We have now begun to count down the days till we move out of our apartment. I'm in two minds about it all: one (and probably the bigger one) is thinking AAGG... MOVING. This first mind is also cranky that I love so many 'things' and love to hold on to 'stuff'. This mind is also very jealous of Ian's ability to live out of a single chest of drawers and his incredibly capacity for throwing things away. The second mind is busy being sentimental - about holding on to all my precious 'things' and 'stuff', and about how much I have enjoyed living here. It will be sad to say goodbye.

So I have decided to run a little series of posts inspired by our place. First up - the bathroom. Our building is an art-deco block and our bathroom looks original. I absolutely love it. The colours, the tiles, the bath... love love love. This may be the result of seeing many an awful share house bathroom (clear toilet seats with sand inside?? really??) coupled with growing up in a house with a truly woeful bathroom that I can only describe as 'Grandma goes '70s'. Our bathroom here is small, but perfectly practical. I love the solid fittings and green/mustard colour combination.

 top - thrifted from The Red Cross shop
belt - Dotti
velvet skit - Bang
tights - Susan
shoes - the white ones are from Target and the ones below are Django and Julitte

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sound familiar?

This one is for all my education nerd-buddies:

"There is a rowing tendency in the schools to make success in the examinations the supreme end of schooling. I deplore the trend of school competition, which is beginning to flow with such portentous rapidity, widening into a flood  which carries true education in ruin before it."
- Head Master of the All saints School 1899 (quoted in Barcan 1980, p.164)

It seems the whole 'My School' controversy isn't so new.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Woo hoo!

This week Ian passed the test and got his licence! It is so exciting to finally have a car (and a chauffeur). We had pancakes to celebrate. This is Ian's portrait of me in a pancake - I am pretty happy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spinning like a top!

Did you ever play along to that song as a kid, where the words were "blah blah something... spinning like a top" and everyone was meant to go spinning around? No? Me neither. But the kids I used to babysit did. They would spin and spin and spin, until I was sure I was going to see their dinner again.

Today a wore a wonderful new (to me) skirt that my friend Kerryn gave me. It is so exciting and swirly that it made me want to spin around like an over-excited four year old. My beloved photographer is out of town tonight, so I had some fun with my self-timer. I am kind of excited about the messy results! I have been reading about the way Julia Margaret Cameron embraced the mistakes in her photography and am beginning to think she really had something going there. Mess is fun. (A post on her to come later this week).

 scarf - gift from my mother's trip to Milan
tops - Giordano and Supre
skirt - gift from Kerryn (thanks Kerryn!!)
tights - Myer

here is a neat one for you to see the awessome colours:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I met a little dress

This weekend I met a dress. It had incredible buttons and cute trim. We didn't end up going home together, but I thought you might still like to see it

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Concrete Love

On the footpath on way home from uni after a frustrating day trying (rather unsuccessfully) to meet a writing deadline... thank you Newtown, I love you too.

The Boho Ball

Well it seems that while the 'who's who' of the fashion world went off to Carine Roitfield's little masquerade doo to celebrate the Vogue's 90th anniversary, I was perfectly on trend, attending a masquerade event of my very own. It may not have featured a guest-list of models and designers, but the Bohemian Masquerade Ball was pretty fabulous. Ladies and gents dressed in a whole host of interpretations of the theme - from hippie burlesque, to Marie-Antoinette look-alikes - there was plenty of people-watching with a fine backing track of gypsy-inspired music. Unfortunately, I have to say, the Factory Theatre was a terrible venue. It has the ambiance of an RSL (I know you told me Soph - but I wouldn't listen!), and the drinks were outrageously expensive. I won't be heading there any time again soon!

I took my outfit inspiration from Frida Kahlo (pictured below). I have long admired her art, but also her style - the bold colours and elaborate hair-dos. I popped down to the $2 store for some fake flowers to sew onto a ribbon for a hair accessory (I actually bought too many, so if any one would like a Kahlo-topper, let me know!). I made my mask from red cardboard and used, dried tea bags which were ripped then  'artistically' glued (read blotchy) to the cardboard. I also made a mask for Ian using the same method, but red lolly wrappers, sewn on with gold thread at the edges. A few swirly bits and my new corset and I was all set to go!

 Image from here

We ran into the writer (Alli Sebastian Wolf) and cast (below) of The Hideous Demise of Detective Slate, who were about to go on stage in the theatre next door for their final night.

A Melbourne band, The Barons of Tang, had the most incredible bass clarinetist. She played with such gusto! 

Ian took a few outfit photos when we got home. Apologise for the crappy quality, but my camera is afraid of the dark.

shirt - small shop on Gould st, Bondi
corset - What Katie Did
crinoline - thrifted
skirt - Portmans
scarves - flea markets
bag - girft from Stella
shoes - ?
hair flowers - DIY

The man behind the camera in a post-party daze.
Publish Post

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Workin' for the people

Since going to Rosie's WIP* last week I have been thinking (dangerous,  I know). Rosie is writing her doctorate on style blogs and her talk was really thought-provoking. Up till now I have happily played in the blogosphere, content to mindlessly wander through images, skimming the odd word here or there. But, in the last week I have started deconstructing each post I read, thinking about how it might contribute to the medium of style blogging: what is the 'brand' here; the implications there; how is this post constructed?

Then I stumbled upon this little gem of a post at Garance Dore's well frequented blog. Garance describes Anna Dello Russo:

"eccentric, adorable, appeared on The Sartorialist for the first time in 2006 and since became a fashion superstar via the Internet.

And now, she’s got a blog, she bbms, she tweets, responds to 15,000 interviews at the same time, she is premiering her own perfume line and she has so much fun with this whole new starlet career that we’ve given her."**
then goes on to to describe the incredible amount of work Anna goes to remain so fabulous - changing outfits several times a day, working out for 2hrs each day etc etc. Gaahh!! Just reading that was enough to make me feel like taking a nap. Now, not all bloggers who blog for a living feel the need to go to these extremes. Although many of them have other jobs - as photographers, artists, writers - and their blog is used as another avenue to make people aware of their work. If Anna is an example to go by, it seems that working as a blogger and truly working for the people is like working for the man x 1000!*** I might just get back to my thesis then, shall I? At least my computer is happy for me to be in my PJs all day.

* WIP stands for Work In Progress, and it takes every ounce of self control I have not to write whip - let's analyse that one another time.
** Don't you love the way Garance takes credit for her rise to fame? It is probably well warranted - but still...
*** I just want you to realise that I am using Garance's famed Astrix form here - yep that's right and I'm telling you about it too.

Beeep beeep beep

I normally wake up to my alarm(the title is my obnoxious alarm sound), hit snooze, then lie in a half-dream/sleep state deciding what to wear for the day. The alarm often goes off again, and we repeat the process several times, but lately, as I lie there with my wardrobe choices dancing in my mind, I have been drawing a blank. I don't know if it is the weird not-spring-not-winter weather, or the fact that my brain doesn't work properly in 'snooze state'. Or the fact that I find it a bit dis-orienting, looking at all the lovely northern hemisphere blogs I follow, and being seduced by all the autumnal inspiration, when I should really be thinking about blossom and lattes in the sun.

So here it is: things I like right now (and some I have liked for a while): Blue; Green; and Red. Hopefully these images will melt into my sub-conscious and inspire some exciting new outfits! Or perhaps just getting up after the first snooze.

1. Detail from Holman Hunt's Finding the Savior in the Temple (1854-60)
3. Hellcat vintage on Etsy
4. Flowers and Florals by Rob Yee
(Go check out his blog - he is amazing)
5. Rossetti, The Beloved (1865-6)
6. Eek I can't remember which collection! from
7. Rossetti, The Blue Bower (1865)
8. Water colour sketches by Rob Yee
9. I can't remember!