Trannyshack UK - The Photo Book
By James Andrew Yardley

Saturday, 28 March 2009

R o b e r t    M a p p l e t h o r p e  

N u d e    M a l e s    &    F e m a l e s 

P o r t r a i t s 

Robert Mapplethorpe born 1946 in Long Island America, grew up and attended the Pratt institute in Brooklyn, he produced a large amount of work during his time there, including painting, sculptures and some mediums of photography. His first work included tearing images and font from magazines and making them into pieces of art, he was greatly inspired by Andy Warhol and has a passion for following Warhol's work, he was one of Warhol's greatest admirers and in the end got the opportunity to photograph him.

Mapplethorpe first began shooting in Polaroid soon after leaving the Pratt Institute, he never considered himself a photographer however loved using his own images in his painting and other pieces he put together.“I never liked photography,” he is quoted as saying when previously questioned “Not for the sake of photography. I like the object. I like the photographs when you hold them in your hand.” His first set of polaroid photographs were purely self portraits with the occasional portrait of his close friends. 

He later acquired a large format Camera and again photographed himself and his friends, often Mapplethorpe's friends were from an outrageous scene, he photographed Socialites, Porn Stars, S&M Underground members and music composers. He had a very varied and distinctive way of photographing people. His photographs were very erotic and homo-erotic based, that created shock in the art world, the images were seen as crude and distasteful however they were made in the most poetic and beautiful way, as far as technical ability Mapplethorpe was a master, and that I feel comes across so obviously. 

I honestly feel when looking at his work that he has a deeper connection to photography than just taking the photo, or taking it for money or for fame, he took those photographs because he loves photography on every level, and I can really appreciate that, I'm a huge, huge fan of his work and I feel I will be a fan for many years to come. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

J u e r g e n   T e l l e r
V i c t o r i a   B e c k h a m   f o r  M a r c   J a c o b s 
S p r i n g / S u m m e r   2 0 0 8 

Juergen Teller is a german born, world renowned Fashion Photographer, who is now based in England. He began his career in photography by building his way up the social ladder, photographing famous celebrities such as Kate Moss and Linda Evangelista. Until eventually he began working for fashion magazines such as i-D and The Face.

My favourite piece of Teller's work in the past was the Victoria Beckham for Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2008 campaign, in which VB was put in various different situations such as climbing out of bags and boxes and also posing as a mannequin/doll. The idea behind this work was actually taken from the french fashion photographer Guy Boudin, who photographed models in a raw/crude yet fashionable taste, the meaning behind Boudin and Tellers work was to mock in these photographs, the idea you can become exactly what you're wearing and also the idea you can buy a new you. The concept is based more on art than on fashion, giving it a deeper and more profound meaning, he uses his 35mm point and shoot camera, to mock Marc Jacobs, to mock Victoria Beckham, to mock to the viewer and more importantly to mock Fashion itself. 

When these campaign shots were first introduced to the pages of magazines such as Vogue etc world wide, a lot of people questioned Teller, Jacobs and Beckham for their almost crazy perception on the campaign, a lot of people also mocked it, however because of their ignorance to not looking any deeper into the campaign they missed a fantastic set shots, and more importantly missed the point of the campaign completely. I personally love these shots, and I think I will continue to be a fan of Juergen Teller's work for many years to come.

Friday, 20 March 2009

N a n   G o l d i n

Nan Goldin born in Washington, USA, later moved to Boston to attend a nearby high school in the leafy suburbs of Lexington. Her life would have been considered pretty normal up until her sister committed suicide in 1965, from then on Goldin made it her number one priority to photograph every precious moment in her life so that she would never forget them, for some her camera was considered 'the eye that did not forget'.

With some of her friends Goldin then continued to delve into the world around her, contacting members of the gay/lesbian/transvestite community in Boston and documenting their lives in different ways, her first solo work stemmed from these contacts and propelled her after finishing University into moving to New York and continuing your documentary work on the gay and transvestite community. 

Once Goldin moved to New York in the late 1970's/early 1980's her photographic work really began to take shape, no moment too graphic, no moment too raw was to be missed, and it was this limitless approach to photography that really made Goldin's work stand out. The viewer of Goldin's work gets an intimate look into the private lives of the most exciting and wild characters in New York city at the time. Nan Goldin presented the every day life of her friends under the title 'The Ballad of Sexual Dependency'.

Nan Goldin presents her work through slideshows and organizes (and re-organizes ) according to her mood and emotions she is feeling towards the photographs she has taken. The main themes of her work in my opinion seem to be love, gender and sexuality, her work often features sexual acts and very graphic images, these however only make her work more fantastic as she photographed the reality of New York city in such a beautiful yet honest way. After drug issues in 1988 and the death of many of her close friends due to Aids, Goldin began to photograph again in her lifes own rhythm and produced various different other pieces of photography. 

I purposely chose Goldin to look at from the biography topics, I feel she has had the most interesting and diverse life, and her photography shows that in so many ways, I love the way she captured the reality and honesty of New York city's Gay and Transvestite life, much like diCorcia's work she has a way of bringing out the beauty in the not so pleasant truth. In particular I liked her photographs of Gay and transexual men which I found incredibly beautiful, something I feel other members of my course let pass them by because of their childish ignorance towards the gay and transexual community. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

P h i l i p   L o r c a   d i C o r c i a 

H o l l y w o o d 

Eddie Anderson, 21 years, Houston, $20, 1990-1992

Brent Booth, 21 years, Des Moines, $30, 1990-1992

Ike Cole, 38 years, Los Angeles, Paid $25, 1990-1992

Mike Miller, 24 years, Allen Town, paid $25, 1990-1992 

Philip Lorca diCorcia made the Hollywood series which can sometimes be known as the Hustlers series in Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, the area is well known for its locals, there are a large amount of people dealing with substance abuse issues, not to mention the male prostitution which takes place in the back alleys.

The photographs mainly consist of documentary and off the wall fantasy pieces. Having found the perfect setting, he would then go in search of a male or female model that fit the genre, and offer them money to pose for him. Underneath the photograph would be a small bar of information containing, the model's name, place of birth and how much they were paid for that particular shot. In diCorcia's main published work this information is always underneath every shot. I have included my found images and their model information above.

"It might be said that twilight is a muddled form of clarity. The warm glow that suffuses the ' golden hour' in Los Angeles acts to filter the grim realities, the outright lies, the self-deceptions, which allow Hollywood, and by extension, America to flourish. 'Twilight' provides the rose-coloured glasses that make it possible to see out but not see in."
Phillip Lorca diCorcia

The care taken into each shot by diCorcia is crucial, he used his camera on a tripod and used artificial and flash lightning to gain the effect he wanted from the LA night skies. This creates a sort 'Twilight' effect that he speaks about in the quote above, this twilight effect gained by clever lighting is how he shows his models for their true self, no glitz or glamour, just pure simple images that show the truth about the people who live in the city of dreams, people that will model for a mear $20-$30.

The idea of diCorcia's work is to show a truth, such as his other exhibitions, the Hollywood series is diCorcia's way of exposing the truth of Hollywood, the idea that the models and subjects in his work are people who have come to Hollywood to win fame, fortune and glamour and it simply doesn't work that way. Instead of the luck some gain from Hollywood they have ended up in a notoriously bad part of town, selling themselves for $20 shots in diCorcia's work. Still though like a lot of diCorcia's work he has managed to take something very simple and make it into his own beautiful work, with the use of his lighting and choice of his models each and every shot is not only interesting to the eye but tantalisingly beautiful.

Friday, 6 March 2009

T h e   P h o t o g r a p h e r s '   G a l l e r y
D e u t s c h e   B ö r s e   P h o t o g r a p h y   P r i z e   2 0 0 9 

On the 06/03/2009 as part of my discourse unit at UEL I visited the Photographers' Gallery in central London, the idea behind the visit was to look at the Photographic work of the four nominees up for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.
Those Nominee's were;
  • Taryn Simon nominated for her work 'An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.
  • Tod Papageorge nominated for the exhibition 'Passing Through Eden' - Photographs of Central Park, NY.
  • Emily Jacir nominated for her work 'Material for a Film'
  • Paul Graham nominated for his work 'A Shimmer of Possibility' 
I generally enjoyed the visit to the Photographers' Gallery, I liked viewing the work by Taryn Simon and Tod Papageorge I felt both their sets of photographs were very striking and generated a lot of emotion within me. 
I loved the simplicity of Papageorge's passing through eden photographs, in particular the photograph I have included above in my blog, it struck me as such a simple yet perfect photograph, everything from the composition of the man to the baby is shot perfectly. 

Another photograph that struck me quite a lot was the photograph of the inbred 'White Tiger', upon seeing the photograph for the first time I thought it may have been digitally manipulated as it didn't look physically possible to have a white tiger look that way, however after reading Simon's information by the side of the photograph I understood that this photograph was in fact real.

I felt really taken aback that this was actually real, I spent a lot of time still in shock that someone could over bread Tigers for the money and end up just creating something that looks Alien and never fitted its intended purpose anyway.However as a photograph I do think its fantastic, its iconic to me because it brought to light an issue I never even knew of. I don't feel in my opinion there is anything technically brilliant about the photograph however just the idea of photographing such a horrific subject makes a brilliant photograph in itself.

In my opinion Tod Papageorge should win the prize, I felt because his work had been produced over a very long period and each and every photograph was as beautiful as the next in such a consistent way. I feel that none of the other photographers exhibitions delivered like Tod Papageorge's did.