Still Elsewhere

I am often asked if the images I post on this website and on my Twitter feed are my own work. They are. The source pictures are either photos I’ve taken or public domain images. I combine, modify and generally muck about with the source pictures in apps on my iPhone or iPad, until I have an image that fulfils some mysterious criteria that I would struggle to articulate. Very often the finished result is a surprise to me; even if I had set out with a vague intention (for example, to create something nightmarish by fusing a mannequin with an insect), the experimentation and happy imprecision favoured by apps are likely to have taken the image somewhere else altogether. Usually, that somewhere else is a much more interesting place than the one I had imagined. An app invites the user to tap on a filter or an effect and see instantly how it will change the original picture. So, I often find myself trying something I hadn’t planned and seeing my picture evolve in an unexpected way. If I don’t like a step in that evolution, it’s instantly reversible. If I do like it,  I’ve made a discovery! The process is fun and – importantly – anyone with a smartphone or tablet can do it. Anyone can take a picture and play with it until it’s startling, beautiful, interesting.

Most of the pictures I make are achieved using at least two source photos and a combination of two or three apps. What follows is an exception to the rule; each of the images in this post (just like those in my last post) is based on just one photo and was achieved using one app. The source photos were my holiday snaps! I’m enjoying some time in Cornwall, and the pictures that follow document how I see the beaches of this beautiful county more accurately and vividly than the original photos. I hope you like them.


Garish oneiric pop art

These are the pictures I made as part of my experimental review of M K L Murphy’s novel, The Isle of Minimus. Each comprises a photo of a page from the book, over which is superimposed an object that in some way (and for a particular purpose) represents a human being: a baby doll, a first aid dummy, Barbie dolls, a mannequin. I gave each picture a border, made the colours as gaudy and unnatural as possible and, in two cases, added large symbols and references to the viewer and/or artist (eyes, cameras). I wanted the pictures to connote playing cards or perhaps the starting point for a Twentyfirst Century tarot deck. Their garishness and symbolism sprang naturally from Murphy’s book.

Each of my four pictures became the stimulus for a short text, in which I played freely with characters, themes and images found in The Isle of Minimus. The four-part text-and-image piece is not so much a review of Murphy’s book as a rear view of it, an irreverent but affectionate take on it. I approached Murphy’s theatre not from the front, with its impressive facade, but from the back alley and through the stage door.

You can read my rear view at Minor Literatures.

Donald Trump on immigration

Now, we have to build a fence. And it’s got to be a beauty. Who can build better than Trump? I build; it’s what I do. I build; I build nice fences, but I build great buildings. Fences are easy, believe me. I saw the other day on television people just walking across the border. They’re walking. The military is standing there holding guns and people are just walking right in front, coming into our country. It is so terrible. It is so unfair. It is so incompetent. It is so impotent. And we don’t have the best coming in. We have people that are criminals, we have people that are crooks. You can certainly have terrorists. You can certainly have Islamic terrorists. You can have anything coming across the border. We don’t do anything about it. 

So I would say that if I win, I would certainly start by building a very, very powerful border. I am not impotent. Who can build a better border than Trump? I can build fences to the sky. I can build electric fences to the sky. I can build electric fences to the sky that fire nukes when criminal Islamic Mexican terrorist rapist immigrants try to go near them or look at them or talk about them or imagine them. 

My fence will be a beauty. I get hard just thinking about all those nukes. And who’s paying for those nukes? They are! The criminal Islamic Mexican terrorist rapist immigrants. Because we need a very powerful, very beautiful border, with gun towers and men in masks and nukes all lined up and water cannon at the ready and insect repellant and weed killer and rat poison and chemical weapons. That will stop those people coming into our country.