Week 5+1

Posted in Imaginary Battlefields, Picture of the week with tags , , , , , on April 10, 2011 by brettvanort

Another from the Imaginary Battlefield series.  This field is called Missile Command.

51º 49' 35" N 0º 02' 76" E

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Renhui Zhao

Posted in Other Photographers with tags , , , , on April 6, 2011 by brettvanort

As FORMAT closed a few days ago, I just want to bring up a couple artists works I enjoyed looking at while I was visiting there.  Renhui Zhao was one of those.  His work at FORMAT looks at a cloaking device that he found being used by the Institute of Critical Zoologists.  He stumbled upon this technology while going for a walk China while working on another project.

© Renhui Zhao

I was absolutely perplexed and couldn’t help doubting myself while I looked at this work.  A cloaking device?  Already?  I’d heard that there have been a few scientists that have been able to bend the reaction of light and create a device that “works” as a cloak.  But a device that actually works in the field and without a power generator or anything to make it somewhat bulky and obtrusive?

Well, that’s what Zhao wants us to think.  He wants the disbelief to overpower the imagery in some respects.  In many ways this cloak represents the idea of truth in today’s world.  We are given information every day by friends, relatives, media, neighbors, co-workers and it is always on the pretense that it is correct and true.  But in looking at this cloaking device, this realm of science fiction that Zhao has made real, we can either accept this notion of man being able to conceal his whereabouts in nature and disguise himself or question it.  Thankfully I didn’t bite… at least too hard.  I of course am writing about it now and did some investigating to assure myself that this technology was not readily available.  In doing so, I stumbled upon Zhao’s creation of the Institute of Critical Zoologists, which is more brilliant than “The Blind” project itself.

© Renhui Zhao

Week 4+1

Posted in Minescape, Picture of the week with tags , , , , on April 3, 2011 by brettvanort

Last week I said I would show another prosthetic.  Keeping to my word, here is one that you would more commonly find in Bosnia.  Obviously the difference between last weeks device and this week’s is striking.

51º 40' 33" N 0º 29' 18" W

Many thanks again to Prothetist Abdo Haider and the staff at the London Prosthetic Center.

Week 3 + 1

Posted in Minescape, Picture of the week with tags , , , , on March 27, 2011 by brettvanort

Now that the show is up and running and the artist talk is out of the way, I thought I would start showing some new material from Minescape.

51º 30' 43" N 0º 29' 15" W

This bionic hand is the latest creation by a firm that I have been in contact with.  The London Prosthetic Center has been kind enough to allow me into their offices and photograph some of the hands, feet, limbs, fingers and joints that they make to allow their clients to integrate more fully into society.

This one device in particular is a bionic hand.  Electrodes attach to the skin of the forearm or elbow.  These electrodes interpret the muscle stimuli and allow the hand to open and close and turn at the wrist.  I was told by Abdo Haider, the prosthetist I worked with, this device will replicate roughly half of the movements of the human hand and wrist.

This technology is not cheap however.  It runs about £10,000 for one of these hands.  Mr. Haider did tell me that there are developers in the U.S. that have made a full bionic arm that attaches at the shoulder joint which can replicate all 22 motions the human arm can achieve.  I can only imagine how much that device must cost.

Realize , however, that wearers of prosthetic devices must be refitted ever 3 years as the human body is always changing shape and it doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that wearers of this technology, due to the price and retrofitting, are exceptions to the rule.

Next week, I will show a device more commonly seen, especially in areas like Bosnia where I carried out the initial shooting of my project.

Wendy Pye

Posted in Other Photographers with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2011 by brettvanort

As I am getting ready for a talk with photographers Simon Norfolk, Wendy Pye and Paul Lowe at 198 Gallery on Friday, March 25, I want to take a look at Wendy’s work, her website is here, which I originally saw while at the MA Photography degree a year prior to my graduation from London College of Communication.

Wendy showed her series “Beachy Head”.   The work was named after the third most popular spot in the world to take one’s life.  The photographs looked at the relics left behind for loved ones that perished there.  I thought the work had a poignancy to it but also a somewhat disturbing quality as well.  As beautiful as the site was, and Wendy did a fantastic job of showing the beauty at dusk, it had a hidden element to it and a fearful connotation as well.

© Wendy Pye

As this talk will revolve around the nature of fear in landscape, I felt that Wendy was certainly appropriate to join the discussion.  I hope to realize whether she felt the same fear that was present just before someone took their last steps towards the ocean.  I felt it translates to the work, so did it transfer through the camera and onto her own persona?

Wendy has continued working in the area in various forms.  Her most recent work uses long exposures and light painting as an attempt to transmit the spiritual nature prevalent at the site.

© Wendy Pye

I’d like to thank not only Wendy but also Simon and Paul for coming to the talk and hopefully making the night entertaining and thought provoking.

Week 2 + 1

Posted in Minescape, Picture of the week with tags , , , , on March 20, 2011 by brettvanort

A quick one.  An installation shot from my show on at 198 gallery through April 23.

51º 45' 30" N 0º 10' 26" W

Week 1+1

Posted in Picture of the week on March 13, 2011 by brettvanort

Start of a new year of weekly photos.  Last week I said I would have some scans hopefully, and I managed to come through.  Most of the negatives were a continuation of the Imaginary Battlefield series.  However I did have a few of snow in the mix as well.  One of which I think I like, however I’m not wholly sure as of yet.  Maybe I will use it for next week.  We’ll see.

This shot is from Bunker 51.  It’s a paintball/laser tag venue near on the other side of the river from Canary Wharf.  It truly is a bunker as it is near to impossible to find.  Light levels were extremely low inside the areas I was in.  We’re talking 20 second exposures here.  So I’m pleasantly surprised at the turnout.  I’m also happy that the “atmosphere” managed to show up.  That’s the term Directors of Photography would use for smoke machines.  The ambiance is not from smoke however, it’s from dust and the dirt that you see in the foreground.  I wonder what the lungs of the field marshals look like after exposure to the “atmosphere” for a couple years.  Probably not good.

51º 49' 37" N 0º 2' 50" E

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