My father had trained > of squerell’s < a family of to wake me up in the morning,
the mother opened the banged on the back door my father opened the family of sqirrels woke me up.
I think that is the safest I felt outside of my grandparent parents house.
I would play with the babby sqirrels while the mother watch.
That would give my father time to make my breakfast he liked to feed me pig’s feet.
One day I was told that one of my brother didn’t like squirrels and I was expected to watch help my father kill the mother squirrel and I was was to watch my father kill the mother squirell
and I was to kill the babies likewise.
- Excerpt from my mother's Life Story
Fights were like thunderstorms.
They had an eye.
I liked the eye.
It gave me adrenaline.
I really liked it when I was inside me,
And they were outside me.
My eye watching their eye,
Matching the pace of their blinks,
Preparing for the intermission to be over.
My private pleasure,
From things outside me.
Sometimes I slipped on the sands,
And was stuck in the other's eye.
Sometimes black birds pounded their beaks
On my closed wooden door.
And fluttered under
Coming for me all wings and shrills
And I turned to stone.
And my eye did no longer see.
(Series taken in small town Michigan, USA)
Ella the Squatter
I met Ella in life drawing class. She has short red curly hair, freckles, is very young and overall reminded me of Orphan Annie.
Turns out Ella is a squatter so not that dissimilar to our heroine Annie.
When we met she was squatting in a pub in Chelsea that had recently closed down. For locations, decor, and free rent, Ella was doing quite well for herself. She invited me over to take her photo but not before 2pm as she wouldn't be awake.
I arrived a bit after 2pm as didn't want to miss too much of the short London daylight hours but was thoroughly questioned by her fellow squatters prior to being allowed entry. I'm not a reporter, am I? It reeked of weed though, so even their German Shepherd was pretty laid back. One girl wearing 'Hot Topic' esque apparel with pink hair and multiple facial piercings went upstairs to wake Ella whilst I waited downstairs.
A blond boy and I started talking about the squatter lifestyle. I'm not sure how the conversation turned to this, but he asked me to put yellow eye shadow on him, which I did. He made me a rather tasty coffee and we sat in the fading cool afternoon sun, under the glass awninged back of the pub and talked art. The yellow eye makeup (NARS- Rated R) really made his blue eyes pop, somehow their effect was like a mirror on myself and I became sublimated with his peculiar sort of wonder for the world.
Sometime after 3pm Ella floated downstairs. Before she could think she needed another cigarette. Another coffee. Another cigarette. She was wearing a floor grazing white sheer gown speckled with little daisy eyelets. It had a hole in the side she safety pinned. The bottom was all black/ grey and torn from constantly grazing the floor. Faint yellow stains here and there. No bra. Like a homeless Marilyn Monroe meets Mrs Havisham's younger spectre.
She took me upstairs to her 'area' of the pub as the sun was setting and my eyes were accosted by the sharp contrast between the regal jewel toned plush furniture of one of those modern 'bistro' pubs all moved to create haphazard 'forts' with random strings on the ceiling holding up various coloured cloths to designate territories. It looked like highschool heaven. The whole scene punctuated with cigarette wrappers, spilt tobacco, turned over beer cans, wine bottles, kebab remnants et al.
Ella's bed was a deep emerald green velvet sofa with the baroque-esque wood frame painted gold. It suited her red hair and white dress. I took her photo in front of 'her window' and was interested in what she wanted out of the world. She didn't seem to be coming or going anywhere but she was so comfortable with that, had such ease within herself.
I felt dazed when I left, it seemed so much brighter outside. The pub brimmed with people fighting- fighting against 'the system', fighting against 'growing up'. I, too, fight against these things, but in a different form of battle.
She Turned into a Rose
I met her at the Garden Committee neighbourhood meeting and asked her name.
Hi, I'm Kamila.
Hi, I'm Camille.
No, you Kamila, me Camille!
She is a model and let me take her photo.
I read this disturbing novel recently called 'The Vegetarian' by Han Kang about a Korean girl who stops eating meat and wishes to turn into a plant. Eventually she stops eating anything and becomes all bones and is admitted into the hospital. Before this, her sister's husband, an artist, asks her if she would let him paint her body with flowers and then have sex with a man also covered in flowers whilst he films it. She feels she is becoming a tree so this whole event seems quite natural to her. By the end of the story, she escaped her humanity.
It made me wonder about the natural state of people, animals, objects I am familiar with- if it is wrong to treat them as they are? Where is the line between what one intends to be, their cognisance of 'being' and their projection of these desires?
So it's fitting I met Kamila at the Garden Committee Meeting and she came down the street from her house to mine, carrying that bunch of fake roses to drape over her very slim limbs for the shoot.
I was walking on a hot summer day with my friend Jenni when we came across a house on wheels.
It's not everyday we see a quintessential American house uplifted from the ground by trucker wheels taller than us, so we decided to break in.
It was a bit hard climbing one of the muddy wheels, but we managed. To our dismay, it was pretty boring inside. A basic house made of cheap materials and the only thing somewhat interesting was how the bright sun outside created such sharp shadows inside the transitory space.
Then we noticed in the corner, an unassuming little dead moth.
The shadow it made on the grey carpet looked like a knife.
I thought of Stan Brakhage's film "Moth Light" where he took pieces of moth wings and affixed them directly to the film reel so when the footage was shown, you were looking at the actual wings, not a representation of moth wings' shot' by a camera. Obviously, this was a moth in light still being shot by the camera but making a knife form.
The moth became for me a knife.
With Jenni horizontal, the contours of her face were a sandy landscape, like the standard 'woman's body as landscape' an analogy I hate. Arming this cliche with a kitsch knife moth justified it in my eyes.
In the final frame, I put the moth on Jenni's nose, in the stead of where it's knife shadow used to be, her eye, (Un Chien Andalou style). Another reference to a viewer's disruption in scopophilia, or the pleasure of looking.
When looking at these photos no one can tell Jenni and I broke into a house on wheels. That secret confession hovers a mischievous pleasure just outside the frame...
Rubinald the Dancer
A ballet dancer
Strong, vast landscapes of Asia and South America.
Candid and somewhat clandestine shots of strangers in the streets of Paris.