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16 January 2009
what's a girl to do?
Now Playing: dresden dolls - no, virginia
Topic: photography

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A Flickr contact of mine posted a photo today that caught my attention as soon as it appeared on my Flickr homepage when I did a refresh. This isn't all that odd. Often his photos do catch my attention because he has a lot of talent, a signature style and I'm always impressed by his knack for making his wooden box within a basement or bedroom look like an impressive studio, replete with wallpaper, carpet, props and himself or a stunning model posing within it.

However, he is not prone to posting photos of breasts and nudity unless he has something to say, so of course when I saw what appeared to be a semi-nude woman reclining on a bed, I guessed he had some axe to grind.

Sure enough, he was taking a (not-at-all veiled) shot at Miss Aniela and Rebekka Gudleifsdottir's inclusion in a recent issue of Spanish Playboy. He was pretty quick off the mark too, given that only a few hours earlier I had clicked through to Rebekka's stream to view the tearsheets she'd uploaded, and already here he had a custom-edited photograph of his head sewn Frankenstein-style onto a naked female torso to go with his comments.

Although this photographer is somewhat infamous on Flickr for posting controversial rants about female self-portrait artists, especially those who use nudity in their work, he has a tendency to claim it all as a joke when confronted by the artists he is criticising / lampooning the work of, so it's hard to really tell how serious he is being.

A lot of the time I just shrug off his rant posts and go "oh well, he's at it again", and move along to whatever else I'm working on, or check out work from other contacts.

But today, without it actually making me angry (because it didn't), it disappointed me once again that the attitude "Having tits is all I need to become famous, I don't need talent" seems to abound amongst those jealous of the success of artists like Miss Aniela and Rebekka.

The assumption they haven't spent tireless hours devising, shooting and editing photographs; they haven't done the "hard yards" of contacting galleries, magazines, potential clients, potential sponsors, of promoting their work through Flickr, their blogs, and other online outlets (and anyone who claims this is far easier than toting a portfolio around door-to-door really hasn't spent any time updating sites / profiles / blogs, researching, and promoting their various endeavours online); that they've just snapped off some quick shots of T&A and then whacked them up on Flickr and waited expectantly for galleries, magazines and clients to click through and hand them everything on a platter, is really quite insulting, both to Miss Aniela and Rebekka, but by extension to any successful female self-portrait artist who might take nudes or implied nudes. The notion there is a direct correlation between the amount of nipple shown and the amount of success these artists achieve outside of Flickr is a naive and offensive point of view, and I'm disappointed that it exists.

I haven't seen the spreads of Miss Aniela's images, but as Rebekka says in her post about the article, she's "going to take at least some pride in being featured in this publication wearing clothes". I think that is a testament to the quality of her work that it has been included in a magazine where her imagery is quite different to the magazine's standard photography and does not include the (seemingly) obligatory nudity.

But moreso than all of this, why is it such a bad thing that so many female photographers are now getting recognition around the world? Personally I think it's fantastic and about bloody time, especially since in the past there were probably many, many talented female photographers but relatively few of them became famous because, like most industries, photography has historically been a male-dominated arena.

Here's a challenge for you: see if you can name 50 world-renowned female photographers. They can be in any field – fine art, portraiture, self-portraiture, photojournalism, fashion, etc.

Wikipedia is not the ultimate resource, but as an example, I only found around 24 female photographers in their list of photographers who I would consider "world-renowned" (and that was being generous, some of them may not be as well known as I would like to think).

However, going through their list for world-renowned male photographers, I found 50 before I even hit the end of the S's, and that was me being restrained as I know not everyone has studied photography or art history to know many of the ones I know from classes in college.

Oh, and guess what? Of those 50 male photographers, around half of them shoot / shot nudes, and many are / were renowned for their nudes. Only difference I can see is that, apart from a few of them, they photographed other people nude, not themselves...

And for those bitter and jealous about the success of these artists, if you want to become famous and get your "15 minutes of fame" for your photography, here's a tip: spend less time sledging the work of others and more time concentrating on your own photography and I'm sure you'll find more success.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 09:24 GMT
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15 January 2009
Now Playing: moby - play
Topic: vignette press


Vignette Press are back with their second mook!

Following What Is Our Sex?, the new mook to be released in February 2009 explores all things death-related and asks the question "How Do We Die?"

A sampler of the mook will be available to download from the Vignette Press site soon, but until then you can feast your eyes on the quite wonderful cover designed by Jason Lingard and featuring an illustration by Nom Kinnear King. The mook is edited by Dion Kagan.

I will have a few images included in the mook, though no writing in this one.

For those in Melbourne, How Do We Die? will be launched on Thursday 26th February 2009 at Dante's Upstairs, 150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Come on down around 6:30pm for a 7pm start, and hobnob with contributing writers and artists and pick up a copy!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 15:19 GMT
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honey bunny
Now Playing: jose gonzalez - in our nature
Topic: portraits

untitled #69

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Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 11:31 GMT
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14 January 2009
hook, line & sinker
Now Playing: soho dolls - ribbed music for the numb generation
Topic: the big issue

For those not in Australia or who didn't get a chance to pick up a copy of edition #319 of The Big Issue, here's some tearsheets:

the grey river rest stop

the grey river rest stop

the other side of the river

the other side of the river

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 13:08 GMT
Updated: 15 January 2009 01:54 GMT
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13 January 2009
Now Playing: dinosaur jr
Topic: saatchi showdown


I have an image in the latest round of the Saatchi Showdown. Please vote.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 08:46 GMT
Updated: 14 January 2009 02:11 GMT
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12 January 2009
secret garden
Now Playing: ida maria - fortress round my heart
Topic: portraits

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Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 08:21 GMT
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9 January 2009
in the red
Now Playing: muse - showbiz
Topic: self-portraiture

untitled #35

So I've decided I will go to the Melbourne Flickr group street portrait meet tomorrow at Section 8. And I've decided I'm only going to take my analogue cameras - my Holga and my Nikon FM3A - with me. Only problem is that I won't have the money to get the film developed (or for anything else, really) for at least two weeks :-S

Seems all my money disappeared in that black hole otherwise known as the Christmas / New Year period.

I also have to save for a photographic road trip I'll be going on with the lovely Natasha Wheatley from Melbourne to Adelaide (via a weekend in Halls Gap with the RedBubble crew) when she visits Australia in March.

And replace my external drive that died late last year.

(And let's not talk about that hair...)

So, you know, if you've been entertaining the thought of buying a print of one of my images or even a book, now would be a good time.

Most of my work is available for sale as prints, even if it's something you've seen on here and you can't find it on my site (as I haven't updated my site for a few months) or it's not in the stores, so feel free to email me directly if you are after something specific.

Oh, and I guess I may as well mention it now: I've decided darkness & light will only be available for purchase until 16 April 2009, exactly one year from the date I finished the series. I have some other stuff I'm working on and want to "close the book" on that series.

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untitled #34

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 10:15 GMT
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8 January 2009
oxford at night
Now Playing: radiohead - the bends
Topic: england

bridge of sighs

It just hit me last night that on November 30 this year it will have been 10 years since I moved to the UK.
It seems a lifetime ago and I've been back in Australia now for almost 7 years.

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All but the last shot from this night in Oxford are already on my site, but I rescanned them because the versions on my site were ones I had scanned from prints at my work when I was living in Reading and working in London.

As I couldn't use massive amounts of storage space on my work computer and had to back everything up to CDs, I had to be stingy with my scanning: 6"x4" prints scanned at 100% at 300dpi as JPGs, rather than my preferred scanning from neg at 11"x18" at 300dpi as PSD files.

So when my parents asked for one of the images to be included in a 2009 custom calendar, I needed to rescan the image to get a printable version and decided to do them all.

Even the last one, which was bypassed at the time but for which I've found a new love tonight. Probably previously I disliked the lens flare. Now the lens flare makes it for me.

Now if only I had 48 hours in a day, 8 hands, 4 scanners and a team of Photoshop monkeys I might be able to back scan all my old work... Le sigh.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 11:04 GMT
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7 January 2009
Now Playing: elton john - goodbye yellow brick road
Topic: self-portraiture

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untitled #142

These are the very last photos I will be uploading from the fantastic weekend at Aradale Mental Hospital last August.

Hopefully I am able to return there at some stage to further explore and record the wonderful complex.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 06:12 GMT
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5 January 2009
to wish impossible things
Now Playing: the cure - wish
Topic: self-portraiture

to wish impossible things

I was tagged over on Flickr by the extremely talented Rossina Bossio, so here's 16 random things about me:

1. This is from my first self-portrait shoot for 2009 which I did today. An impromptu shoot inspired by the light through my bedroom window as I was drying off from my shower at 5:30pm.

2. I'm a vegetarian; have been for 15 years.

3. I don't drive. I sat my learner's permit test and got 30/30 first go way back in January 1997 but as they are only valid for 10 years I had to renew it at the beginning of 2007 since I've not taken many lessons and never gone for my probationary license.

4. I was born exactly 61 years after my mother's father, and one day short of 76 years after my father's father.

5. I have an ever-growing list of photographers (many on Flickr) whose work I love that I would love to meet and collaborate with but I would probably be completely intimidated by if I ever did get to meet them.

6. I ache to travel more but I am terrible at saving and have too much debt.

7. I get crushes constantly, whether on people I meet in person or on people I know through the internet, but haven't been in love for over three years. There are only fleeting moments when I actually think I'd like to be in a relationship again. I fall in love with light more often than other people.

8. I am quite selfish with my time: I always have something I want to be working on and though I have some wonderful friends I love spending time with, I am also just as happy to be alone and working on my photos - whether taking them or editing them. I lost my focus on my photography for a while but that isn't likely to happen again anytime soon.

9. I talk to myself. Mostly cursing my clumsiness or absent-mindedness, but sometimes I have conversations I want to have with other people in whispered tones with people who aren't there or with mirrors as if they were that person.

10. I think I've worked out recently that I am not so much scared of heights, but I have a fear of falling. This goes hand in hand with my general awareness of my own mortality and this general awareness is part of the reason I don't drive.

11. I have had vasculitis since 2004 though it wasn't diagnosed definitively until 2008. Luckily it only affects my skin and not my major organs like my brain and my heart, and it doesn't flare up very often.

12. I dream a lot; both enjoyable dreams and disturbing nightmares. Sometimes I wish I didn't as I often sleep badly because of it and a night of vivid dreams can be more exhausting than not sleeping at all, but the idea of not dreaming (or not being aware of dreaming or not being able to remember my dreams) is a horrible concept to me.

13. I love words (words like anthropomorphism, pulchritude, omniscient, aubergine, courgette, perineum, expectorate, micturate, masticate, and copulate) and always resolve that I should write more. I also enjoy playing scrabble.

14. I don't colour my hair to cover up grey hairs, I do it to cover up a very ordinary brown colour. I also do it because often vibrant red or chocolate brown colours work so well with outfits and light in my self-portraits. And like Rossina I think of colour combinations all the time. Often my shoots are inspired purely by two items or an item and a setting and the colour combinations created by them.

15. I am a dog person. I like other people's cats, but could never live with one and would love to have another miniature schnauzer one day.

16. I don't ever want to imagine a life without photography and art. Like the previous two years, my only resolution for 2009 is to "make it count". To be able to have the freedom to pursue my art, and travel to further my art and exhibit my work and to collaborate with other talented people is my dream. I know, it's a small one :P

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 09:31 GMT
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