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scrawl
8 March 2013
please don't touch
Now Playing: polly scattergood - please don't touch
Topic: hospitalfield

 

Please don't touch
Please don't stop and stare
Yes, I thank you for your kindness
But there's sadness in the air
Please don't touch
'Cause it makes me jitter, and

Although I lost my mind, sir,
I think you lost yours quicker
Please don't touch

- Polly Scattergood

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 21:27 GMT
Updated: 17 March 2013 11:31 BST
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blue and green should never be seen...
Now Playing: david bowie - fashion
Topic: self-portraiture


 

...without another colour in between.

...what a load of bollocks...

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 21:11 GMT
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headshot
Now Playing: veruca salt - get back
Topic: self-portraiture


In case you're wondering, I'm catching up on posting some old work.

My hair is much longer at the moment.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 21:00 GMT
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it's not easy being green...
Now Playing: young werther - cornish green
Topic: self-portraiture

 

  

 


Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 20:51 GMT
Updated: 8 March 2013 20:51 GMT
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2 March 2013
weaving words into light
Now Playing: pj harvey - you come through
Topic: collaborations

 
I've been collaborating with Brisbane writer, Simon Groth, on i see a pattern forming since May 2011. Though our posts have been minimal lately, this is still a work in progress, and the concentration of late has been more about how to make this collaboration come to life in a place other than the internet.

A recent collaboration with McKenzie Johnson, an American photographer currently based in China, is much less formal, and taking place as a sort of dialogue, loosely titled 'Alone Together'. We are currently posting the first tentative responses to each other via Flickr, but may take the conversation to a place more consolidated in the future. I will keep you updated on that.

Slightly more recently, myself and Canadian photographer, Sarah Mercer, have taken to collaborating one on one after being involved in the Divine Diptych Project. We both enjoyed that experience, which often took a second place to life for many members of the Divine Sisterhood, so we thought we'd branch out on our own.

The work we are producing for this project is based on themes coming from song or movie titles and quotes, weaving words into light. Some images, like the first, will be diptychs, but that is not a requirement of the project. We're both excited about where this might lead.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 19:13 GMT
Updated: 2 March 2013 19:16 GMT
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14 February 2013
the old chapel
Now Playing: victoria williams - my funny valentine
Topic: travels with kyle 2012

 
I'm generally not one for 'Hallmark' holidays. I can often be heard to 'bah humbug' (or the seasonal equivalent) at Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day.

Being an atheist, Christmas and Easter don't mean much to me except 8 parts family + 2 parts gifts (Christmas), and 8 parts chocolate + 2 parts hot cross buns (Easter). Similarly, the origins of St Valentine's Day, beyond poetic romanticism, don't capture my heart, as it were.

The fact that I don't 'believe' in St Valentine's Day doesn't mean I'm not a hopeless romantic when I want to be.

This time last year, Kyle and I stayed in a gorgeous little cottage: a converted chapel in Baldersdale, County Durham, I found on the cottages4you website. It has everything going for it apart from an internet connection, though that in itself was probably a good thing most of the time.

Located on a country lane, mostly isolated apart from a few nearby farmhouses that have also been converted into holiday accommodation, it was the perfect location from which to explore not only County Durham, but the Yorkshire Dales and Moors, and York itself; the Lake District; and Scarborough and the northeast coast. Arriving when the snow was still on the ground, it was extremely picturesque.

Totally self-contained, it provided us with the perfect place to return to of an evening after full days of sightseeing, picture-taking, pub lunches (and dinners) and, in some instances, pub quizzes. Being that way inclined, we'd often return from the cold outdoors after a long day to indulge in a game of Monopoly (or three) in the warmth with wine or cider and cheeses, and Guinness and baked goods, respectively.

On St Valentine's Day last year, we explored Rievaulx AbbeyHelmsley Castle (I might have photographed a pigeon carcass, which wasn't particularly romantic to most people's perception!), and Egglestone Abbey at sunset. Our days before and after were filled with picturesque and historic villages, snow, grand homes, abbeys, churches, graveyards, beaches, parsonages, and such like. A veritable feast for our eyes, cameras and imaginations.

This year, unfortunately, we once more spend this time of year apart. Kyle has just moved house to settle in Brisbane until he finishes his degree and readies himself to head over here. Though I spent a month in Australia with him over Christmas and New Year's, I missed sharing the thrill of snow with him again this year, which he experienced for the first time last year.

However, all going to plan, he will be here to enjoy the snow and St Valentine's Day with me next year. If I knew the exact date, you bet I would be counting down the days. 
 

 

I love you, Kyle.
 

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 00:20 GMT
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10 February 2013
tea for two
Now Playing: lana del rey - blue jeans
Topic: road trip 2010
Despite how it may seem from my intermittent posting during the latter part of last year, and this being my first post for 2013, I have been keeping busy with taking and editing photos, and with visiting many galleries already this year.
 
I spent a month during December and January visiting my partner, our respective families, and friends back in Australia, with quite a lot of jumping about from place to place.
 
During my travels I took quite a lot of photos of Winton, Queensland, and surrounds, where my partner's family lives and where he has spent a large part of his life, and quite a few snaps of him. I'll post some of the photos of landscape and fauna I captured whilst I was there on here soon, though I didn't take my usual glut of photos whilst away, and none of them were self-portraits. The heat and injured / painful feet (long story) hindered me, and it was also good to actually have a proper holiday.
 
Since my return to London I have been catching up on seeing a lot of art (I will try to post about some of that on here), and have also been trying to catch up on my backlog of editing.
 
Last year I finally finished working my way through photos from a road trip with Natasha Wheatley in 2009; and I'm currently working my way through photographs from the road trip I took with Philip Ivens from Melbourne to Brisbane in 2010.
 
Below is a sequence of images I took of Philip 'in conversation' with a visiting kookaburra on the verandah of the cabin we stayed in at Waratah Bay on our first night out of Melbourne. At the bottom is an animated gif of the five images, because, well, I just couldn't help myself.
 

 

 

 

 

 
They had reached a stand-off:
despite the kookaburra's insistence that not all verticals in a photograph have to be vertical,
and that high contrast in photographs is perfectly acceptable,
Phil was not buying it. 
 

Thank you to Phil for letting me post these surreptitiously taken photos, despite hating to be photographed, let alone have those same photographs posted on the internet. His expression in the second last shot was actually directed at me as he twigged that he may be in the shots, though I denied at the time that he was ;o)

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 17:50 GMT
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8 November 2012
are you trying to seduce me...?
Topic: photography

national gallery, london


I saw a billboard for the Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present exhibition at the National Gallery in London in the Tube the other day and thought, 'Ooh, that would be good!' and mentally earmarked it for suggestion to a friend to catch up to see this weekend, as I've had to rain-check twice on catching up with him.

I went to look up details just now, and though I will still probably check it out, it irked me no end that:

a) it is the National Gallery's first major exhibition of photography. Camera photography is not a new art. The process has existed for almost 200 years in some form. Why has it taken this long for the National Gallery to recognise it as such?

b) by 'recognise' I use the term loosely. The description of the exhibition states: It takes a provocative look at how photographers use fine art traditions, including Old Master painting, to explore and justify the possibilities of their art. Le sigh. Photographers still have to 'justify' the 'possibilities' of their art? I'm surprised the word 'art' in this context isn't within quotation marks to clearly indicate the National Gallery's view that photography's claim to being art is a spurious one, at best.

c) the National Gallery's first major exhibition of photography is actually not an exhibition of photography. It is an exhibition of photography and painting. Drawing attention to one particular and rich strand of photography’s history – that of the influence and inspiration of historical painting. From that description, I would assume the exhibition indicates photography is only valid as an art form in its relation to painting, and will be viewed as such, not as a stand-alone art form in its own right.

d) the opening gambit for the exhibition is View Old Master painting through a new lens with the National Gallery's first major exhibition of photography. Even in the blurb photography takes a poor second place.

I haven't even been to the exhibition and I'm already riled up about it. I hope it isn't as patronising and insulting to photographic artists as it sounds. Arguably the contemporary photographers it mentions including are not my preference, but to indicate showing their work is only valid in the context of showing how they have been influenced by painters from times past (and not even contemporary painters) feels like a complete negation of their work to me.

I'm not arguing that art from one time or one medium doesn't influence art that follows or art in a newer medium. I would be naive to disregard that aspect. But surely if you are going to stage the first major exhibition of an art form, you would concentrate on that art form, not on how it references / is derivative of another form of art / art medium?

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 22:09 GMT
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16 June 2012
i see a darkness
Now Playing: bonnie 'prince' billy - i see a darkness
Topic: self-portraiture

i see a darkness

Well, you're my friend and can you see,
Many times we've been out drinkin',
Many times we've shared our thoughts,
But did you ever, ever notice, the kind of thoughts I got?

Well, you know I have a love, a love for everyone I know.
And you know I have a drive to live, I won't let go.
But can you see this opposition comes rising up sometimes?
That its dreadful imposition, comes blacking in my mind.

And that I see a darkness.
And that I see a darkness.
And that I see a darkness.
Did you know how much I love you?
Is a hope that somehow you,
Can save me from this darkness.


- Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 23:38 BST
Updated: 17 June 2012 07:51 BST
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4 June 2012
end of a century [almost]
Now Playing: aimee mann - one
Topic: portraits

agnes hyde


Sometimes the information superhighway isn't so super, even in this day and age. Firstly, because some people still don't use it, so information doesn't always pass across the world instantaneously; and secondly, because sometimes the information crossing that superhighway is not what you want to hear.

I found out yesterday (Sunday) that my Grandma passed away last Tuesday. Her funeral took place at 2:30pm today AEST.

My parents were just arriving into Bucharest on Sunday, and finally had access to internet after not having reasonably priced access to phone or internet since they heard the news from my Uncle, and my Uncle is a Luddite (this is not a criticism, just a statement of fact), thus the delay. My Uncle had tried to call me a number of times, but he doesn't have to make international calls often, and it turns out he was only pressing '0' once before the UK country code 44, so his calls must have been going to someone else's Australian mobile number.

Either way, despite the fact I knew this was coming, it still felt horrible reading those words in the Gmail email preview as I clicked through to read the full message from my parents. It was like a kick in the guts, and after a relatively positive couple of days previous, was even harder to take.

When I left Australia I told my Grandma to look after herself, and that I'd be back for her 100th birthday. That last day I saw her, I knew I'd be emotional, but was totally unprepared for her crying as I hugged her and kissed her on the cheek and said my goodbyes. I was trying not to cry before I left, but as soon as she started I couldn't hold it in any longer.

I remarked to my parents about it, somewhat in shock, because my Dad's family have never been big on emotion. My Grandma, like all of her immediate family including my Dad, generally held her cards close to her chest. I mentioned it to my Uncle last night when we spoke on the phone finally, and he said that she told him about it when he visited the next day, and even she seemed surprised by her own behaviour.

We both knew that day that there was a pretty strong chance this would be the last time we would see each other. Neither of us said that, but our tears were pretty clear indication that we knew, though I'm sure we both hoped otherwise.

As with my Mum's mother, I only really got to know Dad's mum better as I got older, over the past few years. With living in different states most of my life, my interactions with Grandma were intermittent and brief. Probably the longest amount of time I spent with her was staying with her and my Uncle in 2002 because I was then living with my parents but they'd gone away for a couple of weeks. Not being able to drive, their then home in the Gold Coast hinterland wasn't as accessible as needed for getting to work, buying groceries, etc., so I stayed with Grandma and Uncle John.

Visiting Grandma about every second week during the time I lived in Brisbane (September 2009 to January 2011), we built up something of a bond, though generally not through conversation or shared interests. It just happened, maybe because there are so many things I have inherited from her - good and bad: stubborn Aries traits, small (especially facial) features, worrying and over-thinking things, a love of crosswords (shared with both Grandmothers).

I also keenly understood her frustration and rebellion against being placed in a home. It was a necessity - she was no longer able to look after herself, and it was too much for my family to take on, due to a very bad fall - but to go from being fairly independent and active to being in a hospital and then not being able to go back to your own home was something I understood would be very hard. My Uncle did take her to visit, but it must have been so hard for her.

She did end up enjoying the home, despite her initial feelings. The staff there were absolutely wonderful with her, and she quite clearly touched a nerve with them. Despite being of a generation preceding political correctness (I would often cringe at things she said, but knew it was just a generational thing, that she did not hold prejudices), staff at the home of varying ancestry loved her and joked with her. She often displayed a cheekiness with the staff that we as family rarely saw, and I finally got to see more of that over the past few years.

Also generational, I know many of the things I do (nude self-portraiture), the way I live my life (living with a partner before wedlock, piercing my nose), were concepts she would not have understood / did not understand (she did stop staring at my nose-ring when talking to me after about a week), because her life was so utterly different to mine, but she rarely judged, to my knowledge. Her comments, when she did make them, seemed more concerned than judgmental.

I do regret never asking her about Grandpa and her relationship with him. I would have liked to hear her talk about him, but I suspect she wouldn't have opened up much about that. Unfortunately she burnt a lot of papers and photos at one point, but letters my Uncle passed to my Dad give an impression of their love for each other, and their affectionate joking, with Grandpa referring to Grandma by her sisters' pet name for her, Scraggie Aggie.

I know that my wanting her to reach her 100th birthday was utterly selfish, and even though she didn't reach that milestone I am still proud of her. Since soon after I left Brisbane she was on oxygen, so was pretty much bedridden, and her quality of life dropped quite substantially. She would make comments to my parents about "how much longer", quite clearly tired of life, so it was really just time; I would not have wanted her to hang on for the sake of a number, or for me.

For all that I know that, it was still hard to receive that email yesterday, and still very hard today.

The portrait above was taken on my Dad's birthday in 2007, about a year before she had her fall and was put into the home.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 19:49 BST
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