Unintentional film stills


Looking back through the images taken from Rome's Eur district I was struck by a sort of half-formed narrative slowly appearing within the shots. The place was deserted, the whites and greys of the buildings adding an unsettling stillness upon the entire area - the only sign of life was the traffic on the wide boulevards, and Italy's small Fiats swerving around roundabouts at speed looked nearly comical in comparison to the towering architecture above. (which, out of habit or disinterest, the drivers ignored.)
These starkly impressive monuments to fascism loom over you like a held-in breath. It creates a cinematic and palpitating atmosphere; there is the sense that this stillness, stagnation, is temporary, a bell will sound
and streams of animated people with surge out of the buildings and populate the avenues - but simultaneously an air of resignation weighs down upon you like the stifling summer heat: a knowledge that it has always been like this, it will always remain like this. 

Michelangelo Antonioni shot L'Eclisse here in 1962. 

The individual becomes what everyone fears around these structures - miniscule, alone, insignificant. Still photographs reflecting the sensation of a place frozen in time, a stranger in a strange land, Chris Marker's La Jetée; Picnic at Hanging Rock. Déja vu, two people in the same place in different times - don't hold your breath here. 

These photographs were taken with no thoughts lingering behind them; but environments will make one act differently, walk differently and impress their presence upon a place in sometimes unnatural ways. Being in the Eur instilled a sort of reverence in me, and deliberateness of manner: every move I made felt slowed down, considered, paced to accommodate the nature of my surroundings. 

You just have to stand there and take it all in - it's not about you anymore. 

From the photo collection 'In Italy', Rome June 2014.

Pantheon, after Bruce Wild

I knew the Pantheon was the one place in Rome I needed to see, because of The Moon. A photograph which hung in the hallway of the family home throughout my childhood. For many years I had believed this photograph to be depicting the moon, and was very impressed at my father's ability to capture the moon up so close, a looming, perfect sphere suspended in the inky matte darkness.

I don't remember when I became aware that the photograph was not of the moon, but I had grown; grown tall enough to see the detail in the image: the visible rectangles of the coffered dome. Clearly this was no moon. How I managed to learn this was in fact a building, a large dome, and my moon was in fact a 9m diameter skylight, I don't recall.

My dad was in Italy in 1981 - he was in the crowd when the Pope was shot. In June, I went to the Pantheon to attempt to recreate his original image from memory. I had last seen the photo over a year ago, and had not studied it closely for more than five. I am not even certain I got the angle right.

Dilapidated Denmark

Arne Jacobsen designed Bellevista apartments - 1932-36, at Klampenborg are a sorry sight with paint peeling, crumbling balconies, cracks in the concrete and rotting wooden windowsills.
Copenhagen's Little Mermaid poses upon her pedestal of rocks avoiding the swathes of seaweed and tourist rubbish surrounding her.
Bleak vistas.

Denmark not taking care of their cultural heritage.

Snap happy

I have been enjoying the immediacy of documentation with my new smart phone, something I finally succumbed to purchasing. Hopefully now I will be better at capturing images of Sweden as part of my daily life, not just when I am on holiday, which is my current avenue for photography exploits. While I do not want to be a person attached at the hip (or the hand) to this mobile device, collating images of items of interest/daily curiosities can now become an ongoing occupation (for me along with the rest of the world).

FYI I am now present on Instagram under the moniker bruceanddeirdre.

Above are three buildings of interest - Heleneholms gatukök in dying light, small balconies on Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen, and the new mall monstrosity which is Emporia, Malmö. Actually I take the mall monstrosity comment back, I find the structure of Emporia quite fascinating.

More images to follow

Diagonal tourism

When your camera takes film and you only seem document your holidays, it sometimes takes many months for images to see the light of day. These are a few more from my summer touristing in Stockholm in August, these four taken at Drottningholms slott, the private residence of Sweden's Royal Family.

It appears I have a propensity for taking photographs on an angle, perhaps to make them more "dramatic". I think I just rue the fact that a camera does not have the same peripheral scope as my eyes.

Literal flow

Set of open plan book shelves seen on small spaces - a tumblr with a serious case of indoor-outdoor flow, showcasing architecture and design that will make you want to vacuum, put things away, and wipe down table surfaces with a great feeling of inadequacy. Working in a library, I have a great affinity with shelving. Or at least, I feel that I ought to.
These shelves at common room - "a non-profit exhibition space that supports artistic experimentation and dialog in contemporary culture", and described as "bookshelves mounted between the wood studs create a bookstore and social bar on one side of the partition and a more private archive on the side of the artists space" are great because they are accessible from both sides - just like all good things (cloths racks, buffet tables, christmas trees), and provide incentive to collect volumes of books by which to fill out the space into a complete wall.

Sometimes there are so many inspiring things in our alternate reality known as the internet, it makes me want to erupt into a flurry of creativity and then destroy everything in the throes of self loathing. A bit heavy from just looking at a set of cleverly made shelves, perhaps. 

Travelogue - horizontal

A collection of horizontally orientated photographs taken from my 2nd hand 60kr Konica camera. Having this camera is one of the best things, and I am happy to eschew a little bit of technology for something which forces me to be more restrained, selective and patient when documenting. It also gives me a chance to actually enjoy physically inhabiting a space, to have a chance to actually see things without another lens in front of my eyes.
My ability to 'point-and-shoot' is also improving I believe, if that is actually possible.

Horizontal images of Malmö, Frederiksborg, Stockholm, plus Claire.

And coming soon: Travelogue - the second installment. Vertical.

I was here

Coming from New Zealand it is not often one gets to see buildings that are so grand, majestic, overwhelming, and frankly, just old. Frederiksborg Slot as it stands now was constructed between 1602-1620, though some parts date back to the original structure from 1560. This notion is rather dumbfounding to me, realising I have wandered through the same spaces as people from 400 years ago.  Every tourist cliché emerges from the woodwork and nestles in my terribly formulaic expressions as I take it all in.
The place is a visual overload - a slight dizziness comes on from turning around in wonder while staring up at the impossibly lavish ceilings, weighed down with ornately carved decorations.
In the end, the place just seemed too improbable, too removed from my reality to full comprehend it's history. It was not until I noticed the few scratches on the window pane, which I endeavoured to photograph above, that I could fully appreciate just how 'old' this place was. (the more I write here the deeper the hole I am apparently digging for myself is getting. It must be impossible to write about this sort of thing with any sort of sincerity without sounding like a bit of an ignorant ning-nong.)
Above a couple of names and a date have been scratched into the glass, a way for other tourists to leave their marks in history, and in a time where it was easier to get away with such vandalism. This was etched on in 1930, and it was quite glorious to think of others marvelling over this fantastically ridiculous building, and creating some sort of perspective for someone visiting 82 years after them.

I was reminded of Highwic, one of Auckland's historic houses open to visit. On one of the windows in a servant's room, the name 'Florence' is etched into the glass. The story goes that Florence was a housemaid who stole her mistress's diamond ring, and used it the scratch her own name into the window pane in her room.

Back To You

Claire has recently departed after an amazing two weeks in Scandinavia. Based in Malmö (where I currently reside) but also featuring a 4-day visit to Stockholm and a couple of day trips (perhaps night trips would be a more fitting phrase) to Copenhagen and its surrounds. In due course of our travels many photos were taken. With me equipped with a trusty point-and-shoot Konica film camera, and Claire with her Canon digital camera as well as her (smart) phone, we were armed to the hilt.
On looking through the accumulated snaps, a certain trend became rather apparent. And what was meant as documentation of two friends exploring three cities, ended up looking like Claire just followed me around in a rather stalkerish manner - a generous chunk of the images are of my back, or me in various stages or turning around. Perhaps there is now enough material for a 'Florence strides forth' tumblr or some such lunacy. But here let's keep things to only the choicest cuts.
My photos are due to be collected next week,and should hopefully even out the disproportionate number of Claire stalking Florence photos.

All photos by Claire Cooper.

PLACES: Drottningholm / Copenhagen / Drottningholm / Frederiksborg  / Stockholm / Frederiksborg /