Bed of Leaves

Walking away from our past,
Let us follow our darkest fear,
Swept off my feet by the wind,
Blowing between your branches,
Silky jaws lap and tear me apart.
Embrace me, branches.
I return once more.
Light has failed.
Children play in echoes;
Vegetation.
Asphyxiated on your perfume.
On every leaf your scent is caught.
Burrowing under the past,
only resurfacing to catch my breath.

Exaggerated whispers keep me
Running, I want to
grow, I want to
entwine with your wooded arms.
My eyes fail and that doesn’t
worry me a second.
Music plays, my ears burn.
Every few miles there is
a shelter built from wood.
Your flesh so starlight,
It’s worth every try.

I always thought that someone would make
you happier. I was wrong.

Fuse me with the trees:
you blew me away with gusts.

My fingers become bark,
seized completely; you seize the night.
Let me drown in night,
it’s the only way I can feel you.

Silky jaws of beasts,
slicing my mind to tatters.
I’ll follow you forever.
The trees glow when I cry,
Illuminated in the moonlight.
The leaves turn red and
the forest begins to take me.
Cooing me, lulling me
into your web.

I’m not the man I used to
be, but I’m not the
man I want to be yet.
Bury my body and never tell a soul,
I’m alone in the ice. Come find me,
Rain on me.

Your nails run down my legs,
Digging deeper with every stroke.
Bones push up the ground.
Fingers clasp my tendons.

I want to lie in your bed
of leaves, let me
be immersed in your
world, let me become
one with you, my love.

It’s been a while since I felt,
Water seep into my feet.
The rage of the wind in
the trees hits my
chest and darling I’m
short of breath. I’ve been
walking to find your heart.
I’ll follow you all my life.

Flesh and bone,
Curling petals,
Witnessing your Spring
Suffering the chill air.
Let me open the door again.
Heavy footing on soft soil.
Your darling face is my obituary.

Dripping leaves, Soaking floor,
Slithering down my mind.
Rabbits run, Badgers fall,
Sweet and wild, untamed
Your hair is caught
It whispers words,
Echoed memories, laughs from birds,
Willow, birch, beach and silver,
The friction burn inside my chest.
The ground calls for me
I lay down and sink.
I become the leaves of my bed.

 

I wrote this last term as part of an experimental web project which isn’t quite complete. I thought I should probably start posting my creative writing on here as well as it’s a big part of my experiments/practice now. My favourite part is the last stanza, everytime I read it I love it more and more. 🙂

Let me know what you think!

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The Boy & The Twins – Åsa Johannesson

I saw Åsa talk about her work recently and I couldn’t wait to share it on here. The Boy & The Twins is an absolutely fabulous piece of work and her work in progress series Aryan looks absolutely superb also.

The way she interweaves the staged posed images of the boy against her own autobiographical images of her and her sister in their tomboy childhood is so beautiful and works so well. Coming from knowing quite a lot about and having experienced from others the issues and feelings around being transgender, I’ve felt in my own experiments how difficult a subject it is to tackle as an artist, as we are surrounded by imagery and projects on gender that I feel sometimes almost work against the feelings and reality of being transgender.

As far as I can see; to be trans is not necessarily to be flamboyant or loudly self-expressive, nor is it to comply to strict social rules on gender purely to blend in. It’s the ability to be yourself and be happy with that, much like everyone else. It’s not ABOUT becoming something else, it’s purely about being (and sometimes, becoming) yourself and being true to that. Anyway to move on, I love how she gently juxtaposes the two halves of boyhood. There’s a time in some trans individuals’ lives where they almost return to this boyhood or girlhood they perceive to have ‘missed’ and follow an accelerated version, returning back to secret dreams and desires they may have repressed (either consciously or subconsciously) from their childhood and perhaps adolescence. This idea is what comes across so strongly to me in the juxtaposing of the two images.

There’s an awkward sense of reflection on the part of Jacob, the boy; where it’s almost like the images of Johannesson and her sister become projections of his own subconscious past as perhaps two halves. Some might feel this split is about gender directly but others feel this split is between the physical body and the inner identity.

The Johannesson sisters are almost stalked by Jacob across the images, like he is observing them; perhaps their behaviour, perhaps just their twin-ness; much like one would observe animals on safari or in a zoo. Jacob’s poses suggest a sense of frustration and boredom which I feel is very telling of his own life story; there is always a lot of waiting and seeing involved.

Jacob holds a banana skin with a semi-clenched fist, his eyebrows sense a certain agitation, whether it’s because he is being photographed in the first place, play acting for the camera or if the image touches in on a subconscious frustration at the time. The banana’s reference to absence of full male genitalia is interesting especially as it appears like knuckle dusters, another subtle reference to masculinity.

Jacob and his partner stand on the path together; their clothes echo one another and they stand together staring out at us. The path looks fairly derelict and just behind them lies the remains of a broken children’s treehouse, once again whispering suggestions of boyhood. The image is named The Path, naturally echoing Jacob and many others’ journey ahead.

http://www.asajohannesson.com/

http://www.rca.ac.uk/Default.aspx?ContentID=504992&CategoryID=36646

Cat’s False Alarm – Sample12 Exhibition

Cat’s False Alarm – Jasmine Gauthier (2010)

I’ll be exhibiting in a group show called Sample 12 at ThePrintSpace in London (see address above), from 3rd – 28th Feb 2012 (Mon-Fri). The Private View is on the 2nd February, 7pm until 9:30pm. I’d love to see some of you guys there or perhaps drop me a line if you do visit another time during the week and tell me what you thought!

Thanks!

Annabel Elgar

Annabel’s work was a fascinating find at the recent exhibition at the Wapping Project: Bankside (http://www.thewappingprojectbankside.com/exhibitions/index.shtml). I kept returning to her work more than any of the others as they were dark and beautiful, reminiscent of fairytales and full of strange narratives.

The exhibition had this to say about her work:

Annabel Elgar stages her work in imagined places that might initially appear idyllic, but contain unsettling details that suggest otherwise. Her photographs recall strange fairy tales and cultish activity, but their subject matter is real life torments: relentless s truggle between the rich and the poor, the home as a site of poverty and ruin; the family a source of treachery and despair.

http://www.annabelelgar.com/

Pregnancy Series (Nasharie)

So if any of my readers follow me on twitter, you will know that I have just begun a project that is a study of pregnant women.

So for starters, if anyone is reading this and knows of any pregnant women in the UK (I’m willing to travel within reason so check with me)! I’m really friendly and I can’t believe how excited I am about this project.

Pregnancy, birth and children are a massive part of me, which might sound strange to some as I’m only 20 and feel nowhere near ready for having children. However, doing this project makes me feel so alive, so excited, to know that these women are holding a beautiful precious thing. I’m interested in the waiting with pregnancy, that there is a deadline as such… then the anticipation as well as the anxiety, essentially I’m interested in starting off documenting all these emotions, then I will see how it goes from there.

My main concern/interest at the moment is getting experience of photographing pregnant women and eventually photographing groups of pregnant women because I think there’s something unusual to photograph in that. So yes, here’s a little taster of what I’ve been photographing on my first shoot of the project. The beautiful Nasharie…

Bright Young Twins

Here are Aimee (Brunette) and Harriet (Blonde), the sweetest double-act you could ever imagine. I’ve been dying to (not sure why it never happened) to do a blog post on these two lovely girls. They have a relatively new blog called Bright Young Twins, where they post videos, images and diary-like entries of what they get up to in their fascinating vintage world.

I’ve done a few photographs of them in the past two years (gosh It’s been that long) but I’d love to do more. Just wanted to post some images of them for a change.

We met one day when the two girls wanted to set up a W.I. society at their University, they needed some publicity photographs to advertise it so a friend of mine suggested I’d be up to do it and I’m so glad I did. I love to learn more about their lifestyle, the lifestyles of the past and what the future has to offer for it. I hope to photograph these lovely ladies for time to come.

 

Mauritius #1 – Changes

I’ve just been away for two weeks or so, photographing luxury villas/homes all over Mauritius. I quite literally did a tour of the island from South to West to North to East back to South again. It was an intense trip, full of emotional memories (I lived there for a fair chunk of my childhood and have family there) as well as hardwork. In all I took 4029 photographs, a lot were houses but the rest I wanted to photograph little glimpses of my memories still existing, or aspects of Mauritius on the brink of change. Most of the north (and the rest of the island) is a massive building site with Shopping Centres, Resorts and Real Estate popping up everywhere. It’s disturbing, for me at least. It’s only a small island really with such massive “empty” projects everywhere. The only place I’ve been to where I saw as many (and more ofc) of these projects was Texas. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time in Texas, it’s a crazy place with crazy people in it. I guess being used to the UK’s lack of space, seeing such large spaces “wasted” hurts a little. It’s like people don’t know what to do with space other than to BUILD SOMETHING BIGGER THAN SOMEONE ELSE BUILT IT. Anyway, this was something I’d probably be interested to go back and study some more, I’m not quite sure why… because usually I’m into such personal studies, perhaps it’s the Jetlag.

Apart from these “Monstrosities”, there are some incredible things being built and introduced in Mauritius. I remember as a child that the culture side of the island was distinctively lacking but this is progressing more and more as time goes on. There are decent Cinemas and I’ve read lots about some of the theatre/music scene getting better. You have to remember that this is just my impression, I’m incredibly biased in both directions, being from there (partly) and also, living in such a different world at the same time.

There is one thing that was wonderful, the sheer happiness in the people in general, I don’t think I’ve seen so many smiles there as I have anywhere else in two weeks. Actually, I think my road trip up England to Scotland last year is probably another time there were lots of smiles. Some of these smiles included, a roadside fruit stall guy who told us all about his business and how it’s changed, then there was our female butler who despite her age was excellently trained, friendly and fun too, and lastly the darling maids who greeted us everyday with a smile and a chat about indian culture (they henna’d my hand). There were so many different small exchanges like those which made me realise that this Island may be changing but some things would always be the same.

I know where I live now, changes are happening all around me constantly, but for some reason these aren’t quite as intense. Perhaps it’s because the sites that are important to me have not changed… yet. How will I feel when I come back to this house years from now and see it’s a gap in a row of houses, being rebuilt into something else? This is what I experienced from the oldest house I can remember living in Mauritius, you drive up the road and there’s just an empty lot with houses all round. Such a strange experience. Even just seeing my other houses, it felt like I was seeing a ghost. These places had existed in my memories as ghosts of the past, just pieces of my imaginations, just unreal locations that were important to me. Then to go there and be confronted with their existence, it still twangs at my heart. I wonder if many people get the same experience, I never thought experiencing the past was so painful even if it was a happy time.

I think I’ve spoken long enough about the changes of Mauritius that I noticed in general, I could write pages and pages on it but that would be no use.