July 2008 Archives

July 27, 2008

Helmut Newton Foundation

At The Helmut Newton Foundation on Jebensstrasse the current exhibition on display is Pigozzi and the paparazzi.

From the exhibition's program:

Jean Pigozzi, the photographer included in the exhibition title, has been able to cultivate the kind of intensive and intimate relationship with the rich and the famous that is so desperately sought after by the paparazzi at large. Being befriended with many famous people in the international social and cultural scene, he has been making candid portraits of prominent individuals at private locations since the 1970’s. An unusual aspect of his work is his double portrait series Pigozzi & Co. In this ongoing project he appears together with a musician or an actor friend, the two posed with their heads, often touching, in a close-cropped composition. These are images from daily life, in which Pigozzi poses as friend and fan.

There were also some awesome pictures by Newton that I haven't seen before.

In his autobiography Newton wrote that after he saw Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita starring Anita Ekberg, he became interested in the phenomenon of the paparazzi. In 1970 he travelled to Rome to work with “real” paparazzi. As part of a commission for the fashion magazine Linea Italiana, Newton hired a few of them to pose with his models. In Newton’s unconventional approach the photographers were asked to treat the model as if she were a famous person. An interesting aspect of Newton’s work is the combination of multiple real elements, such as the model, the fashion and the paparazzi, on the one hand, with the staging of the photograph on the other.

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Clandestine shot of the famous Big Nudes series exhibited in the staircase. Richard Reens, Berlin, 2008.

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Richard almost made the universe cancel itself out by taking paparazzo pictures of me looking at pictures of paparazzi taken by other paparazzi. Richard Reens, Berlin, 2008.

If you are in Berlin and have a couple of hours to spend, pay a visit to the HNF. It's handily placed in Ku'Damm area and beside Newton's works, cameras and props, there are other photo exhibitions, a wonderful bookstore and a Café Einstein ready to provide for that raging caffeine addiction of yours.

But, um, you're not allowed to take pictures.

July 19, 2008

The long fat tail of global uselessness


Attaining relevance takes great effort, but blogging is seldom regarded as hard work. Hence the washout.

I recently realized—while writing an article for a magazine—that Kit·blog during its almost 6 years of existence was relevant in only a couple of instances.

Two times

June 2006: calling designers against the "design law"

June 2006—the post A communist design law in the making calls designers to stand up and fight against SDPR's "design law". The post triggers a massive chain reaction both local and international. Milton Glaser sends in his message agains bureaucracy. Stefan Sagmeister and James Victore (both contacted by Ovidiu Hrin) rally with the protest, the signatures on the petition tops the 1,000 mark and Metropolis Magazine publishes David Womack’s article against SDPR’s initiative for regularization of design practice: Design and the State. The barrage of disapproval makes the subject sensitive.

January 2008: the story on Woody Allen's use of Windsor

January 2008—the post on Woody Allen's titles gets linked or syndicated long and wide, from Boing Boing to Waxy and Metafilter. From John Gruber's Daring Fireball to Kottke. Design Observer of course, SpeakUp's Quipsologies to Khoi Vihn's Subtraction and John Nack on Adobe. Also some press, like The Morning News, La Repubblica and LeMonde's Design et Typo. Some days register well over 10k uniques.

Tired of blogging

That's two rights in six years of wrongs. Far from brilliant, but—as probably most blogs won't achieve even that—not catastrophic either. Thing is, I'm losing interest.

What's left is typical blogging: personal entertainment turning into public noise, like a hillbilly's whistling in the street or that meaningless conversation you're confined into listening on a flight. Countless doors opening to nothingness.

There are millions of blogs murmuring out there and along with them I keep doing it, too—but I start wondering—why?