Nude Shoot With Tania

Last weekend, I did a nude shoot with the lovely Tania, as pictured above.

I’ve published one nude book so far and done numerous shoots but most of them are kept private as the models are sensitive about families / partners and what they’d think. 

So, it’s great to babe able to actually publish these shots, LIVE, on the nets! Woohoo!

I was nervous because it was a paid shoot, we had limited time and I have very definite ideas about what I don’t want to do. For a start, you will never see retouching on any of my pics. You will see digital cropping, levels, colour vibrancy and the very, very occasional spot removal at the request of a model. 

What you won’t see is the plastic-faced Stepford Wife ideal that is, apparently, sponsoring a whole new wave of how women can feel bad about themselves

I regard women as naturally beautiful. It’s my quest as a photographer to try and capture how *I* see women and share that with the world. In my non-nude portrait work, models will regularly say to me, “Oh, you’ve made me look beautiful!” And I have to correct them, no I didn’t. The beauty is all theirs; all I did was stand at the right spot at the right time and capture the right rays of light. 

Fundamentally, if you’re retouching the shit out of your portraits or nude work until the women look like bizarre Uncanny Valley replicants, then you are doing something wrong. Here’s my advice to you: 

STOP. CONSIDER THE DAMAGE YOU ARE DOING. WOMEN ARE SEEING YOUR IMAGES AND WONDERING WHY THEY DON’T LOOK LIKE THAT. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. 

Look, I’m a sociologist, I’ve read enough Kristeva and Barthes and Bazin to realise that every photographic image is not only a construction, it is an argument. I’m not arguing from some naive stance of ‘realism’ or ‘essential truth.’ I believe every image is a semiotic hand grenade, fling them around without concern and you will be hurting people. 

To stretch the metaphor past breaking… this nude shoot was a minefield for me! I want to represent Tania’s beauty and personality, I want to show how the light hugs her hips and kisses her abdomen. BUT I don’t want to be part of the same old bullshit discourse where all naturalism is lost in the effort of creating an ephemeral, anonymous ur-female, in trying to capture the immanent. 

So, have a look at my pics of Tania. Question how they make you feel. Question why I made them – what the fuck am I trying to say? What can I say in nude female photography that hasn’t been said a million times already? 

Then, when you have the answers… write a book about it, don’t send it to me! 😛

Tania

Radio 1 DJs – “What Are Furries?”

@BBCR1 #furries If you’re gonna talk about a subculture, it might help if your presenters don’t piss themselves laughing at it whilst introducing the clip. *hint* don’t become sociologists… ?

Seriously, though. First of all – who under 40 hasn’t even heard of furries in 2018? I cannot believe two YOUNG AND HIP AND HAPPENING Radio 1 DJs are so fucking out of it that they’re like, “WHAT IS THIS? PEOPLE DRESSING UP AS ANIMALS?”

For fuck’s sake CSI had a furry episode way back in 2003. 

FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS AGO!

I suggest Radio 1 hire people with at least half a fucking clue about contemporary (sub)cultures OR train the current roster of Mike Read-school mundanes to be a bit more broad-minded, eh?

Being this out of touch, this ridiculously unhip is probably one of the reasons Radio 1 is haemorrhaging young listeners at a disastrous rate.

But, leaving that aside – what gives these DJs the right to laugh at another group of people? So they like getting dressed up as animals and having conventions and making like-minded mates? Is that just not 18-pints-of-lager-and-a-shag-outside-a-chip-shop enough for you?

I’m reminded of all the fucks who used to laugh at me for liking comics when I was a kid. Bullying starts with laughter.

Arizona Cops Are Bastards

“The Mesa Police Department in Arizona voluntarily released surveillance video footage showing a group of officers brutally beating an unarmed man.

The video shows several police officers kneeing and punching Robert Johnson.”

(Source: BBC News)

TODAY’S all coppers are bastards.

Funny how the headline leaves out that the victim of this brutal attack was black…

For A Free Scotland!

Yes, run from Tory England as FAST AS YOU CAN, Scotland! And then, when there’s an INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND that is also still part of the EU, watch companies and personnel drain north of the border.

Face it, if you were a bank, where would you rather have an HQ ~ xenophobic, Brexit England or Free Scotland?

If Scotland goes indie, I’m gonna be very tempted to move my studio up there. I want to live in a European country, not Farage’s festering armpit.

Netflixitis

So, I’m currently trying to watch the pilot episode of Legion, a new TV show based on the Marvel character.

But… I’ve already lost interest.

Because, even though this is being shown on Fox, the show has been infected with the new scourge of TV: NETFLIXITIS.

The infection was first spotted in a very benign form in the series Sense8. This charming series, about people scattered around the world sharing a psychic link, had very pacey stories. Every ep, we’d get fights and chases and hot threesomes. But every now and then, there’d be meaningless, pointless shots. These would be mostly slo-mo travelogue stuff: the kind of footage you want to see only when you’re evaluating whether a new DSLR has bad rolling shutter. They didn’t advance the story, they didn’t help flesh out the characters. They did nothing but look vaguely pretty.

In and of themselves, these little langours did little to harm Sense8. They were way offset by the actual meat of the programme.

BUT THE INFECTION SPREAD! IT GREW WILD AND WOOLLY!

Cue The OA, a series deliberately made to be unwatchable, to challenge you with its endless hours of faux-profound shots of… well… nothing much happening. And then there are the openly risible sequences set in heaven / multiverse hub / a hippy’s bedroom with that spooky lady and the floating galaxies and the ‘OH WOW! PATHS TO DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS!’ and… well, you get my point. The final payoff of The OA, that violent vogueing can save the day is really, really, REALLY not worth the hours of my life wasted on this pseudy piffle. It’s the televisual equivalent of taking a children’s book and then simply adding word after word until it’s the length of War And Peace. There is zero added *meaning,* the only similarity is length.

Netflixitis is directors padding out what would make perhaps 90 minutes of riveting TV into a whole season. They have the Netflix dosh, the pitch was a killer and now… and now they have to deliver an actual series. But they haven’t really got enough content for that many eps!? WHAT TO DO?? Easy, just pad every ep with pointless scenes, intercut it with un-related footage of bees or a factory or starlings flocking to make it seem, like, y’know, DEEP and then, hey presto, you’ve got your required number of eps.

The first ep of Legion just finished. I typed all this while I was watching, knowing I could be inattentive because, y’know, FUCK ALL WAS HAPPENING. The entire hour could have been boiled down to fifteen minutes. All the ‘IS THIS REAL?’ ‘IS ANYTHING REAL?’ bullshit was so laboured, so overdone that I am done and over, this series. Gonna cancel the series link, buh bye.

My life is simply not long enough to be wasted by Netflixitis. 

I’m quite willing to put effort in. I actually stayed in the cinema when other people walked out on ‘Tree Of Life.’ I understand that some art takes longer. But The OA is not Derek Jarman’s ‘Blue.’ The padding in these series is not the product of artistic decisions, it’s a product of having time to fill, money to fill it and a heinous lack of editing.

Art thrives on limits. In some alternate universe, Netflix has a vicious in-house executive editor pruning these sprawling, bloated messes into great telly.

In this one… not so much…

Michael Nesmith, Country Rock & (The) Eagles

I just watched the long doc on the Eagles which was fascinating, in the way that all rock docs are.

You have the origin story, some kids sparking off each other, loving the music. Then they get success and become addled by the drugs and the sex and then, inevitably, along comes Mr. Creative Differences. Which, in the Eagles’ case includes hilarious recordings of them about to have a punch up on stage, in the middle of a bloody gig!

I’m glad they had Linda Ronstadt in there and gave her due credit. Too often, female artists get whitewashed out of rock history or relegated to the role of muse. I wonder if the Eagles would even had formed if Frey and Henley hadn’t toured in her band?

What made me a little sad is zero mention of Michael Nesmith. I hate the way that no-one talks about Nez as one of the originators of country rock. Ronstadt covered Nez’ ‘Different Drum’ way back in ‘67, with the Stone Poneys. If the doc could mention Gram Parsons, it really should have mentioned how important Nesmith was on that early scene. ‘Sweetheart Of The Rodeo’ was released in 1968, Nesmith wrote ‘Different Drum’ in 1965! There’s no way Henley and Frey were unaware of Nez’ post-Monkee solo country albums.

Otherwsie, how could you have ‘Midnight Flyer’ which is basically the Eagles ripping-off Nez’ ‘Nevada Fighter’ three years after it was released?

Reminds me of ‘Moi Lolita’ by Alizee and a certain ‘90s one-hit wonder…

White Town, Always

(On seeing this post on diversity in alternative music)

You know, it’s made me ridiculously happy to see my band in this list, thank you!

White Town has *always* been on the outside of the immensely white, middle class indie(pop) scene since I first formed the band in 1989.

The third gig we did (I say we as it was still a guitar band back then), we supported Primal Scream. It was a great gig but my strongest memory is a sneering racist white indie kid asking me if I was there to do the accounts. (This is *after* we’d played.)

Another time, a big act on the Sarah Records label and his cohort of minions spent five minutes laughing at my band name and basically saying that racism was “all in my head” and that I was yet another darkie with a chip on my shoulder.

That’s just a couple of times out of… well, too many to list, really. I’ve left out the actual physical fights with racist Morrissey fans, playing at venues that turned out to be full of Nazi skins… the fact that I recorded a lot of indiepop bands but you never see that in the reverential tomes on Sarah or white histories of indiepop. It goes on and on.

But if you try and talk about this with white indie kids, you get labelled as ‘touchy’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘paranoid.’ All the labels that white people apply to non-whites who won’t stay in their place, who refuse to remain silent. 

Today, indie and indiepop remain overwhelmingly white scenes. The supposed left-wingness of the scene is a superficial lip-service; most of the people I meet are liberals or outright Home Counties Tories. There is the exact same sneering attitude to racism as there was decades ago. If you haven’t got white skin, the same doors remain closed, the gig offers don’t come in and you basically have to put up with shit white artists don’t even know exists, safe in their privilege.

In my frustration at decades of discrimination, I’ve given up on trying to explain all this to white people, even if they’re well-meaning. I haven’t got the time or energy to be a walking google on the history of erasure of non-white people in alternative music. (But start with The Monochrome Set if you want.) Nowadays, I do my best to help young non-white artists in alt bands whether it’s with advice, free recording, production lessons or whatever.

If you’re reading this and you’re a South Asian kid in a shoegaze band or a black kid in a goth band or whatever and you’re feeling isolated and excluded, please drop me a line,  bzangy@gmail.com.

I’ll help if I can! 🙂

Sexing Up The Day Of The Dead

daydead

Mexico City has held its first Day of the Dead parade, complete with floats, giant marionettes and hundreds of dancers and performers.

Mexican tourism officials say the inspiration came from the opening scenes in last year’s James Bond film, Spectre, which was shot in the city.

Bond is seen chasing a villain through crowds watching a parade of people in skeleton outfits.

It is hoped the new parade will attract more tourists to the city.

Mexicans traditionally celebrate the Day of the Dead with a family picnic beside their relatives’ graves or in front of a decorated shrine at home.

But Lourdes Berho, chief executive of the Mexico Tourism Board, said Spectre had created “expectations that we would have something”.

(Source: BBC News)

Sometimes I want to relax and take my sciology head off…. and then shit like this happens.
 
So, Day Of The Dead, which *is* a traditional Mexican festival is now being re-made into a media spectacle (or spectrecle) because of the power of the James Bond brand.
 
The reality didn’t match the spectacle so reality must be changed. Remind me what Baudrillard said about Disneyland again, eh?