Polaroiding...analog film... these are the only buttons I need.

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Is there bacon…

Love is the devil…

A Francis Bacon sandwich at Tate Liverpool.

This wonderful old fruit is a favourite of mine, not least for his real-life antics (The Colony Room)  but his directness about his work. When asked about his framing Bacon simply stated he ‘used rectangles to cut down scale, to highlight, to focus, to point to the figure’.

“They are intensifiers”

Its for his framing and compositon that I love Bacons work, simular to Schiele the act of focusing on the figure, the line and curve. Its been pointed out my work has some simularities, this is completely accidental, possibly unconscious.

Love is the devil…


Carpet-burn and frog tounge's

Decided to carpet the studios now feels very groovy in here.

Therapeutic carpeting occupied my time whilst I awaited the delivery of a new frog tongue for my camera, my attempt to reduce the effects of killer-crystals.

The carpeting now gives a feeling of being inside an old pub; very kitsch, it also makes these studios more child friendly; a white exhibition floor being far too slippy for little feet, also its lovely and warm underfoot and there's a warm glow.

This retro make comes from choosing a very industrial floor tile, ironically used primarily in pubs! It was cheap too - about 60% cheaper than on the high street.

I'll be back in here in a few weeks to conclude 'Lost in translation'.


A week in the studios concludes: Killer Crystals & Newton rings

With the photo-shoot completed the remainder of this week is given over to archiving the work.

Its a lengthy process so the next 2 days will be consumed doing just this. The only consolation is I have some music at hand...

This world and body...

The type of film I use suffers from a chemical degradation nick-named killer crystals which is one reason I have to digitally scan all my work as soon as possible. I won't know for a few days if the film will survive.

Scanning to protect my prints is firstly a necessity but also it's good practise as eventually l'll need to make enlargements or reproductions.

Edit: after 2 weeks my film has now unfortunately fallen victim to this blight. Its began to yellow (or burn) areas which were very clear are now fogged and tell tale crystals have formed that will eventually eat the print. A flat-bed scanner was a wise investment.

To reiterate none of these prints are edited with after effects, all are analogue and in camera.

Detail of Lost in Translation 1.0

Scanning Polaroid's takes time as newton rings slow the process down. These interference patterns can be removed through editing, however Polaroid's (Impossible film) come with a handy fix that involves using a spent-cartridge as a scanning frame - lifting the print away from the scanning glass.

Polaroid cartridge used as flat-bed scanning frame

Due to the day job I have to postpone for a few weeks the next session of 'Lost in Translation'...after which I'll consider a small exhibition...until then...

Never throw away your old cartridges!


In the studios Wednesday: Lost in translation - sello taping limbs

Today’s session continues the use of sellotape except today I focus on the limbs.

Sellotape is fast becoming my favourite new costume accessory. Much like yesterday the day begins early with some tea and a rummage through some vinyl then its just loading a camera and off we go...

To be played at maximum volume...
The process of binding is becoming a ritual, but essentially I repeat the events of yesterday except today I focus solely on binding my arms, nothing else; and of course it goes something like this:

• setting a timer; running into position; binding; waiting for flash; going back to the camera; apply double exposure quirk; quickly jump back; bind some more; repeat...

There’s some chaos too - I make mistakes, miss my position, fall over etc, but also there’s a lot of exhausting lateral thinking, remembering where my limbs where, are going to be, to enable the double exposure.

And remember I only have 5 shots per cartridge of expired film.

As always there's the urge to keep going, to move onto the next session however I'm aware I need to take stock. To slow down. This is how I've planned to work - one element a day. Each one is its own performance.

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Holton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'


In the studios Tuesday: Lost in Translation - Sellotaping my face 

To coincide with its opening we’re following a week in our new studios. 

I’ve spent some time designing these studios so they complement my practise; essentially a white cube, there’s not much preparation needed to set up each day, except for a tripod or loading a camera, everything is in situ.

I just jump straight in barring a cup of tea and some well-chosen vinyl records.

To be played at maximum volume...

My weapon of choice is the Polaroid Image, which has a quirk that enables perfect double exposures; the only other tools at hand are some sellotape and scissors.

As mentioned previously I'm now applying a new working practice, focusing on the key elements that make up my work..binding, repetition, give these centre stage as I felt they'd become today I'm just sellotaping my face...

The day incorporates then these repeated actions:

  • setting a timer; running into position; binding; waiting for flash; going back to the camera; apply double exposure quirk; quickly jump back; bind some more; repeat…

In between all of this is some serious lateral thinking, making a mental note of where my limbs are / have been / or are going to be; and I'm limited to only 5 prints per cartridge; much of which I've found out is expired.

The Polaroid Image camera lends an element of chaos to every shoot, I have some control but still each shot is unique and I don't really know what I'll get until the prints developed.

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'


A week in the studios - Lost in translation

Today marks the official opening of our new studios and to celebrate, this week we’ll be following the creation of new work ‘Lost in translation’.

'Lost in translation' is the 2nd series of works of 'Just Waves in Space'.

These new studios were built to our specific needs and are now a wonderful hub of productivity, providing a renewed sense of freedom and much needed immediacy, plus some home comforts.

This marks a new chapter for my art-practise following an incredibly long period without access to studios.


Impossible but not improbable

In the midst of preparing for a week in the studios I’ve been unearthing my stocks of Polaroid film and look what’s turned up!

I'd imagined that maybe I only had 2 possibly 3 cartridges; however I seem to have stocked up at some point and I've discovered ten, lurking under a pile of winklepickers and bellbottoms.

Like any northerner I’m tight so I wasn’t looking forward to buying more film so this really is a happy surprise.

Shooting with Polaroid film is always a bit like Russian roulette, its likely much of this film stocks expired; but that needn't mean its unusable.


Studio build: Through a mirror darkly

I've always wanted a circular mirror for these studios; they're great for self-portraits, creating space and they bounce light around but most importantly they're indispensable for posing in front of.

Pontification about this lovely Ikea Stockholm mirror aside, this marks the final element completing our studios / summerhouse / offices.

Documenting this build through this blog has provided justification and an objective during a lengthy construction period. It has been somewhat of a diversion of my talents but these studios have always been integral to my practise, providing much needed immediacy and accessibility, as well as a financial investment; saving me studio fees.

So yeah I am very pleased with how its all turned out, considering the time and budget restraints.

In the next couple of months I'll be beginning new art work returning to 'Just Waves in Space'.


A solitary candle, an inspiration

© Steve Shapiro 1975
© Steve Shapiro 1975
© Steve Shapiro 1975

© Steve Shapiro 1975

© Steve Shapiro 1975
© Steve Shapiro 1975

© Steve Shapiro 1975

Creative Commons Licence
Unless otherwise noted, copyright of all artworks remains with the artist Hilton Vasey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.