Jasmine Malone

No camera but lots of action

In ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT on October 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Cameras are so last season. No photographer worth their salt uses fancy-shmancy equiptment for images anymore and we couldn’t be more pleased because quite frankly all the professional-level amateur holiday snaps this blogger has been exposed to are absolutely infuriating.

Our age of iPhone/Hipstamatic/digital overload is just plain, old cheating. And sadly, as any struggling professional photographer will tell you, the technologically well-endowed amateurs are fast usurping the actual art that is creating a beautiful image.

To remind us all of where photography actually came from, a new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London focusses on the camera-free purists and their different techniques, including photograms, chemigrams, dye-destruction prints, digital C-prints and luminograms.

Shadow Catchers follows five image artists and documents their teqcniques for creating images like this one by Adam Fuss, who used a technique called daguerreotypes. Do not fret, no sharp daggers are involved in the immortalizing of this butterfly.

Butterfly Daguerreotype by Adam Fuss (2001)

The five documentaries highlight the different camera-less techniques used by each artist. As the title might imply, none use cameras, but all exploit light in combination with different methods or chemicals to manipulate an image onto photosensitive paper. More information and tips on how to perform image miracles can be found on this popular blog.

Floris Neusüss/Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Graphische Sammlung, Germany

A great example is this haunting image created using the gelatin silver process by Floris Neususs. In this picture, the model sits directly onto the paper that is to be developed. The paper is already coated in small silver salt granules made of a gelatin matrix (get us and our techinical speak!). The whole image is exposed to light, and the parts of the paper where the model isn’t in direct contact with light up to make the silver colour. When the artist finally develops the image it has a reverse-negative effect as the model’s outline obstructs the silver reaction to create a shadow.

A lot of trouble, I hear you groan. Yes, but so was the Sistine Chapel. It’s called art.

Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography is on at the V&A 13 October 2010 – 20 February 2011 and you can book tickets here.

Leopard print is so hot right now

In FASHION on October 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

It’s dark when you wake up and it’s cold all the time. Summer is over and, whatever your view of climate change, the next season in England is, of course, winter.

So, while most are battening down the hatches and trying to ignore the very indiscreet build-up to Christmas, us fashion lot can only focus on one thing: winter clothes (see below, although Christmas presents will soon be a close second).

Leopard print is everywhere, thank you ASOS.com

And this year it is, yet again, all about leopard print. Lucky for us, we know a bit more about it now, thanks to the lovely scientists at the Royal Society, who published the ins and outs of our pattern du jour in the Royal Society journal, Proceedings B.

Kate Moss, Vogue '08

Did you know that there is actually a point to all those spots? Those little lovelies are not just for our fashion delectation, non, they are most definitely strategic and, at times, a matter of life or death.

The shape and colour of spots and patterns on the big cats, known as ‘felids’ is a natural camouflage. Not just for decoration, the spots are more like a gift from nature that enables these kitties to better blend in with their surroundings and protect themselves from predators.

The researchers studied the association between the shape and colour of the camouflage patterns in the big cats, such as leopards, and for the first time identified that the different patterns between families are directly related to the environment they inhabit (sort of like Primark leopard print is more prone to some parts of London than say, Louis Vuitton).

Interestingly, this relationship goes the other way round too – changes in environment were found to directly affect pattern shapes and tendencies, often in a short time-frame.

Does this mean that if I take my Primark leopard print coat to Claridges it will morph into a Cavalli? Bah, didn’t think so. Well, it could be worse….

Where do you come from kitty cat?

Love is a drug

In RELATIONSHIPS on October 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Love hurts; this is not news, nor is it rocket science. We all know the misery that is the old amour: rejection, dejection, yearning, suffering, sobbing and sulking, we’ve all been there, but hark! dear readers, there is a point to the whole madness after all.

According to researchers at Standford University (and this lovely news item from the New Scientist), love makes real pain hurt less. Yes, just like the old ‘hair of the dog’ trickery, if you are in love you are more likely to cope with the pain of a chronic disease.

The researchers studied 15 undergraduate students all of whom claimed to be ‘intensely in love’ – lucky them, nothing to do with being an undergraduate, not ever having been a jaded grown-up, held a job, paid taxes… Anyway, I digress. These lovesick puppies were subjected to a series of temperature shocks (ha) whilst completing three different distraction exercises. They were asked to rate the level of pain after each exercise, during which they were able to look at either a picture of their loved one or an acquaintance. Lucky for them, they were allowed a good-looking acquaintance.

The picture of their  love interest was found to reduce pain as much as the clever distraction exercises did, only in a different way. Apparently, the pain relief that comes from being in love takes place in the same part of the brain that processes the euphoria of chocolate and the effects from cocaine and other drugs!

So there you go folks, it seems as if all those addictive emotions all reside in the same part of our brain, or at least, they are processed there. But between cocaine being a life-destroying substance and chocolate making you fat, at least you know that if you are addicted to love it might hurt less in the long run, should you be so unlucky as to also get a painful long-term disease.

Who said there wasn’t a silver lining?!

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