In 2015 I embarked on a project at The Bike Station, to create an extension of Dr Bike, attempting to empower the general public and demystify the technicality of bicycle maintenance. Sound familiar? Demystification is something I have been into for a while, though I hadn’t really taken it into the realm of infographics before. The 2015 media was printed as 3 distinct Z-Cards which worked well, but lacked the media push to make them truly public.
This year we decided to revamp the Z-Cards adding a fourth, for symmetry. Professor Chris Oliver, Scotland’s premier hand surgeon and epic ambassador supreme of cycling social media and the link between science, medicine, politics and enjoyment, offered his support in writing material for the 4th pamphlet, in exchange for being able to share the media with his 17.3k Twitter followers. A pretty good deal all round.
Downloadable versions of the printed material are here: drbike1 drbike2 drbike3 drbike4 And on The Bike Station’s website. The printed material will be available from The Bike Station’s 15th birthday (and having recycled over 50 000 bikes), this coming Saturday 22/10/16.
Breaking these into around 40 Twitter friendly infographics has opened the possibility for the media to be expanded gradually, and my next additions will add a series on “family friendly” cycling – trainers vs balance bike, kid’s seats, trailers etc… And addressing different aspects of comfort on the bike, possibly with some tips from Douglas Shaw at Edinburgh Bike Fitting. Saddles, their differences and their comfort. Underlying physical imbalances. Ape-factor (relationship between upper body and lower body length) and how this can often leave you with a bike that is too big… I think there is a lot that can be put into writing and shared with #DrBike which will help people understand things that will help improve their experience of cycling and – in the long run – bring more active business to the industry.
I am having a show. New work loosely inspired by Star Wars, Cameo Cafe (Edinburgh), 6/12/15 to 16/01/16. The show is supported by New55.
I realise that my work is a study in calculated risks.
Following a theme and working to a deadline, shooting half the images outdoors in a particularly melancholy SCOTTISH AUTUMN, and choosing to work with 25 year old film, prototype New55, and WWII cameras and lenses has made this particularly obvious. And yet I always give myself handicaps. This is my way of making my work easier for myself. I am a perfectionist at heart, but find that the only way I can work freely is by working around issues and clawing back at chaos until I am satisfied that something is acceptable.
I love the fact that photography lets me touch upon the abstract with a means that can only mechanically reproduce a concrete reality. This is partly why I work with CHEMICAL rather than digital tools, as there are fewer opportunities to break the path of realism between subject and image. I choose to work with 4×5″ film and BIG BRIGHT LENSES because they are better at describing fiction than current designs, which are almost exclusively sold on the basis of sharpness and resolution. I had ten shots of New55 to produce eight images. I have one shot left.
I’ve been working with myself as my main subject for 20 years. This started due to availability of the model, and I have become interested in exploring my EGO AND INSECURITIES through the interpretation of abstract characters. This—in turn—feeds back as an excuse/motivation/inspiration to continue to produce work.
The long now and close to here… is loosely inspired by StarWars, seeking alien lands and faces within our nearby surroundings, and making FAMILIAR CHARACTERS out of close friends.
I chose to shoot the landscapes on rolls of FP4 220, forgetting they are about 25 years old. The developer I’ve been using for the past few months is a bottle of Rodinal that’s been precipitating its Hydroquinone. I’m working mostly with a Graflex Speed Graphic and a Sinar Zoom back to shoot the 6x12cm landscapes, and I had packed a Kodak Aero Ektar, Zeiss Tessar 165/2.7 and a Dallmeyer 12”/4.5 Telephoto in my backpack.
A compact 35mm camera would have given me all the resolution I need, but the relationship of scale between subject and film makes a big difference to the perspective of an image: my head is about twice the height of a sheet of (4×5”) film, yet around seven times the height of a 35mm negative. Most digital cameras have far smaller sensors than the 35mm format. My old lenses are generally uncoated, which means that they don’t have treatments that limit reflections between the glass elements inside the lens. Modern lens coatings increase fine detail and line-sharpness, which is not particularly useful when I am trying to persuade you that a grassy hill is a desert landscape. There is also the matter of depth of field, and the quality of things which are outside of it and out of focus. This is commonly referred to as bokeh. The Aero Ektar was designed for aerial reconnaissance in WWII, so it was designed to photograph a flat plane focussed at infinity. When I use it for a portrait, its depth of field is so shallow that it is often hard to get a whole face in focus, which means that my painted backdrop and a single houseplant can make a convincing forest on Endor.
You may wonder why I wouldn’t just do it in post. Working with digital image processing may offer many possibilities, but none of them are risks. Manipulating an image leaves little to chance, and little chance of something unexpected happening. You pretty much need to have a clear and literal vision of how something will look before starting. I simply don’t have the time nor the mental clarity to work this way. With too many options and iterations, I struggle to declare something finished.
I haven’t worked with New55 since before the Kickstarter campaign was funded. Though I was intimately involved in the early stages of the research to produce the film, it has been an entirely new experience to just open a box, load film, and have a print and negative in a handful of minutes. This was our goal, and it is magic. I had ten shots of New55 and needed to make eight portraits for the show. I have one left. It reminds me of when I saw Andrzej Zulawski talk about the making of The Third Part of the Night  here at the Cameo, and how he had to write ‘one take’ and ‘faster’ on each hand to make sure he could shoot the film.
I shot the Aberlady XT Class subs with a WWII German lens, though an American camera, onto British film.
This show is supported by New55 (www.new55.net)
and the Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh (@CameoCinema).
A while ago, as in a few years ago, I leant Ainslie a box of pocket watch parts which I had bought from Now and Then. A couple of years ago I gave him a light box. I haven’t seen Poppy in ages.
I love how Ainslie’s work keeps leaning towards showing the process as a fundamental part of the visual.
A few of you may know that I was the Production Designer on the 3rd series of the Ooglies, produced by Ko Lik Films for CBBC. Last night Ooglies won the BAFTA, which is fab, amazing, epic and swiiit!
If you are in the UK then you can watch Ooglies BBC iPlayer.
It’s always exciting to hear the post come through the door, and to find that I am in print, especially when it is such a fine publication as Shots magazine. The image was my homage to Neil Armstrong, shot on an SX-70 and Impossible Project’s Silver Shade (poor pod batch). As ever, Shots is a boost of inspiration, reminding me that I need to shoot more.
I took the portrait a few years ago now, so I can enjoy being a little bit removed from one of my images, and enjoy it serving its purpose.
Langdon has been a family friend since the beginning of time. I am told that his kids have like grown up and stuff, and are even tall and getting married, though I do find this hard to believe, as I’ve not seen them since they were probably about 10. But then again, Langdon has known me since I was probably about 10.
Technically, I don’t remember much about the shoot. Natural light, and shot on a Rolleicord. It is simply catalogued as part of my Portraits of Artists project.
The image is posted as part of this interview HERE.
Last year I had the privilege of being published in a beautiful hardcover compiled by Russell Joslin and published by Candela Books: BLACK FOREST. The volume is one of the most beautiful books I own, and I am in it, along with friends like Ellen Rogers and artists who were among my early heroes like Witkin and Arno Rafael Minkkinen.
2014 was a good year for my bibliography. The first book to hit a shelf in Italy was Il Corpo Solitario: l’Autoscatto nella Fotografia Contemporanea (The Solitary Body: Self-portraiture in Contemporary Photography) written by Giorgio Bonomi, published by Rubbettino Editore. Here I’m represented as FeltusFeltus, and on the same page as Pierre et Gilles.
“Another couple of artists who work as four hands are the FeltusFeltus brothers. More than together they appear alone, alternating their roles behind and in front of the camera. They enjoy creating environments of a historical nature, as though taken from cult-films, and always with a refined and classic elegance.”
So my site was clever, as I developed it to look like a complicated flash site, but be fast and compatible with non-flash browsing. Nowadays, however, it tends to fall apart as mobile browsers don’t support a lot of the depreciated tags which I used liberally to construct and nest my slices and change content in iframes.
Have a look HERE.
In 2014 I worked with Kolik Films Two Ltd as the Production Designer on the new series of the Ooglies for the CBBC. This was the first time that I’d worked on such a large department, and it was quite a privilege to be in a directorial position as a head of department – something I am only used to when I have no one below me. My team was fantastic, and the series is an epic piece of children’s splatter-horror of the vegetable kind.
So, in mid March CBBC broadcast all 20 episodes of our Ooglies and – yes – it is amazing! Yes, I am saying that silly kid’s TV is amazing, but on the whole, it is. Non-verbal splatter-slapstick. How much better can you get?
Some of the specific things which I built are the takeaway box in the background of this image, the Toast Soldiers’ helicopter, Fish Finger’s butter-boat, Slippy Nana’s unicycle, Dr Whobarb’s cheese-grater Daleks… And the last thing I made was Parsnip’s hair-straightener crocodile. As the head of department I didn’t get much of a chance to make things, as most of my day was spent overseeing the logistical structure of how the series was going to be shot. We had around 6 animators working at all times in blackout ‘tents’, and building a staging system that everyone was happy with did take some fiddling.
Well, its not really a new site, but it kind of is. It was suffering from a state of eternal neglect, mainly because I find any aspect of html maintenance a bit tedious, and I couldn’t be bothered trying to make my method iOS compatible. Also, I am not trying to portray my time in a falsely focussed manner: I have always had many focuses, and I think that its time (just before I turn 36) that I allow my site to represent me in a more uncensored manner.
I am not a this, and I never want to be one of them.
April was an interesting month indeed. The New55 Film project ran a Kickstarter campaign, and we got funded!
Last summer, Ainslie, Will and I embarked on a rather ambitious film, Monkey Love Experiments. I built the sets as well as acting a leading role. The film mixes stop-motion animation and live-action to a very delicate and real degree.
Monkey Love Experiments won the Scottish BAFTA for best short animation in 2014, and was nominated for the BAFTA 2015.
March and april were taken up partly by the making of a new music video. Ainslie asked if I could build sets and props to build a coherent world made of yarn. At this point the video has been viewed somewhere near 400000 times, in three weeks.
Surely the best way to launch a new music video is, indeed, to have it on the Rolling Stone magazine’s site, complete with a review and praise.
You can read the article HERE, and read my English translation:
Intimate and minimalist, the video has something cyclical about it, which gives the impression of repetition of the same images played in a loop. And yet something de-rails, something unexpected happens, but you’ll only discover it by paying close attention: and thus Here We Are is the video for the single which marks the return of Gioele Valenti as Herself.
The mini-film created by Scottish [talent] Tobias Feltus serves well in understanding and appreciating the music of the Palermo-based solo artist, who seems to ride on well-trodden folk paths, enriched and occasionally interrupted by exciting canterburian echoes or gothic elements. This fourth album, simply titled Herself, sees collaborations with Amaury Cambuzat of Ulan Bator, Marco Campitelli from The Marigold and Aldo Ammirata.
As for the filmmaker behind the video Rolling Stone is premiering, Feltus is also a photographer and designer, known for his work with bands like Aereogramme and Lord Cut Glass under Chemikal Underground Records (the label of the ex-Delgados who have Mogwai and Arab Strap in their roster, and who launched Interpol). Aside from numerous exhibitions of photography in the UK and Europe, his resume also boasts the production of Solo Duets (2005), which was nominated for the Nastri d’Argento, won Best Animation at the Krakow Film Festival, and won Best Short Film at the Festival Du Cinema Italien at the Espace Pierre Cardin in Paris.
The video can also be watched on the Rolling Stone webpage.