Monthly Archives: January 2014

“Autofocus: the self-portrait in contemporary photography” – Susan Bright


Just read this – Susan Bright – “Autofocus: the self portrait in contemporary photography” (Thames & Hudson, London, 2010).  First point to make is that it’s my first ‘borrow’ from the Huddersfield University Library, having joined for £25 pa, as a Public Member.  It’s a good scheme; Huddersfield runs a Photography degree, so reasonably well stocked with relevant books and I can borrow up to five books at a time, for two weeks, with online access to their search facility (from home) and the facility to renew/reserve online, should I wish.

This book is on the extended reading list for Level Three modules, but I specifically looked at it as a possible source of context and ideas for the notion of a major project based along the lines discussed at the end of this earlier post – here.  To some extent, ‘context’ is for Contextual Studies, and the confirmed guidelines are that there must be a clear distinction between the two modules when it comes to Assessment, so any detailed discussion, should it be relevant, will come there.  But I’m sure I can, at least, say that this is a very useful ‘survey’ of the use of the self-portrait by contemporary photographically-based artists, with a little bit of history thrown in for context, and a reasonably broad definition of what constitutes a self-portrait.  She sub-divides the ‘genre’ into five headings – Autobiography; Body; Masquerade; Studio & Album; and Performance – but there is inevitable overlap and flexibility.  It has certainly introduced me to several artists/work that I had not seen before, some using ‘Masquerade’ & ‘Studio & Album’ in interesting ways, such as Aneta Grzeszykowska, Tomoko Sawada‘ and Yasumasa Morimura; as well as some that I already knew of, such as Joan Foncuberta & Gillian Wearing.

Reading this book, and reflecting on my idea for a project stemming from the ‘Newsbook, has fired my imagination in all sorts of directions as to what this project could be.  What if I ‘invent’ a number of alternative, present day persona, directly related to pages from the ‘Newsbook’ and then create a series of contemporary self-portraits of me as those persona?  [Bishop Stanley Dickinson; Stan the farmer worker, who stayed in the village (and who might be deceased!); Stan the radical left-wing activist; Stan the forgotten pop lyricist; and so on!]. What if I then construct, through images or whatever, the back story for those persona?  What if those back stories all take different forms?  A newspaper article about the Bishop; a family album and/or Facebook page about the farm worker; a police file about the activist; a blog about the lost lyricist; and so on …  The possibilities for such a project are considerable, which excites me a lot.

Then back to feet on the ground and what might be achievable!  I think I’m approaching a point where I need to formalise a few ideas ‘on paper’ to share with Clive before moving much further forward.  At the moment, my thinking is best summarised along these lines:

  • I remain committed to the idea that my work will explore the boundaries and potential of digital image-making;
  • Extending the still-life exploration also interests me – with the added possibilities associated with the first bullet point above;
  • There is, I feel sure, good potential in looking at ways of extending the use of found images, collages, studio constructs etc, to respond to ‘events’ – as I began to do in my final Level Two assignment;
  • And now, I can see lots of opportunity to create work that explores photography’s ability to construct narrative and identity – initiated by the Newsbook, but then brought up to date with some form of self-portraiture.

I wonder whether, actually, these points can define my way forward.  I need to share and seek input from my tutor.




One City; One and a Half Days; Eight Exhibitions; Two Women; and a Shortage of Colour

2004 Lycra Channel Young In-Style Awards In Shanghai

Doing eight exhibitions in a day and a half in London is madness, I admit, and not conducive to serious consideration of any of them.  But there was no stand-out show that I had wanted to see in advance – lots that were interesting but nothing that felt ‘must see’ – so I went for quantity over quality (of appreciation, not work).  Reflecting afterwards, these two women, Hannah Höch & Isabella Blow (my wife’s choice for a visit), had the strongest impact on me & I also couldn’t get the physical similarity out of my mind, either, hence the compiled image above. And the shortage of colour?  The men – Ray-Jones & Parr at Media Space; Chris Shaw & Moriyama at Tate Britain; David Lynch, William Burroughs & Andy Warhol at the Photographers’ Gallery – almost without exception (those being a handful of Burroughs’ photos) these were black and white prints – hundreds of them!

Hannah Höch at the Whitechapel Gallery (here) was excellent.  “Well, I can’t exactly see them needing to close Whitechapel High Street because of the stampedes to see this one” is the opening sentence of Alastair Smart’s Review on the Telegraph website!  So attitudes to her work haven’t improved much since 1930s Germany, it seems! (Though, to be fair, his comment is more about the attitude of others than his own.)  Actually, even though the High Street was indeed still open, there were a lot of people viewing the exhibition last Sunday – and rightly so.

It’s the first dedicated UK exhibition of her work – more than 35 years after her death and nearly a hundred years after the creation of some of the earliest works.  Reading other reviews and the exhibition information, one gets the impression that there are what one might call some ‘standard’ views of her and her work – another classic being the comment from one of her fellow Berlin Dadaists that (more or less) she was good at providing beer and sandwiches (as the only female on the team, of course).  I tried, in my rapid scan around this show, to focus on the work and, on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw.  There was some early stuff on show; then a wide selection from the Dada-influenced period in the 20s & 30s; and then a whole room dedicated to her Post Second World War work.  It was the middle group that was strongest for me – deftly cut and assembled collages in subtle muted colours which, clothed in a velvet glove and presented with good humour, poked a forceful finger at pretty much everything around her – art in general; her fellow Dadaists; pompous politicians and business men; and, albeit with some care, the principles of the Nazis (from whom she eventually had to quietly hide away until the previously mentioned post-war period).  I got a strong sense of the subversive anarchist, which appealed, and she still managed to organise the beer and sandwiches!  Good for her!  The more abstract post-war work just seemed more formal, more distant – also more thoughtful, perhaps, but lacking some of the energy and directness of the previous work.  I’m delighted to have seen the show and may yet purchase what looked like an excellent catalogue – for further study and to help inform and inspire as I, potentially, do more collaging and montaging of my own.

Now, on to Somerset House and an exhibition which, I suppose, would not normally fall into the art category, but which made an impression in all sorts of ways – Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore.  No photography was allowed, but somehow this image found its way onto my memory card.

Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House

Blow was, of course, highly influential in the fashion world in the eighties, nineties and noughties, until she took her own life in 2007.  Her influence partly came through writing and editorial roles with Vogue, Tatler, Sunday Times etc, but she is probably best known as the champion of some of Britain’s most successful young designers at the start of their careers – Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, and Julian MacDonald being some of the best known.  Now let me emphasise, the world of fashion has only a passing interest for me, and whatever else I might be about to say about the show, it certainly emphatically re-affirmed notions of superficiality, extreme commercialism, indulgence, fierce pressure and competition, one might even go so far as to say pointlessness!  However, here was another woman with strong convictions, determined to pursue the ’causes’ she supported, and with a ruthless determination to make things happen.  Here also was an opportunity to see, up-close and in-the-flesh, just what all the fuss is about in terms of the clothes.  For example, Philip Treacy’s hats – I don’t suppose an endorsement from me is going to do much to further boost his reputation (!), but to see them in reality is to understand why so many women want wear them.  Genius – a kind of irreverent attitude to the whole spatial and formal notion of what a hat might be!

Also worth a mention is the presentation of the exhibition itself – the use of the space; the steady build up from informative words and pictures on an intimate scale; through the placing of McQueen designs on museum-like pedestals; to the spectacle of the room above; industrial-style plastic hanging dividers and specially constructed staircase; then an insane large-screen presentation of one of McQueen’s Paris shows; then a soft, slow exit to Bryan Ferry’s voice!  It works well – but it also left that feeling of insane pointlessness and waste!  She took her own life; Alexander McQueen took his own life; the huge global commercial fashion circus rolls on, drawing in, chewing up and swallowing, sometimes spitting out, endless talent and creativity.

Then’ it’s just going to be, for now certainly, a passing mention for some other shows seen this week:

‘Making it Up: Photographic Fictions’ at the V&A

Making it Up V&A

It was good to see originals from the likes of Hannah Starkey & Gregory Crewdson; but this type of mixed show, many artists all presented together in a single, relatively small room, doesn’t really inform or inspire.

Media Space (Science Museum) – Tony Ray-Jones & Martin Parr 

A very big show, which we ‘consumed’ rather quickly, late Sunday afternoon, but I’m glad to have seen it.  It’s in, broadly, three parts – Ray-Jones originals; Parr’s Hebden Bridge images, which were directly influenced by and closely followed the Ray-Jones work; then Parr’s selections from other Ray-Jones contact sheets (also on show), digitally printed for this show.  A lot of the work is familiar, from books or previous shows I’ve seen, but it’s a very comprehensive and informative (and amusing) exhibition – all in black and white!  The contact sheets would have been worthy of more detailed study.  It looked, from a quick scan, as though Ray-Jones typically shot four or five images of a particular scene, and that one or two selections from each roll of film was about the norm.

Tate Britain – Chris Shaw (and Daido Moriyama)

We hadn’t planned to see this, but stumbled upon it in the Tate.  The link is here.  It covers three (black and white!) series from British photographer, Chris Shaw, with whom I was not familiar before.  They are displayed alongside 3 or 4 Moriyama’s (black & white – naturally) – he having been a major influence on Shaw’s work.  I enjoyed Shaw’s  ”Weeds of Wallasey” – shot in the post-industrial wastelands of the Wirral, where he grew up.  Look out for ‘The haywain by constable‘!

Photographers Gallery – Three Shows – Lynch, Burroughs & Warhol

Three (black & white!) shows were on at the Photographers’ Gallery – all by ‘non-photographers’,so to speak – David Lynch; William Burroughs; and Andy Warhol.  It was free entry day on Monday and the place was heaving mid-afternoon; and I was suffering exhibition (black & white!) fatigue by this stage.  However, I did take one gem of a notion away from these shows.  Andy Warhol liked to stitch images together.  We’re all familiar with his multi-exposure, colour screen print portraits, or bean cans, or whatever – but here we had photographic prints of, for example, Jerry Hall reclining on a sofa with a glass of champagne, nine of them all developed slightly differently, actually stitched together, with white thread, on a sewing machine by the look of it.  That’s one to think about in doing collage work!

As I said at the start of this post, eight shows in one and a half days doesn’t really work.  However, I’m particularly glad to have seen the Höch show and to have experienced something different with Isabella at Somerset House; now for a lie down.

‘Thinking With’ – My Photography – Progress Report 3

There may be ways of combining different aspects of my interests with an element of personal project.  My final PwDP assignment used a sort of still life/collage/archive mish-mash to respond to an event – a sporting event, ‘The Ashes’.  I have thought about exploring the potential to use what I might call ‘studio constructs’ to respond to real life events – studio documentary?  Might this be possible/important/relevant, with the supposed demise of traditional photo-journalism?

My final People & Place assignment involved portraits of people holding a possession that they had had since childhood, and this image sort of combines elements of all of that.

About Why 10 - Holding the past

The notion of holding something that we/others held in the past; I find that interesting … a physical connection that can unleash all sorts of emotional responses.  There are different references to ‘holding’ in this very personal image … and I have held all the objects in the image in the last few days, when I put them together.  And the traditional idea of a photograph as something to ‘hold’ – that has particular meaning today.  There isn’t a lot of thought gone into the actual assembly and composition here – but there is a notion with scope for further investigation.

Holding a possession from the past links directly to this final group of images.  Between May 2nd 1955 and March 19th 1956, when I was aged 5-6, I kept (like all fellow pupils in my primary school infant class) a News Book.  It was done every Monday and tended to report what had happened over the weekend (often not much!).  My late mother hung on to it and now I still have it – 35 pages, each with a wax crayon drawing and some words in pencil, recording events in my life over that ten month period, getting on for sixty years ago.


I can’t help but feel some odd sensations, all these years later, holding the book in my hands and thinking about that child who made it – the little me (literally – I have pictures to prove it).




The events aren’t particularly impressive in themselves; and my drawing wasn’t up to much; but I can vaguely remember doing it, and even vaguely recall some of the events.  I’ve actually photographed the whole book and turned it into a 3 minute slideshow, as part of my ‘Thinking With’.  It’s here, on YouTube.

This object – document, perhaps – has opened up other thoughts about personal projects.  The module notes identify a genre referred to as ‘Personal Journeys’ and I do intend, perhaps in the next few weeks, to go back to some of the places featured in the News Book and photograph them as they are now; some I will not have seen for year and years.

But then there is a much bigger idea that is developing in my mind – a challenging, genre-hopping project that might just be the basis for a significant Body of Work.  There are no clues in the pages of the News Book that point to the person I have become.  There’s evidence of a good Christian upbringing – long forgotten, in truth, but hopefully helping to for a ‘decent bloke’ – but not a lot more.  So – what if I were to take some of these pages as starting points for the construction of a series of fictional (largely image-based, of course) narratives of different versions of me – alternative ‘Stan Dickinson’s, that never happened?  … and on that bombshell… as Alan Partridge might say!

‘Thinking With’ – My Photography – Progress Report 2

I said that Christmas intervened in my thinking with.  Inevitably, it involved some family fun and some family photos.  There can often be something quite surreal about these Christmas get-togethers.  So some of the photos of the photos have a touch of surreal ambiguity about them.

About Why 15 - Ambiguity

Photographs can certainly tell stories but they can also ask questions!  And trying to answer the questions can raise new ones and make the whole thing even more complicated …  Or is this the ‘decisive moment’?

About Why 16 - Resolving Ambiguity

Which brings me and my ‘Thinking With’ indoors.  Into this ‘stream of consciousness’ approach to image making comes an impromptu self portrait.

About Why 11 - Me

I’m not sure this approach is clarifying anything!  And something photographed ‘to see what it looked like photographed’ (thank you Gary).

About Why 09 - Just to see

Which brings me to the matter of ‘Still Life’.  That artistic genre led me through the latter stages of Level Two and I am well aware that I am not likely to drop it anytime soon.  Time to do some thinking with it.  I like a flat, even, subtle light (see most of the landscapes above); so some experimentation with my ‘studio lights’, designed to achieve the subtlety one might associate with a still life painting.

About Why 12 - Subtlety 1

About Why 13 - Subtlety 2

About Why 14 - Subtlety 3

The differences are subtle – but the top one works best for me – a single 500 watt bulb, turned upwards and away, then diffused with a hand-held diffusing ring.  It could, perhaps, be brightened a little, but I approve of the soft, even feel – some important, subtle judgements in trying to get this sort of thing just right.

The contemporary ‘still-lifers’ that I studied for my Level Two essay – Lucas Blalock, for example – like to experiment with ordinary objects, rather than the traditional still life ‘matter’.  This is some colourful electrical tape, with a cleaning cloth.

About Why 17 - Colour, Texture and Light

And, like all good, thrifty still-lifers, I can combine, re-use, and experiment with familiar, easy-to-hand objects.

Still Life with Electrical Tapes and Cabling 1

But my real interest in digital still life lies in the scope to experiment further and test the boundaries.  I’ve said that one of my objectives in my ‘Body of Work‘ module is to explore and exploit the potential of digital image-making.  I’m interested asking ‘What can we actually do with this process? and ‘What does that look like?’.  The words that occur to me are “disruption and subversion”.  What happens when we blatantly use the power that digital processes give us and disrupt the normal flow, subverting the genre.

Still Life with Electrical Tapes and Cabling 2 (Removed)

Still Life with Disruption 1

Still Life with Disruption 2

What happens when we subvert the very idea of ‘still’ still life.  (cf. – Ori Gersht & Sam Taylor-Wood, who have produced moving still lifes).  This following type of image really interests me.

Still Life with movement

I find it visually attractive, slightly intimidating … it challenges me to try and decide what it is.  I could print it big & beautiful, and hang it on a gallery wall – in which case it would definitely be ‘real’.  But what is it an image of, and why do I find it attractive.  I do feel the need to explore more of this within my Body of Work.  I am, though, as mentioned right at the start of this blog, very wary of getting too far up my own backside with intellectualising.  That still troubles me and I wonder whether I should be looking at a more personal project.

‘Thinking With’ – My Photography – Progress Report 1

Six weeks since my conversation with Clive; about five since my early reflections on ‘Genres’ & ‘Thinking With’ rather than ‘About’; some posts about research on Genres (Thinking About!); Christmas has intervened; but no photographs!  What’s been going on?  Actually, I’ve had those words in my mind, a mantra to which I’ve kept returning; and I have been taking photographs/making images, some of which I’ve shared with fellow students on Flickr. Mostly, from mid-December, I’ve tried to free up my mind & take photographs, just to see whether themes/ideas/concepts/purposes/meanings emerged.  In the last 24 hours, I’ve poured out a stream on consciousness into my notebook, exploring what might be going on.  I’m not going to repeat all thoughts in this blog, but communicating my thinking is going to take three or four posts, of which this is the first.

To start with a photograph – I took this one about a month ago …

About Why 01 - Out of Nowhere “Out of Nowhere”

Out for a walk on my own; had picked up the camera, hoping to do some ‘thinking with’ … letting my mind relax; opening my eyes to see what I see; just photograph what I want … regardless.  I called it “Out of Nowhere” (later, when reflecting) – the wish to photograph it came out of nowhere; the tree is growing out of nowhere; and out of nowhere I was away, taking some pictures.  Why photograph it?  It made me think of an explosion, actually, but I needed to be careful not to start thinking ‘about’.  THINK WITH … take photographs & think afterwards!

About Why 02 - Its complicated “It’s complicated”

It isn’t easy!  Six years of studying and learning to think ‘about’ gets in the way; it almost gets easier to think and not photograph.  What made me take photographs when it didn’t matter?  Seeing abstract shapes, forms colours, patterns, textures in the landscape …  Not being a painter or drawer. photography gave me the means to record and communicate these things.

Sometimes, the strangest connections just happen …

About Why 06 - Why not

Plastic on Wire

There is no connection at all, of course, other than a sort of accidental, formal one, in my own mind; a convenient one that I choose to make.  Like …

Homage to Usain “Homage to Usain”

It’s more than three years now since I completed the OCA Landscape module. My last assignment involved many visits to a particular site, where I had found resonance with Joel Meyerowitz’s photos of the 9/11 site.  It hasn’t changed much in three and a half years …

Revisiting Lanscape II

I took a version of this next image on a Level One module – Introduction to Digital Photography.  It was a more colourful, blue sky and autumnal version, but I think I prefer this one … still surreal, though, in a quite weird way.

Real Surreal

John Stezaker began his collages and film stills series (which I wrote about here) when he had a print of a film still upside down for years.  It had a reflection of a woman’s face in the shiny top of a grand piano.  I wonder what would happen if I turned this one upside down?

Genres – Responding to the archive

Lion Tamer - Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Lion Tamer – Tyne & Wear Museums & Archive – via Flickr Creative Commons

I was looking for something to illustrate my reflections about ‘the archive’ and specifically searched for a photo of an archive.  Nothing came up, but this photograph leapt off the screen at me.  It was, originally, a glass slide, one of a number of fairground images in that format found in a store at the Discovery Museum, Tyne & Wear.  There is absolutely no information about the photographer, the subject, the location, the purpose – nothing.  It is so tempting to begin to speculate, to interpret.  But what right do I have, probably one hundred years after it was taken?  Leave him and his lions (well two of them at least) to stare out at us over the decades; and let whatever is happening off frame, to their right, remain a historical mystery.  This is just one of the billions of images I can access, almost instantly, via the 21st century ‘archive’ that is the internet.  Is there any wonder that so many contemporary artists use that creative potential to seek to create meaning?

Coincidentally, the Tyne & Wear Archive was one of several sources of photographs, prints, paintings, artefacts, recordings and other parephenalia, used by Jeremy Deller in putting together ‘All That is Solid Melts into Air’, which is currently on show at Manchester Art Gallery, and which I saw last week.  To be a little more precise, he sourced from 9 museums; 2 libraries; 2 city archives; 4 art galleries; plus various artists & private collections, as well as creating some of the work himself.  Deller’s working method is very curatorial; and I suppose there might be debate as to whether this was ‘his work’ or just an exhibition that he has curated.  I would go with the former – but I’m not sure it matters.  What he does, with this work, is invite the 21st century viewer to consider and relate to his/her history – specifically to the impact of the Industrial Revolution on British people and culture – by a careful and clever juxtaposition of images, artefacts, sounds and creations, from the very recent past to the late eighteenth century.  It is fair to say that, in the context of this note and this section of my Body of Work module, he is working with and responding to ‘the archive’.

The module notes invite me to look at an article written, in 1986, by Allan Sekula, titled ‘Reading an archive: photography between labour and capital’, which appears in ‘Visual Culture: a reader’, edited by Evans and Hall, Sage Publications, London, 1999.  The article links the photographic archive with power, in the context of economic life (pertinent, therefore, to the Deller exhibition).  In essence, the argument goes along these lines:

  • The archive is ‘property’ and subbordinates original meaning and use to the logic of exchange.
  • Meaning depends on context and the archive, by supplying institutional authority and control, shifts images away from their origins and so may release the user (of the archive) from the responsibility to refer to original meaning and purpose.
  • This maintains a hidden connection between knowledge and power.
  • He also questions the validity of photographs as historical documents (or at least he questions history that is based on photographs) and as artworks.  The former tends towards spectacle and exoticism and the latter towards romanticism (if it favours the authorial perspective) or detachment, irony and even contempt (if it treats the photograph as a found object to be ‘interpreted’ – my ‘Lion Tamer’, for example).

Photography, Sekula concludes, has served as a tool of industrial and bureaucratic power.

Reflecting on this, I note:

  • that it was written nearly 30 years ago, in the context of physical, and largely institutional archiving, as opposed to open and digital archives;
  • that the scale of what might be interpreted as the photographic archive has moved on, as have the means of organising and the scope for searching and selecting images;
  • but the ‘power’ issue is potentially even more important – in the context of online archives, stock photography, sophisticated search engines, and the explosion of web-based vernacular images;
  • plus, the subordination of original use and the scope for new meaning becomes even more significant when ‘ownership’ is a) disputed anyway, with so many ‘orphan images’ circulating the web, and b) even further separated from the originator and any notion of authorial authority.

In ‘The Photographic Image in Digital Culture’, edited by Martin Lister, Routledge London, 2013, Nina Lager Vestberg’s article ‘The Photographic Image in Digital Archives’  confirms that 1980s critical studies of the archive, such as Sekula’s, were concerned with the ‘uses and abuses’ of the archive and approached the idea from a materialistic perspective.  Looking with a more contemporary perspective, she distinguishes between ‘Digitisation’ of images, including those from the old, physical archives, and ‘Computerisation’ of working practics – the latter leading to a changing role for the archivist (interfacing between user and ‘system’ as opposed to user and ‘image) and the ‘invisibility’ of the algorithmic search.  In the context of ‘stock photography’, she also notes the huge increase in staged or modelled images designed purely for stock purposes (Paul Frosh, in the same publication, refers to the ‘wallpaper of consumer culture’); the use of keywords (often highly conceptual in nature) to fuel searches and retrieval of images; and the changes to licencing rights.

Which brings me, directed by the module notes and in the context of keywords, to Taryn Simon’s ‘The Picture Collection’, an exhibition based on selections from the New York Library’s picture archive.  That archive comprises 12,000 folders, with individual titles such as ‘Handshaking, ‘Express Highways’ and ‘Yellow’, to name just three, which contain, in total, 1.2 million physical images, collected together by the library staff, since 1915.  Simon makes her own selection, from a selection of the folders, to create large scale ‘collage-type’ images.  Even without seeing the physical exhibition itself, one is prompted to reflect on the very process of the archive’s compilation over nearly 100 years, and the short video in this link highlights the fascinating juxtaposition of images the archive has produced.  But I am also prompted to relate this work to the concept of ‘Keywords’ in contemporary digital archiving.  The NY Library staff, over the years, have made individual decisions to place each specific, physical image into a specifically named physical folder.  Vestberg quotes just one, relatively insignificant image that she uses to illustrate her article as having well over 100 keywords attached to it – the equivalent of placing it in over 100 of the NY Library folders at the same time, of course.

For me, this is another illustration of the challenge, in critical photographic studies, to keep up with and ‘contain’ (in a critical theoretical sense) the changes brought about by the internet and digital media.  Issues of power, control, politics, economics, meaning and truth, all of which might reasonably be discussed in the context of a photographic archive, become even harder to fully comprehend.  So, one senses, critical theory and study can become more a question of ‘coping’ than of explaining and understanding.  Frosh, in his article in the Lister book above, refers to Getty Images as having an aspiration to become a ‘total archive’.  (He compares Getty to Hobbes’ Leviathan.)  Where, one wonders, does that take Sekula’s questions about ‘power’?

One brief reflection on the ‘Lion Tamer’ – what would he make of these questions?  I allow myself that reflection only to emphasise to myself that I probably have about as much chance of knowing what his life is all about as he has of comprehending mine.  The archive, especially the great archive we call the internet, is a powerful, attractive and tempting source of creative imagery and meaning – but one to be read and interpreted with some caution.