Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Bon Voyage

Two great travel stories caught my eye this week. The first, Prada in Cuba, shot by Arena Homme + magazine, has that really rare quality of merging with the location, not just using it as an exotic backdrop. I love the expressions of the boys' faces, and the clothes look like second hand finds Cubans would actually wear. It doesn't make me want to buy Prada, it makes me want to go travelling.

Next, an India photo journal by photographer duo Sean and Seng, whom I just realized, writing this sentence, shot the Prada in Cuba story (!). So much for coincidences and coherent taste. The two went to India last year to relax from work but couldn't resist taking photos there, "a place where something extraordinary is never further than round a dusty corner, beyond a shadowy street or in the crowded market place..."
Here some of the earthly erotic results. I have never seen a better photo journal of India.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Picture of the Day

From exhibitions to exhibitionism.

Keith Haring, showing all. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Fifty Shades of Gay

The other day I stumbled upon "Matka Joana of Aniołów" (or: Mother Joan of the Angels), a 1960 feature by Jerzy Kawalerowicz. The film recounts the story of a priest who is sent to a convent to purify the soul of Joan, the mother superior, who thinks that the devil has taken possession of her.

The photography is breath-taking, and so is the atmosphere.

With its black and white format and its religious theme, Matka Joana is also more than a little reminiscent of Paweł Pawlikowski's Ida. And which other films can you name where nuns lie face-down on the church floor? Another less obvious parallel is that Ida won the Oscar and Matka Joana the Prix Spécial du Jury at Cannes - are the Poles the world masters of quiet intense films about struggles with faith?

From Ida (2013)

Either way, Matka Joana takes the theme of temptationa and sin much further than Ida. And that is no coincidence, seeing that the film is based on a book by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (1894 - 1980). The famous writer had a wife and children and grandchildren, but he was also one of the most notorious homosexuals in Poland (pre-WWI, in between the wars, and under the communist regime).

Iwaszkiewicz in 1914 - a bit of Gaspard Uliel, non?

A photograph taken by Iwaszkiewicz in 1921 that appeared in an album entitled "Dionysia"
"Memories from the heart, to Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz. Jean Cocteau, Warsaw, October 1960" (just after the film was finished)

As with many other artists, Iwaszkiewicz's life has been much degayed by his biograhphers (the Iwaszkiewicz museum, the villa in which he lived most of his life, doesn't even hint at his sexuality). Thankfully, Krzysztof Tomasik's excellent book "Homobiografie" puts an end to the hypocrisy, and retraces the queer lives of some of Poland's most venerable writers, including Witold Gombrowicz.

But before the book gets translated into English or you learn Polish, check out Mother Joan of the Angels for a peek into Iwaszkiewicz's soul.

On YouTube with Spanish subtitles...

Mother Joan of the Angels, 1960, Full Film

...and in London as part of the Martin Scorsece Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema series. Amen. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

2 Sides, 1 Sweden

When I went to the hairdresser the other month I flipped open the September 2014 copy of Interview Magazine and stumbled upon this treasure. Grown-up, stoic, with a hint of Bergman. Never before had I fantasized about spending the summer in Sweden. But who wouldn't want to chop wood with Daria?

Daria Werbowy shot by Mikael Jansson near Stockholm

And when I started to wonder whether the country up North could only do demure, then came US Vogue. Karlie Kloss in the incredible Tree Hotel - and on the occasional golden meadow - is a summersault-inducing feast of colours and nature which makes you want to be there (and deserves to be shown in blog-unfriendly Original Size). 

See you in summer 2015, Sweden? 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Every Summer

In our age of instant visual gratification it is a rare pleasure to take one's time with photographs. Which is why I love to develop my summer films in the midst of winter.

Things you can find in the desert: a florist...

...and beautiful wheat-like plants looking down on the Azeri border

It was exactly a year ago that I did the same thing with my 2013 Sicily photos, and there is something wonderful about delayed reflections. Little else is as reassuring as seeing the sun that warmed you not so long ago and to remember that it will happen again soon.

Flowers in Tbilisi
Warm wind under the skirts of Kutaisi

This is why we still yearn for photo surprises. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

A Big Day

A magically queer Christmas to everyone! With a drawing by the super Felix D'Eon.