Duane Hopkins was in town for the London Film Festival. we went for a long walk before the screening of his film BYPASS and he sat for me afterwards. the second image is my favourite still which i took of George MacKay on set of FOR THOSE IN PERIL (dir Paul Wright, a Warp film). George worked with Duane on Bypass, and he is phenomenal in it. but then George always delivers most convincing performances.
Duane’s BETTER THINGS is so good i have no words. you must watch it. sure i’m biased: it’s shot up north (see films i most often work on, i’m a sucker for anything northern and i won’t hide it) and i also worked with Lol Crawley this year (on 45 YEARS and the Arcade Fire film for Pulse Films) - i love the way he sees the world around him, the genius simplicity of his shots, with most beautiful, tender light (here's a great masterclass with Lol where he explains how he works). and besides being biased i genuinely think Better Things is one the most beautiful films, so definitely make sure you've watched it.
(also, SUNDAY which is Duane’s photography/art project can’t be missed, so look it up.)
• 20 October 2014
two films which i worked on had been on TV in the past week on Film4: For Those in Peril and The Selfish Giant.
Clio Barnard’s beautiful film was on Film4 for the first time yesterday and they have released quite a lot of images of mine on Pinterest to celebrate. for those of you with Pinterest accounts, here is the link: http://www.pinterest.com/Film4/the-selfish-giant/
eve more stills are on my film website here: http://film.agathaa.com/the-selfish-giant
• 15 October 2014
the opening night with my work with Uncertain States at the Brighton Photo Biennial at the Circus Street Market was wonderful. above a picture Gerry Brakus took of the exhibition space (before everyone arrived), and our Uncertain States stand in its full glory. the venue reminded me of Les Rencontres d’Arles, which i love and have very fond memories of.
Photoworks Annual this year focuses on ideas of collaboration and photography, it’s an impressive thick issue (21st) - make sure you get it. on page 71 there is a great interview with Uncertain States, and you might recognize my picture printed there too.
here’s a beautiful quote which i must share from our interview:
'Working alone had been isolating, and it was particularly difficult to maintain stamina and a good sense of one's own artistic practice. But it is not always easy working together, as it challenges your own sense of how things should be done and forces you to accept other people's viewpoints and perspectives. This balance between opening yourself to something new and different and not losing your own position is a demanding and interesting challenge.
When you collaborate, you are taken out of a place of safety and encouraged to see things in a new way. Collaboration relies on openness and knowledge-sharing but, most importantly, it requires trust: trust between us and trust in the creative process that is clearly always in a slightly uncertain state.’
The exhibition runs until November 2nd (my post below has all the info).
P.S. Thank you Fiona, Mary, David and Spencer, and thank you Photoworks!
• 4 October 2014
The Brighton Photo Biennial starts this week. i’ll be showing some work with the Uncertain States collective.
here is more info about the show. FIVE CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTIVES is an exploration of collaborative working methods, with five very different contemporary photography collectives: ABC, Burn My Eye, Ruido Photo, Sputnik Photos and Uncertain States.
the show runs from October 4th until November 2nd.
the private view is on Friday, October 3rd. previews and trail start early evening from 5.30pm until 9pm throughout central Brighton venues.
see you there!
• 28 September 2014
it’s been pointed out to me several times lately what a shame it is that as a photographer i don’t share my pictures on instagram. and i think i finally got it. it’s the biggest photo based social media platform so why wouldn’t i share some of my photographs on there too? especially that quite a few pictures just sit quietly in folders and haven’t been shared yet. so here it is, my instagram account:
please follow and share and love and comment. i’ll just use it as a free-associative photographic stream of my work.
• 25 September 2014
i’m giving another talk this month, but this time i’ll be talking about my film work - shooting film (35mm) on film sets.
it’ll be at BIRDIE - a one-day photography conference in shoreditch, london. next saturday - september 13th.
the programme is very exciting, have a look?
i also have a discount code for you! if you use the code AANitecka, you’ll get £24 off the overall price.
for tickets click here. come! come! come!
• 7 September 2014
as promised here are some slides and references from my Textures of Light TALK for Uncertain States:
thank you for dropping by last night!!
• 4 September 2014
meet me tomorrow, 7.15PM for my talk
TEXTURES OF LIGHT
tenderness & photography and everything else that follows
• 1 September 2014
i love the Uncertain States collective and have been involved in a few things lately (see the posts below: exhibition & newsprint). now there’s even more to get excited about.
on Tuesday, September 2nd, i’m giving a free-associative talk about my work. i will most likely end up talking about tenderness and love, and feeling (seeing and touching), but it won’t be too intense i promise. just look at the invite…jokes.
join me at Ziferblat, 388 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT at 7.15PM.
admission is free. here’s something to get you in the mood:
'The photograph must be silent (there are blustering photographs, and I don't like them) : this is not a question of discretion, but of music. Absolute subjectivity is achieved only in a state, an effort, of silence (shutting your eyes is to make the image speak in silence). The photograph touches me if I withdraw it from the usual blah-blah: “Technique,” “Reality,” “Reportage,” “Art,” etc.: to say nothing, to shut my eyes, to allow the detail to rise of its own accord into affective consciousness.’ [Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida]
see you there!
• 22 August 2014
i’d like to hear your thoughts!
this has just happened. my portrait of Ian McKellen is on today’s cover of The Times! i couldn’t be happier.
there is no credit to be seen though. the picture got printed twice - on the cover and page 17. what are your thoughts on that? how do other photographers feel about not being credited? it hurts me a little i must say, at the same time though i understand that it is all about Ian and the film. what do you think?!
send me your comments on twitter / facebook or email.
• 11 July 2014
this beautiful image is a portrait i took of Ian McKellen playing the 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes.
it’s the first image to be released for the motion picture ‘Mr Holmes' directed by Bill Condon, a film adaptation of 'A Slight Trick of the Mind' novel by Mitch Cullin.
i shot this portrait on 35mm film, as always. i guess i felt especially at home during the shoot since we worked in my old school building - CSM Holborn - which i have always loved the most. so great it is still being used in a creative way, i’d hate to see it turn into some bland luxury apartments (CSM has a new home at King’s Cross).
there was a magical moment by the end of the shoot which i’ll never forget. Sir Ian McKellen - thank you!
• 9 July 2014
i have an exhibition - private view in east london this thursday (june 26th), come along! you’ll be able to get a new newsprint too - created especially for this show.
Four Corners / 121 Roman Road / London E2 OQN / T. 020 8981 6111 / E. firstname.lastname@example.org / W. www.fourcornersfilm.co.uk
Private view: 6.30-8.30pm, Thursday 26 June 2014
Gallery opening times: 10.00-6.00pm, Monday-Saturday, or by appointment.
The exhibition runs from 27 June-25 July 2014
• 24 June 2014
last weekend (june 6th) i filmed the ARCADE FIRE
gig at Earl’s Court
for a project produced by Pulse Films
. it was quite a special night - 20 000 people came and this might have been the last concert to take place at Earl’s Court ever
. i shot on the Red Epic for the first time. i was amazed how very intuitive this camera was, especially since i come from the analogue still photography background. i’d highly recommend the Epic to anyone making a shift from still photography to moving image.
i was one of the 10 camera operators/DoPs on the night. the director wanted me to capture details and little beautiful moments in my usual way, as if i was taking stills. this was the most perfect brief. i was the free floating camera and a new technical term got coined for my role - ‘Agatha Cam’ - which came about very naturally and everyone ended up using it. DITs however called me the ‘Roaming Red’ which i thought was genius! i hope i’ll get to film on the Epic in that role again soon, i can’t remember being that excited in a long time.
now, the beauty of that evening lay for me in the relationship i had with my camera assistant, Marcus Reposar (LA based). i have never worked with an assistant before, i regularly get a lot of lovely emails from many talented young photographers, but when i shoot stills i really want to be as invisible as possible, and as low key as possible. i keep things very simple too and so far there was no need to be assisted really. while working with the moving image one definitely needs an assistant though. and i’m so glad that’s the case. it’s such a beautiful relationship, i can’t believe i was missing out on it altogether! ACs are definitely not getting enough credit. while squeezing through friday’s 20 000 mad crowd to film some interesting faces and holding on to Marcus shoulder i felt so safe and cared for nothing seemed to be a challenge. it’s really amazing how much assistants do for you. from the technical aspects, which they look after, to standing right behind you so that you don’t trip, or get hit by a crane, or slip on a thick layer of confetti. it’s amazing to have an extra pair of eyes and hands, and if you get along with the person who you work with, you develop this amazing creative connection too - it’s so beautiful and touching really. i loved the whole experience, but it’s Marcus who has made it this extra special for me. i’d love to give him the credit for all the beauty we’ve managed to capture on the night. here’s to camera assistants without whom nothing would be possible. thank you Marcus for being there for me, you’ll be missed!
more to follow.
• 11 June 2014
on my way to russia or ukraine i always stop in warsaw. whenever i take trains east i feel relieved when i arrive in berlin, that’s where the actual journey starts for me. i’m not a fan of efficient fast trains because i travel for the sake of it, i don’t want to get to the destination as soon as possible - berlin is where the journey gets slower. next stop is poland and warsaw has this wonderful main station where all my favourite slow night trains leave from. take your pick - prague, budapest, vilnius, minsk, kiev, lviv. and then further on to the real, raw and emotional places - st petersburg, moscow, odessa.
on my last trip a few months ago i’ve been introduced to Andrzej Georgiew (such a beautiful surname! of bulgarian descent). he lives and works in warsaw. what an incredible person. he’s known for his stunning b&w large format portraits which are then turned into theatre posters and book covers. from what i understand he works for the national theatre a lot, and photographs actors and directors, he’s had a few big exhibitions too.
Andrzej asked me to sit for him. i have never been photographed with a large format camera. it was such a beautiful experience. i don’t like standing in front of the camera, i feel lost and too exposed (that’s why i try to work gently and quietly with others). however, i loved sitting for Andrzej, with him it’s a magical process. i’m sure it’s mostly because of his personality and the way he works. he whispers to you and only talks in half sentences when he shoots. he almost ‘flies’ around his camera, like a butterfly. he does the most extraordinary things with his hands, you read all the gestures intuitively. i took two sneaky photos with my blackberry of him at work (the two above). i loved watching him work. it was like the most beautiful spectacle which only his sitters are allowed to experience.
no one can tell me now that what the photographer shoots with doesn’t make any difference for their subject. it makes all the difference! here’s my case again about shooting on film. it feels different! not just to the photographer but also to the photographed! the concentration is different, the connection created is so strong and unique, the whole process is different, the sound the camera makes is different. i could sit in front of Andzrej’s large format camera forever. looking into an empty lens for quite a long while made me feel very empty and suspended but in a beautiful way, i haven’t known a feeling like this before. for this, and the whole experience, i’m very grateful. thank you A!
• 26 May 2014
here’s another print i got this month. i worked with Lol Crawley, who shot films which i wish i had known about early enough to get to work on them too. wrong place, wrong time. i guess it happens sometimes. twice to be precise.
Lol shot HERE in Armenia where i’ve always wanted to go. i’ve heard of the film a year ago and i finally managed to borrow a dvd from him. he told me about a film roll from 6 years ago, which he had just processed. some of the photographs were taken in Armenia, the rest back in the UK. the prints looked amazing - not developing your film for 6 years takes shooting on 35mm to a whole new level. i think we should all have a few rolls of film which are kept in a drawer for a couple of years, half forgotten. i got very excited about the picture above and got to keep it. a deflated red air balloon on a wet green grass strikes me as quite an emotional image, i love it.
anyway, if you can get hold of HERE, watch it. especially if you are a romantic and love roadtrips (this film basically explains why i spend days on slow trains to remote locations). the poster is stunning. hats off to the person who took that photo:
the second film i wish i had been around to shoot the stills on is BALLAST (Winner of Best Film and Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival 2008 - Lol’s first feature film, some people!). if story wise you think it’s not up your street that’s still fine, just watch the first scene, SO beautiful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l15-HBmcOwo for any photography enthusiasts this film is a must, the light work is incredible.
and this also happens to be the best film poster of all time:
• 25 May 2014