Good As Gold Beyond Awesome

Exactly three weeks ago, Hubbie and I were at Maharishi Store on Great Pulteney Street, sipping beer and chatting to our friends and acquaintances. It was a launch party of a book, Good As Gold Beyond Awesome, and we were invited because Hubbie designed the book,

The weather then was not as hot as the one we are experiencing recently but it was pretty summery and pleasant.

The venue of the party was a well-known boutique and it had a beautiful Japanese warrior’s armour on display.

The place was buzzing with the excited crowds.

While Hubbie was putting the layouts together, I contributed to it by doing most of the typing in the book. Yes, typing, proper typing using a vintage Olivetti typewriter! Unlike word -processing with a modern keypad, typing with an old-fashioned typewriter was a pretty physical experience. It was like mini boxing with my fingers! I had to hit the keyboard hard so the letters would appear crisp and clean. And the noise of it! It was raucous. How anyone coped with those deafening sounds in the offices, especially in a room with multiple typists working, before desktop computers became norm?, I wondered.

The book was a great success.

The images were juxtaposed in such ways, it would stir your imagination.

The man himself, Ed Morris!

He may have looked a bit annoyed but he wasn’t. He was a very intense man. Right?

Bella was a bit taken aback by the amount of the crowds at the party.

I don’t know where to stay..

As she grew more mature, she developed slight shyness. As a puppy, she was very outgoing, almost a bit like manic.

Then, you don’t want to leave the party?

Oh Bay-Bay, can’t you make up your mind? We are leaving because Hubbie has started having a migraine!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

They’ve been framed

This is one of the images of Sonya and Glenn of Echobelly captured by Hubbie last last weekend

The image depicts the magic of Echobelly well. Their music is so deep and sensual. I can hardly wait to visit their gig again!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Sonya & Glenn

Last Saturday, our flat was turned into a temporary photographic studio…

I drove to Hubbie’s office the previous evening so he could bring home all the equipments he would need for the shoot.

So who were his subjects?

Our friend, Glenn and Sonya from Echobelly!

They wanted Hubbie to take their promotional photos. We met through our mutual friends and became good friends. They both are lovely people, very warm, intelligent and caring. And we love their music too.

Hubbie took these images at one of their recent gigs…

Their new album will be released in spring and I can hardly wait!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

William Eggleston 

According to an Italian restaurant chain, Carluccio’s, MOF MOF is the abbreviation for “Minimum Of Fuss, Maximum Of Flavour”, I chirped to Hubbie who was fiddling with his Leica as we waited for our early supper at Carluccio’s by Tate Modern, Bankside. ‘World is full of abbreviations nowadays, isn’t it?’ I tried in my earnest to get his attention but the effort appeared to be futile. Then, a cheerful (& handsome) waiter approached our table with a plate of aranchinos which we ordered as a shared starter. Since Hubbie’s attention seemed to be miles away, I decided to amuse myself with playing with Hipstamatic on my iPhone…

Hmmm… The image reminds me the works by William Eggleston, I mused before sticking my knife and fork into the delectable balls.

William Eggleston is an American photographer and my all time favourite. He is the pioneer of colour photography and the influence of his works still resonates strongly, especially in fashion photography. 

These are some of the images from William Eggleston by Herve Chandes, the director of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain.

In this book, his atmospheric works depict moments of a mundane life in the 70s America. However, it is more than just a sociology study of the Post War USA.

On each print, the hue, which is deliberately over saturated, acts like a trigger-point. The trigger-point to induces an inward journey of its beholder to search for a fragment of personal memory, a strangely vague but definitely “I had been there” kind of dejavu feeling.

I was fortunate enough to visit his retrospective exhibition at Hayward Gallery in 2002. The show exhibited more 200 of his work between the 60s to the 80s. It is a great shame that none of the major galleries in London hasn’t hosted any retrospective show of that scale ever since. I love London but I would rather live in NYC or Paris when it comes to photography…

‘Who has ordered Seabass?’ I was pulled back to the reality by the waitress. ‘Oh it’s me!’

And Hubbie’s risotto…

Then, we wrapped up our supper by sharing meringue with raspberries…

I wish if I were basking in the hazy sunshine of William Eggleston’s 70s California, I ruefully glanced at the grey sky behind the window pane of the restaurant. What has happened to our sprummer!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Photo London 2016

Hubbie had been unwell with a dodgy stomach since Friday. ‘Do you think you will be OK by tomorrow?’ I asked him as I handed him a glass of coconut water. ‘I’ll do my best’, he answered feebly as he rested his head on a pile of pillow and stared at the ceiling morosely. Oh, I feel for you, you are so unlucky…

Hubbie was so pi**ed off with himself because we were supposed to visit PHOTO LONDON the next day and he was not at all ready for it health-wise. The exhibition was designed to showcase the créme de la créme of photography from all over the world, and therefore, the scale of the show was massive – occupying almost all of the Somerset House, Strand. ‘Well, we shall assess the situation tomorrow morning, OK?’ I closed the bedroom door.

Then came next morning, Hubbie was significantly better, hence we set off for the exhibition by cab.

The venue was a lot busier than last Wednesday…

Each room was dedicated to a single gallery and the walls were covered with framed photographes in all sizes and shapes…

There were so many things to take in. The volume of visual stimulation we received by walking in and out of the galleries one after another was overwhelming and even a little mind numbing. In the end, I decided to focus on exhibits which grabbed my attention first and foremost in each room and to dismiss the rest.

Following images were the ones which caught my eye.

Ciels du Seine by Floriane de Lassée…

The images were created by giving the originals a 180 degree rotation. The idea and execution were simple. However, I found the results stunningly beautiful and they reminded me the film, Inception.

Abdulahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria by Pieter Hugo…

Is this a dog?! Then I realised it was a hyena. A beefy black man with his muzzled beast in a very raw urban landscape, the combination created a very powerful image.

Prints with acrylic paint by Chloe Sells…

I just found the artworks irresistible. Again, the technique was simple yet the results were vibrant and otherworldly.

There were also some classics from commercial photography too.

Girls in the Windows by Ormond Gigli…

One of the main attractions of this year’s exhibition was the show by Don McCullin

He is one of the most revered war photographers of our time and his career spans from the start of Cold War to the present. Some of his most iconic images were from the Vietnum War period and this was one of them…

The picture reminded me a book I read sometime ago. It was Band of Brothers by  Stephen E Ambrose.

– Although the men lived in constant danger—a direct hit from the railway gun would destroy whole buildings—they were in a sense spectators of war. Glenn Gray writes that the “secret attractions of war” are “the delight in seeing, the delight in comradeship, the delight in destruction.” He continues, “War as a spectacle, as something to see, ought never to be underestimated.” Gray reminds us that the human eye is lustful; it craves the novel, the unusual, the spectacular.-

What effect does happening to be in the midst of armed conflicts to a normal sane individual, I asked to myself. The image was powerful.

One definite grudge Hubbie and I felt towards PHOTO LONDON was not giving Don McCullin enough space and instead, dedicating too much room to Craig Horsfield…

We were very sorry to be judgemental but we found his works mediocre and wished if his exhibits to be swapped with Mr. McCullin’s.

The staircase of West Wing was a delight to climb up and down…

The staircase was an epitome of the charm which made visiting Somerset House so special. Histric remnants of aristocratic household were everywhere and it made me feel like I was a time-traveller.

The building started its existence as a Tudor palace by the Thames and it was repeatedly redesigned and extended as it changed hands. 

I hope this snapshot I took would depict the colossal scale of the structure…

Networks of the staircases and walkways were there to make the daily machinery of the complex to run smoothly. Don’t you think it resembles M. C.Escher’s artworks?

One more image which I found charming was “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness” by Julian Germain…

Both of us were completely exhausted by the end of the exhibition. It was so much to absorb and digest in one go. We staggered out to the street and hailed the first cab we spotted. ‘To John Lewis, please!’

We had to buy a super-king size fitted sheet but at first, we needed to refuel ourselves…

A burger and chips at Ham Holy Burger. They tasted great after a lengthy trekking at Somerset House…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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