Thursday, February 26, 2015

Photographer Series #15: flynshotkatemoss

Photographer? Collage Maker? Artist? Flyn Vibert is all of these yet isn’t interested in any one label. “My practice takes me so far that I really don’t know any more (or even care) whether I’m an artist or a photographer. I’ve been pushing for a long time now. … I don’t think it’s enough to just take photos anymore. I take from anywhere, I don’t have set ideas, there is no formula. I find influence in everything. Every image is different.
An image from Flyn's series Fragments
Flyn, who has both an MA in fashion photography and a BA in photography, works towards what he has referred to as "poorer photography". This means "no Photoshop, no retouching, no darkroom or digital manipulation, just photography" to create his images, which look more like works of multimedia art.
He has described the use of his techniques as adding a level or performance to what is traditionally a very static art. This performance aspect allows him to pour everything into his work - anger, passion, hate, love - in order to push the image further.

ishotkatemoss (iskm): How do you approach your creative process?
Flyn Vibert (FV): My whole approach is physical. I appropriate, I manipulate and juxtapose, I re-light and then I re-photograph. I’ll use whatever methods I can to push my own limits … The story writes itself. I never follow a script yet I work with narrative and I am fascinated by fairytale. Ancient and magical, macabre and melancholy, illusion and hallucination, contradiction and combination, fantasy and reality. There are no rules. Anything is possible.

iskm: Why do you feel that fairytale concepts, the magical, macabre and melancholy seep into your work?
FV: I think we're all inherently drawn to fairytale at some level. As children we're told stories of giants, evil witches, living scarecrows, talking tigers, magic beans, and so on. What's fascinating to me is that these classic tales were wonderfully dark and twisted: from the evil queen in Snow White who orders huntsman to kill an innocent girl, the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood who swallows her grandma whole, and the cannibal witch in Hansel and Gretel who wants to devour children. Brothers Grimm have a lot to answer for. More recently I began reading a book called "Heroes and Villains", by feminist author Angela Carter, which opened my eyes to the possibility of surrounding my imagery with a sense of narrative. Both dark and unsettling, yet also highly seductive.

iskm: Your images constantly have faces/people as their source. Why manipulate the face?
FV: I've always been drawn to people. Every human, every face is a new story.

iskm: How/why do you select the source images in your work?
FV: I've always believed in following my gut. It's what much of my work is about. I want to see where the subconscious takes us. I am a serial collector. I have cuttings going back years. I find it painful to throw anything away. When it comes to selecting the images, it's about being in the moment. I could choose this image or that one, but in the end it's about making a decision and seeing where it takes you. Every image is a different journey.
"I’ve shot with Kate Moss, Courtney Love, Iggy Pop, Grimes, Karen O, Sid Vicious, Cara Delevingne, and Bjork ... They just don’t know it yet." Flyn Vibert
iskm: What interests you about kate?
FV: She's a fascinating creature. We've all followed her for so long that she has become a part of our lives. We read about her in magazines, we blog about her, instagram pictures of her, and celebrate her birthday like an old friend. She has lived her life in the public consciousness. From Corinne Day's portraits of a sweet, young innocent council estate kid to her status as a supermodel and the face of fashion, her drug-addled relationship with Pete Doherty to her re-birth into motherhood. Her image endures - her life is now (almost) seen as a fairytale.
iskm: How and why do you select the source images for the kate moss work? 
FV: I have a collection of Kate Moss images. Some taken from magazines and newspapers, others off the web. It's not hard to find images of her. There was no specific reason behind the ones I chose, not consciously anyway. In a way, every image of her is the same at it's root. Her image is now so omnipresent that it is almost impossible to escape that familiarity.
iskm: What did you do to your chosen kate moss images and why? 
FV: Every image is different and the process for each varies. Lighting is the only constant. I'll use anything to 'enhance' my images... stale red wine, cigarette ash, dead flower petals, paints and oil pastels, felt tip pens, nail polish, chemical fluids, diesel oil, even fire. The one thing I don't use is digital manipulation. I prefer the physicality and want to touch my images. To feel the inks running through my fingertips, to watch the surface crackle as I scratch away at it. It's a beautiful, expressive, transient experience for me to shoot. I want people to feel my images are touchable.

iskm: But the final piece of art that you create is a photograph of the collage?
FV: It is always a photograph of what I have made. There is an essence of the decisive moment in this, as many of the things I create 'die' after a certain time. So I don't actually align myself with collage, even though my images do sometimes have a lot in common with collage!
iskm: Which photographer/s would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss?
FV: I'd love to see what Jean-Luc Godard would do if ever given the chance. I can't even imagine what he thinks of Kate Moss, but his response would be fascinating. He once shot a fashion film for the Marithé François Girbaud label in the 80's. You can find it on youtube if you dare. Fashion through the eye of a new-wave filmmaker. It's either terrible or wonderful. I can't decide. David Lynch would be another. He's a very important influence for me, even if it is never obvious in the work itself. I wonder how he would cast Kate Moss in one of his films.

iskm: Thanks so much Flyn.
FV: I've very much enjoyed the whole process of us talking. Just one last thing, tell Kate to drop me a line if she ever wants a portrait taken!

A deep dark, scary portrait of fairytale kate … that we would love to see. In the meantime, don’t let your kids fall asleep to the fashion mags. Instead show them Flyn’s work, more of which you can be viewed at, so that they too can:
Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The censorship of deviants

Following on the heels of our instagram censorship experience, comes an interesting tale found via some work of note on DeviantArt (DA).

DA is a web site that believes that they “are where art starts”. They state: “We are the movement for the liberation of creative expression. We believe that art is for everyone, and we're creating the cultural context for how it is created, discovered, and shared.” The site, which was founded in August 2000, states that at its essence, its core and what is most important is that they “Bleed and Breed Art”. Their site, appears to be a genuine place of creativity, experience, community and sharing. The art is mixed and divergent, both in style and quality. “Our world is a prolific orgy of originality where creatives enjoy freedom of artistic expression.
Kate by Miguel Enguidanos, deviant artist

The site claims to be “the largest online social network for artists”. With apparently “over 32 million registered members” and attracting “over 65 million unique visitors per month” it seems to be a site of some relevance in the context of the ongoing dialogue and distribution of new work online.

The members - known as “deviants” - upload “over 160,000 original art works every day” … “everything from painting and sculpture to digital art, pixel art, films, and anime”.

ishotkatemoss explored the site and agreed that it had validity in assisting many ‘creatives’, yet we were not attracted to a great deal of work. Some dialogue ensued with a few artists who were utilizing kate’s visage in the creation of work that commented on their experience and/or society, rather than just fan art – of which there was copious amounts, most of which appeared to simply copy imagery in the public space.
One of many fan art examples on the site: A drawing of the lovely model by '7-Year-Bytch' and the original photograph
The highlight was coming across the work of the artist ‘lowerrider’ which included one or two with kate that we found hilarious and worth highlighting. There is not a great deal of information as to why he chooses to manipulate regular day-to-day images by re-proportioning one or more woman in an image, resulting in starting results.
lowerrider's Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss
Our attempts to interview, also have not been successful ... yet, in what he has written about his work, he approaches his commentary with a droll sense of humor. Unfortunately however, not everyone has been so amused by lowerrider’s efforts, as documented in his “Devious Journal entries”, a sample of which are copied here:

by lowerrider, Apr 5, 2013, 2:25:37 PM
Well its been a little over a year since I came over to DA...and so far its been great. Its nice to see some of the same people here from other communities and OTHER picture sites...I still don't understand why my site was shut down over there,( many similar ones are still thriving)...maybe some un-named celebrity was upset ?? Oh well   I guess I'll never know.  Thanks to all that have viewed my stuff...special thanks to all that have favorited my work and extra-special thanks to those members who take the time to write a comment.... positive...constructive....or preferences (negs will be hidden and most likely members blocked). I doubt I can keep up the pace I have been on...but who long as there are good source pics      thanks

by lowerrider, Oct 20, 2013, 2:01:06 PM
More of lowerrider's work
... In light of what happened to fellow collager Fred27104...If you like my deviations don't just favorite them..DOWNLOAD them NOW ! If I dissapear or get closed down I will be at GiantessCity....and may release my stuff to Giantessbooruu

by lowerrider, Dec 20, 2013, 3:29:02 AM
Now it looks like they got megalover93...
… it is just a matter of time...

by lowerrider, Feb 7, 2014, 5:23:09 AM
Now don't be alarmed if some of my pics are 'in storage'... I believe it was the right thing to do...
if you don't see whats gone...than it really doesn't matter anyway...right ?

I will keep on doing what I'm doing...sadly they were some worthy collages... oh well...

by lowerrider, Sep 11, 2014, 6:30:46 PM
OK guys looks like the END may be coming....Download the pictures that you like, don't just save them...... I just got a few of these messages from DA
I had a feeling something bad would happen on Sept 11th....hmmmm
We have moved 2 of your deviations from "Digital Art > Photomanipulation > Fantasy" to " Scraps".
The administrator also said the following:
Following review, your deviation is being placed in your Scrapbook because it was created using material that is not a valid stock image or other resource ...
Our copyright policy, in brief, states that your submissions may only contain materials or images which were created entirely through your own effort, authorized stock or resources and materials or images for which you have obtained permission for use in the submission.
This means that content such as screenshots, celebrity photographs, video game sprites, and other similar materials are not typically considered to be valid resources for use in submissions to your deviantART gallery unless you have obtained written permission from the copyright holder.
Failure to obtain proper permission for the use of materials protected under copyright can leave your deviantART submission vulnerable to being removed by our staff following a valid claim of infringement against it.

And some interesting replies to this post:
Balore84 Sep 12, 2014
"This means that content such as screenshots, celebrity photographs, video game sprites, and other similar materials are not typically considered to be valid resources for use in submissions to your deviantART gallery unless you have obtained written permission from the copyright holder."
… Srsly tho, this is ridiculous. Like fucking hell I'm asking permission to use a public celebrity photo.
apollocreed23 Sep 12, 2014  
celebrity's images on the web are public, they can't remove them... in that case deviantart could be closed completely

All of this got us thinking, yet again, about the contradictions in 'art', business (which, ultimately - given all of the pop up ads - is what DeviantArt, Instagram, Facebook etc), photography, image use, copyright laws and, of course, freedom of speech.

Remember the statement from DA: Our world is a prolific orgy of originality where creatives enjoy freedom of artistic expression? Really? Feels like censorship to iskm. 

What is appropriate? Appropriated ...
Observe. Slow Down. Resize. Shoot. Submit.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Censorship and racks

An interesting lesson today ...

As ishotkatemoss continues our daily instagram image posts we are constantly challenged by the need to crop images square, figure out how to reach new people, identify like-minded artistic minds and continue the conversation behind enemy lines. 

In other words, we struggle with the apparent contradiction of asking people to view images in a slower and more considered approach by posting photographs on the largest image distributor, owned by Facebook, and utilized by the vast majority in a split second. Furthermore, we are now partaking in the affirmation complex of simply pressing 'like' ...

For all of the struggle however, we continue to find new collaborators for our work, and allow people who otherwise would not have learned of ishotkatemoss, the opportunity to see the collage and this blog.

So it was with great consternation and finally humor that after posting the following image and text on instagram today, we found that the post had been publicly banned:

In the lead up to Valentine's Day and the anniversary of the remarkable submission from Keren Moscovitch, we are revisiting some ishotkatemoss observed playboy pics. Let's start with magazine racks from "A rolling photographer gathers moss" #ishotkatemoss #katemoss #valentines #romantic #playboy #bunny #magazine #rack #observe #slowdown #shoot #submit

Why? Well after a great deal of experimentation (honestly, we felt like Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game), it turns out that if you use the hashtag "#rack" your post is flagged for no public distribution ...

Now anyone who has been on instagram I am sure has seen plenty of breasts, including kates! But from our minimal, non-scientific research we have found that the terms "breast", "breasts", "boob" and "knockers" are also banned, in addition to "rack" (however, just for your reference, you can legally use "bust", "chest, "bosom", "funbags", "mammary", "mammaryglands" and "bazooms"). There seems to be a reasonable amount of research on-line about this, we only looked it up for the interesting articles, we promise.
So ultimately, all we want to know from Playboy, Instagram and all who censor us is "Where will we put our magazines?"

Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Lipstick graffiti - An image snapped at the Staten Island Mall by austin_nyc and posted to instagram:

We love the smell of lipstick in the morning! 

Observe. Slow down. Shoot. Submit.