Wednesday 22 October 2014

Reflected Glory

Meet art handlers Matt, Neil and Danny from the National Portrait Gallery, they're installing the portrait of Grayson Perry, Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern' acquired for the permanent collection.

It is the only photograph in Room 32 Contemporary Portraits, otherwise entirely devoted to paintings by Lucian Freud, Andy Warhol, Howard Hodgkin, R.B.Kitaj and many more.

Grayson Perry installation, National Portrait Gallery © NPG 2014

Grayson Perry installation, National Portrait Gallery © NPG 2014

Grayson Perry installation, National Portrait Gallery © NPG 2014

Grayson Perry, Room 32,  National Portrait Gallery, London © Richard Ansett 2014

Ladies First

This is the third time I have worked with Grayson Perry (or fourth if you count him in a hard hat, which was not overly flattering; we don't talk about that).

We set up a studio in his studio to shoot an enormous amount of material for CH4's new documentary 'Who are You? in conjunction with Perry's new display at the National Portrait Gallery (private view tonight, hot ticket!)

Perry's studio is deliberately devoid of artworks; he explained that he was easily influenced in the moment of creation so kept the space very clear, except one image of him as 'Claire' taken at the BAFTAs. Most of the images of him as Claire are bombastic and playful but this is serene and she looks rather pretty. I asked him about it and he said 'it was important to feel beautiful'. I am uncertain if I was the right person to make that dream come true for him! ;)

Our portrait was recently pushed off the cover of the Radio Times by the upstart Sir David Attenborough; I never really liked him.

My first image of him at the Reith lectures in 2013 shot for the BBC, has recently been hung in the National Portrait Gallery, Contemporary Portraits Room 32, check it out.

Grayson Perry & Richard Ansett at Perry's London Studio, 2014 © Leon Foggitt (assistant)

Monday 20 October 2014

Inside Cronenberg's Mouth

Meme (def.)
1. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.
2. (Psychology) an idea or element of social behaviour passed on through generations in a culture by imitation.
3. A cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

Photographing David Cronenberg (Telegraph Magazine, 1999)

I knew I had a very narrow window of time. Before the sitting I was invited to a preview of his new film 'ExistenZ' and I immersed myself in Cronenberg's back catalogue.
As I watched his films, a painful, hard lump approximately 2 cm in diameter appeared under the skin on the bottom of my foot; it became increasingly sensitive until it was impossible to place any weight on it; days before the shoot I was using a crutch; I was one of JG Ballad's characters from Crash, fascinated and aroused by my disability. At the sitting, I was fully possessed with the ‘Cronenberg gene’ and asked him softly to put his fingers in his mouth and show me the inside of his mouth. He did this silently for three frames, when asked he pulled harder to expose more of his inside. In ExistenZ, the assassin’s weapon was made from his own flesh and teeth.
After the shoot, the hard oval lump disappeared and has never returned.

An extract from ‘Consumed’, David Cronenberg, (4th Estate, 2014)

'Arostigui turned to her and pulled his mouth open to one side with his index finger, the effect was grotesque. “Into the very mouth of the cannibal, don’t you want that picture?” Naomi began shooting, she changed lenses quickly; an extreme wide angle lens now and continued snapping getting very close. Arostigui played it seriously and intensely, his gums and teeth completely exposed on one side and somehow, perversely naked. The photos were very disturbing.’ – 

David Cronenberg, 1999 © Richard Ansett / National Archives of Canada

Detail from David Cronenberg, 1999 © Richard Ansett / National Archives of Canada

Saturday 18 October 2014

Smoking Causes Ageing of the Skin

Image_004, Smoking Causes Ageing of the Skin © Richard Ansett 2014


The gay couple series 'Ron & Roger' has won the political prize at the Moscow international Foto Awards and will show at a public Moscow gallery this month, challenging the Russian anti-gay propaganda law. The images will be projected on screens at Fotoloft Gallery Contemporary Arts Centre. from 23rd October 2014.

"The expression of love and commitment regardless of gender is highly political. Prejudice of homosexual behavior is challenged by the un-extraordinary expression of a serious relationship illustrated as equal to the heterosexual. It is a subtle change to previously more confrontational messages in the fight for equality; it says, 'We are the same as you; our lives are as complicated and as mundane'. The series composition is inspired by the 15th century painting the ‘Arnolfini Wedding’ by Jan Van Eyke considered a record of a clandestine marriage". - RA

Russian translation:

Гей-пара серии 'Рон и Роджер' выиграл политическую приз на Московском международном Foto Awards и покажет на публичном московской галерее в этом месяце, бросая вызов российской анти-гей-пропаганды закон. Изображения будут проецироваться на экраны в Фотолофт Галерея современного искусства Центра. от 23 октября 2014. 

"Выражение любви и приверженности независимо от пола является в высшей степени политический. Предубеждение гомосексуального поведения оспаривается оон-экстраординарное выражение серьезных отношений проиллюстрировать равна гетеросексуальные. Это тонкое изменение в ранее более конфронтационных сообщений в борьбе за равенство; он говорит, «Мы же, как вы; наша жизнь, как сложны и, как мирской 'композиционный ряд вдохновлен 15-го века рисующего' Arnolfini Свадьба 'Яна ван Eyke считается запись подпольной брака. ». - РА

Saul & Jonathan, from series Ron & Roger © Richard Ansett

Saturday 11 October 2014

Alison Lapper MBE

I shot Alison Lapper at the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London before the sculpture of her 'Alison Lapper (8 months), 2000' by Marc Quinn was installed in 2005. The portrait of her alone was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery for its permanent collection surrounded by flocks of pigeons but I have always loved this image of her with her son, which was never published.

I was listening to BBC Radio 4 this morning and she was speaking inevitably about the experience as a disabled mother and artist.

When commissioned, we are sent to photograph people but very often don't have the details of the life that has brought them to this moment, deemed relevant or important enough to be recorded for posterity. I research my subjects as it does help with a silent empathy as well as an aid to developing visual metaphors in the moment but with Lapper I did not. I didn't know her son Paris would be attending and the commission did not include shots with him; I did this and others just for them (and me). In terms of my own development, this connection and Quinn's sculpture itself helped challenge so many aspects of my stupid prejudice and altered my view of the world.

Alison Lapper with son Paris, Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London © Richard Ansett 2005

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Crash Dummy

My beautiful dummies of the FAT project designed by Boris Kajmak along with the other amazing shortlisted books have been destroyed in a dramatic accident in Brazil.

Letter to the FotoBook Festival Kassel director from Madalena Workshops, São Paulo

Dear Dieter,
We are really constrained to inform you about what occurred just before the beginning of the Festival. Our truck was descending the last part of the itinerary between São Paulo and Paraty -a really curvy and steep road- when it lost the brakes and had an accident. Happily the drivers didn't suffer any serious injury, but as you can see in the pictures attached the material they were carrying -the books from our bookshop and the dummies among it- were seriously damaged also because of the heavy rain that was falling at that time. In order to preserve the image of the Award and even if at least a 30% of the dummies is in perfect conditions, we decided not to show them during the Festival.

We know the immeasurable value of the works so we are not sure about how to proceed from now on; we are quite perplexed. We thought about writing a letter to every author that had his dummy damaged 
and we are waiting for your instructions. We are sending back the dummies to you, carefully wrapped.

Best, Talita Virgínia
Estudio Madalena

© Unknown

© Unknown

© Unknown

© Unknown

Monday 6 October 2014

Dog Shit UK

Photographers are under no obligation to be kind.

Image_066, Dog Shit, UK, 2009 © Richard Ansett

Wednesday 1 October 2014

The Paedophile Hunter

Image_9113, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett

Image_9138, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett

Image_9184, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett

Image_9185, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett

Image_9188, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett

Image_9191, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett

Image_9192, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett

Image_9193, from series The Paedophile Hunter © Richard Ansett