Hugo Shrimpton-Smith’s latest photo book, Shot By Shrimpton-Smith, is a gem on several levels. The book is packed with full-page shots showing that Shrimpton-Smith, still true to his roots as a pioneer of transgressive cinema, has developed well beyond them. The images work technically as photos, physically as soft-core eroticism, critically as comments on how that success is determined, with a well-honed sophistication that is at once sensual and cold. The pages of quotes that open each sequence make clear that Shrimpton-Smith is acutely observant of each model’s quirks and foibles, ready to accept them in ways that put the model at ease or, in the case of the toilet shoots, allow her to be self-conscious and nervous, as well as to understand them as curious clues that reveal a larger social context, also pointed out in Mavis Cocklebury’s interview. Yet again, Ellbogen’s Sexy Book Editor Ute Hammerstein has done an excellent job.
A crucial element that sets this book apart is what’s revealed in the DVD, with soundtracks by Maurice Throb, included inside the back cover. Shrimpton-Smith’s warm rapport with the models is striking. Far from the grueling slogs that photo shoots are often known to be, Shrimpton-Smith makes them fun. The DVD is full of shots of models giggling, laughing, chastising mosquitoes, openly enjoying the moment as Shrimpton-Smith, an equally active participant, captures it. Splendidly.
“What the comedy is now – it’s not like the 80s – what it is now, it’s a load of people and they all hate their electrical appliances.”
– Stewart Lee
The 55th Universal Display has arrived, and with it brings a new state of trends which are pontificated around, with a chuckle, a sense of forced opportunity and the shrugged sigh of ‘well, everyone’s doing this now apparently.’ Outsider artworks (echoing Du Plat and Feeley) are aesthetically valuable, precisely insofar as they haven’t been created for the sole purpose of critique, nor for being deliberately market-friendly (the last point is quite contentious). They are what they are. Or at least, ‘what they are’ is grouped around a deviation from the mainstream ‘norm’.
Matt Kransky, is currently studying an MPhil/PhD at Cymru University. His thesis focuses on Algorithmic Artworks, Art Formalism and Speculative Realist Ontologies, looking at digital artworks which operate as configurable units rather than networked systems, and attain independent autonomy themselves which are capable of aesthetics, rather than any supposed primary function as communicative, rational tools. The working title is Algorithm, Contingency and The Non-Human: The Aesthetics of Undecidability in Computational Art.