Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Fashion of Modelling Documentary


This is just a quick blog on the documentary 'The Fashion of Modelling'. The website is going up properly with everything on it this weekend, www.blankcanvaspictures.ie , but now seemed as good a time as any to finally put up the link to the film.

Myself and fellow model turned producer Carl Shaaban made this documentary back in 2009 and it was subsequently picked up by RTE television and screened in 2010. I came about the idea when my little sister asked about certain aspects of modelling and I realised that her friends and her knew very little about modelling apart from MTV shows. Since we made this there has been a plethora of documentaries and tv shows on modelling and the behind the scenes etc, so we should have put this out sooner, but, well....it's here again now.

We made this film off our own bat, just the two of us, and got some of the biggest names in the Irish fashion industry to assist us. Incredibly talented and well respected figures such as Rebecca Morgan, Catherine Condell, Mike Bunn, Gordon Goodwin and Eddie Shanahan let us interview them as we talked about all aspects of making a photograph, the styling, modelling and the industry itself.  Also includes models Cerri McQuillan, Laragh McCann and Alison Cannavan. Agata Stoinska, the great Polish photographer then had a big launch screening in her new studio D-Light, and it was a great success: 


The music is by Una Healy (of the Saturdays), and features some of her original singer songwriter work, and also by The Brilliant Things including an early version of their song: 'Pointless' and 'Watch What You Say':


The link to news on night is here from the Independent and Showbiz.ie


Hopefully you enjoy it.. the film is below, and runs at 52 minutes or so....



Monday, 14 May 2012

The Musician and his Soul

Play. Play. Play.
Play like your life depends on it.




Sometimes in life you just meet people. They could be anybody. These people inspire you. Or touch you. Tony Alridge is one such person. I met him last week on my way back home on friday evening. I was tired, having travelled back from Wales and then onto a tube, so I was listening to music and ignoring everything around me. Then Tony got on. And he began to play. At first I tried to ignore him as his playing was interfering with my music (Bon Iver), and so I paid him attention and took out my headphones.
He played, then spoke with such wild abandon and joy about his music, then played the Scottish anthem on the violin, then played a song he had written. I initially fished out a pound, then two, then a fiver. Then I caught up with him after he leapt off and we went for dinner.


We spoke about film, music, how he had ended up where he was, and he corrected my grammar whilst I offered to buy him some dinner, which he graciously accepted. Tony Aldridge, or Anthony if you will, has studied in the Conservatoire in Germany, played with Chet Baker when he was playing street music around Europe as part of a group of artists who in Tony's words "knew more about music than those studying it in the Conservatoire because they understood how to communicate the music".


We agreed to meet again and I would take photos and make a film about him, and maybe move on to another project. I don't want to explain too much about Tony until the short is up, which I will use to launch my website (next week hopefully), because he is quite the performer, and there is something beautiful, yet sad about his plight: he broke his glasses a few months ago and so can't see properly at the moment. But he is so positive and upbeat and I couldn't fail to be inspired by his energy and life affirming ideology. It must be mentioned that Tony is essentially homeless, living in a hostel and from day to day.


I wrote a poem immediately after filming him, and decided to try fit it into one of the songs that I recorded of him. The result is the short video below with the poem inside, whether it works alongside the music and imagery is debatable in my own head as of yet, they may both work better alone. The poem I wrote in a fashion to tie into the structure of the music, stumbling, free flowing, then verse and rhyme. I just hope it conveys what I aim to show of Tony in the film. The poem is below the video is you want to read it free of the imagery and music.



These are some portraits of Tony, which for me, capture the essence of his personality, proud but full of life and humour.
(I shot the images on the Canon 5-d, not film unfortunately, with a 50mm nikon lens, but with no photoshop- I don't like PS).







The Poem:

'The Musician and his Soul'


'ladies & gentlemen,
I'm going to play
a tune
for your today,
and if you don't like it,
then I'll leave'

He smiled a big
gap toothed grin,
cheeks creasing
from constant laughter thinned
by all that life
makes one grieve.

His violin case was
old and battered,
held together
with love, and tape in tatters.
Tenderly he took her up
proudly for all to see.

Closing his eyes
And wetting his lips
He somehow found
the balance in his hips,
and plucked at the strings
with a gaudy gaeity.

The tube rocked under
his feet
but he moved with
his own beat,
finding his rhythm
from the music within,

His hands jumped off the
strings like
an eager dancer,
and his bow
hummed along merrily
to the tune of his grin

It took a few moments.
In fact it took
a few stops
before they actually watched.
And when they did,
they were enraptured with him

'thank you, thank you
ladies and germs'
He guffawed when he
had finished his turn,
proud of remembering
the chords on a whim.

'if you can spare some coppers
for a poor old busker
that would be wonderful'
he giggled, quite lusty,
traipsing down the carriage
searching for those that related.

'I'm rich beyond my dreams!'
He announced,
all receiving a smile
through his hands
His goodwill, spirit & music
his gifts to be taken.

Those who spared some
change were greeted
with such warmth
it made them appreciated
and left them
feeling elated,

but they misunderstood
what they felt;
feeling pride
for helping a tumbling vagrant
get through the day.
They were mistaken.

For he had helped them
To believe
And he gave more
Than the little he received,
for he gave them
a part of his soul.

He left with a nod,
case clutched
under one arm
lest he lost her,
for then he would know
sadness greater than cost.

Where did he go when
he left their lives?
Where he sleep
or eat or shit or sigh?
That didn't matter
just then, he was whole.

For in those moments
he was a beautiful part
of their lives
and they were in his deeply caught,
and you hope it stayed
with each and was never lost.

Even after he left the tube
and disappeared.
Back to his life,
and they to theirs,
leaving each other
in memorial arrears.