Sunday, 28 February 2010

Venturing Out into the Vicious Waves of the Mainstream.

Just once in a while, I like to indulge in a little All-American, Shiny-white-pearly-teeth, corporate-slavery, everything-I'm-against, sell-out television. Now my borders won't quite stretch to make room for any Cyruses or Jonases or Efrons (One day I will find and destroy the machine that manufactures them, or at least break the air-brushing mechanism on the cloning device, so that we'll finally be rid of these plastic-coated, pristine, shiny, alien-like, Disney puppets) *breathes* ...but I certainly do have room for this:
I was a skeptic at first. I always am on these things. But the brilliant thing about The OC is that it breaks the rules that American teen-drama has set itself. The stars may be beautiful, but in an honest way. There are rich kids, but there are also poor kids (well, one - it makes all the difference though). There is mainstream hip-hop, but there is also a wide spectrum of good, unknown bands. The best part is that the characters all have more than one dimension, which is quite a rare thing these days. And this gives them longevity. I'll be honest, I'm already sick of most of the Glee cast, due to the fact they've only got one track each and its stuck on repeat.

I know it isn't quite so mainstream as say 90221029 (whatever the number combination is), but it still fits into that category. I've only seen the first season, and truth be told, I'm kinda scared to watch anymore, because I know what eventually happens to Marissa, and I don't want to have to see it... I'm sure I will someday though :/ So there we go. I love The OC. And I also love Mischa Barton, but that is neither here nor there.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


I always thought about keeping a diary. I've had many attempts in my time... there was the huge yellow one, and the little blue one, and various different blogs, most of which have now been deleted. I just don't have the willpower to maintain one, and I really wish I did. I seem to be drawn to them, I'm like, intrigued by them. I think they're bloody interesting. Not in a pervy-kinda-I-know-all-your-secrets-mwhahaha sort of way. I just love seeing how people perceive things, and what makes them tick.

So today, just as we were leaving college, me and my friend saw this diary left on a table. She looked to find a name, and it was Sam's. So I tried to phone Sam (his number was in the diary) but he didn't pick up, probably was driving, so I texted him letting him know I'd found it and would keep it safe until Friday.

[Don't worry Sam (if you ever see this), there are no existing photos of inside your diary :D ]

Now my friend (yes, honestly, my FRIEND. Not me, "my friend" is NOT a metaphor for myself), the nosy bugger, had a flick through. It wasn't a journal sort of diary, it was an events/calender/to-do list sort of diary, the sort of thing in which you write numbers and birthdays and notes and things that need doing. So she didn't feel so bad about it.  And she showed me, and said to me, "Gosh, that's quite bad, how much information you can get from just this little book". And then she recalled that her own diary had things like bank details in, which we both agreed was far worse.

But it made me think, it is amazing what you can establish from just the things people remind themselves of and the way they do it. Sam's is quite neat and organised, but I know that Sian (the nosy friend)'s is very... it's like organised mess; you know when people have untidy rooms, but they know exactly where everything is? Like that.

So, I got thinking about all kinds of Diaries. And I first thought of THIS(^). Ever since I came to terms with the umm... graphic content of the book, I've become a bit of a Corinne Day fiend. Only the gritty stuff, mind. I'm all about grit. See, she's a fashion photographer. She's the one who "discovered" Kate Moss. But this book sure as hell ain't fashion; it's raw, personal, intrusive, bitter, honest life. Which is why I love it. It documents 10 years of her life (through which she underwent a brain-tumour-removal operation), and all the grungy personal stuff just seems to illustrate how good her friends were, and how much they needed each other, and the depth of the stuff they went through. I'd really recommend it, so long you've got the stomach and can find a copy (It's upwards of £100 to buy, but luckilly for me, the college library had one!).

My next thought was Amelie. I love Amelie. I generally count it as my all-time favourite film. I mean, there are 4 or 5 that are my favourite, Amelie just seems to have everything. Anyway, in it, Amelie finds a scrapbook of disarded ID photos, which was a sort of diary I guess. Compiled by Nino Quincampoix, his hobby is collecting these. I suppose it doesn't reveal so much about him, but it does reveal to him MUCHOS about all the people in the photos. It intrigues, is what I'm getting at. Do you know how much I'd love to find that book, as Amelie did? Infact, I want my whole life to just be Amelie's. I'm sure she'd swap, if she was real.

Talking of passport photos and, indeed, diaries, check out these nasties for a smooth-assed combination of both! My dad's accumilation of photobooth snaps. Not all of. But I'd say, about 5/8ths of them excluding those used on actual student IDs and railcards. He went to a lot of different unis, so needed a lot of different passes. And the photos not only give an insight into the person, but because there are so many, literally only months apart, they also form a kind of diary. I was fascinated when I found out my dad had all these. And so were most of the people I showed. These alone fuelled by Graphics and Textiles work on m'foundation course, proving just how ace they are.

And now we come to this. I'm not a big reader, and I have no idea why I started reading it. But I did, and I'm thorougly enjoying it. The Catcher In The Rye is the sort of "classic" book that gets used as set reads for English coursework modules, so by default it should be shit. And I can see how a lot of people would be bored by it. The language is highly colloquial, and can get quite repetitive if you're not too into it. But to me, its mesmerising. I'm on page 103, and I haven't even got through a day in the life of Holden Caulfied. He's "descriptive as hell", and all these mannerisms and thoughts and idiolectual quirks make for exactly the sort of material I enjoy reading. It's the most in-depth, personal diary of them all, only, in disguise as a novel. J.D. Salinger was a genius.

So we come to the end of this long, long journey. I apologise for that, I suppose I just got really into it. Hopefully I'll stay into it, and this blog will live a long and happy life. I like to think of it as a diary of the arty side of Lucas. The other, highly tempermental emotional rollercoaster side cannot be contained in such a format. So maybe this has longevity. I sure hope so anyway.

Monday, 22 February 2010

I betcha'll didn't ever hear of Koda Kumi?

...thought not.
(By the way, I apologise for any strange "goddam"s or "boy"s or "y'all"s, I'm currently reading The Catcher In The Rye, and all them Americanisms and idiolectual things are somewhat rubbin' off on my speech)

So, Koda Kumi! I DO like a bit of J-pop, its something I really need to investigate more. I have a bit of Kumi, a bit of Nagashima, a bit of Hamasaki, a bit of BoA (literally just one song each from the last three). I prefer the cheesey stuff, it has to be said. Especially "Trust" by Ayomi Hamasaki. But Koda Kumi's stuff generally isn't all that tacky. She's mostly known for her more urban hip-hop stuff, which is OK, but from a western point of view, it sounds a bit strange, what with the likes of Destiny's Child and such to be familiar with. I don't mind it, but its not blow-you-away-incredible.

Despite only having a few number ones (to my knowledge) in Japan, she is considered pop-royalty over there. Or at least she was, until she made some "controversial" comment on a chat-show about women and pregnancy. I remember reading it, and I was like "Seriously? that was IT?" It was something quite lame, and she probably was a bit dumb to say it, but no-one woulda given a shit over here. But she had to issue like, a proper apology, and all her endorsements (such as in the image above) were pulled and her album promotion was ceased and her record sales dropped. I s'pose it could be compared to the whole Kanye-West-Taylor-Swift-Grammy thing.

One of the most remarkable things she's done, in my opinion, was this: The 12-week singles promotion (see above). She released a single every week for 12 weeks, and you could like, collect the set> Some got to number one, some were only limited release. I could look at the covers for ages, each one is based on a different culture. I don't really understand how the one with the red headdress represents England, but supposedly it does. I would SO love to have collected the whole lot, but I'll settle for the complation import of them. And here is the best (dans mon opinion) in terms of music. Although I'd also recommend DDD and Kamen. But here is "Someday", the final single from the whole lot. Best 'til last eh?

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Why I love photography - pt1: Maleonn

I hope the title wasn't too misleading - this is by no means a great big long essay that'll bore y'all to death. No, quite the opposite infact :] I have every intent to inspire you, much like I was, when I first came across the absolute 24 carot diamond gems that are Maleonn's photographs.

So here are a few of my personal favourites, from various different sets. I love the theatricality of them, and how they're almost illustrations, or songs, or stories. They're so detailed and precise, and your eyes are literally stunned into awe by the colours and general whimsy they generate.

And here is the website, if your eyes are feeling particularly hungry and you need a bit of a banquet to gorge on. Honestly, if these don't inspire your ass, I don't know what will.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

OK so this is cool.

Just a short little thang today, I saw this a while ago and recently rediscovered it. The Japanese, as I have come to find, come up with the weirdest and most wonderful ideas and little ways of making things just that little bit ...nicer. And I'm all for niceness, and you can't deny the extra bit of effort demonstrated here:

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

It's Michel Gondry Time!

- Who!?
- You know, that guy who made The White Stripes into Lego bricks.
- Oh yeah him. What was his name again?
- Michel Gondry!

Here are 4 of the best. I mean, most of them are good... and whenever he collaborates with Bjork, the most ingenius things are created, and it almost killed me to narrow it down to just two. One thing I think is apparent, especially in these, in Gondry's talent of listening to the music and interpretting how is sounds visually. Through medias such as costumes and dance, or nifty editing, or a strange contraption made from string. So, in the order shown, we have:
'Around The World' - Daft Punk
'Hyperballad' - Bjork
'The Hardest Button To Button' - The White Stripes
'Declare Independance' - Bjork

Sorry about the use of daily motion. I know their quality is inferior to youtube, but said tube appear to be spitting the embedding dummy out at the moment, with most of the videos I happen to want to put on m'blog now having embedding disabled. And they're even blocking ones already embedded, like the Blade Runner one I posted. So, please accept my apologies on their petty behalf.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Goodbye Cyberpunk!

So here are some final bits and bobs I found for the Cyberpunk theme. I would have really liked to gone into Akira more, or rewatched Ghost in the Shell, but to be honest, it's such a dense subject, I think it's best in small doses. Here are 5 of the best, which didn't really fit into anywhere else:

Righto, I am now absolutely sick of it. It HAS to end. So I hereby declare the theme of Cyberpunk OVER.
But where to go from here? Hmmmm...

Friday, 12 February 2010

Cyberpunk : Would YOU wear this?

I can feel the cyberpunk theme coming to an end soon. That's the thing with me, my little fads and obsessions never seem to last. I only occasionally commit, like with Prince, or onion rings. And I'm sure you are all either sick to death of cyberpunk, or never interested in it in the first place... *Resounding 'Yes'*

So here is some of the best cyberpunk game art I could find. I'm not a big gamer. I haven't got a clue what these games are like, and have very little interest beyond Pokemon, Final Fantasy and of course, the often stunning art that supports the games themselves. Likewise, I'm not big on fashion. I know what I like, what looks good, but I can't tell one designer from the next. I wish there was a job that could combine fashion designing with character concept art. It would almost win me over if it existed, I'd have to bid farewell to photography!

This game art is about as cyberpunk as I could find. Some of Final Fantasy 7 is quite industrial too, but not cyberpunk, and most of the game art doesn't reflect this. I reckon there's plenty more out there, but I just haven't come across it yet. As far as fashion goes, I think some of this is pretty cool. Note the green jacket, I'd definitely wear that if it existed. But now we're bordering the lines of the weird Japanese concept of Cosplay, which I'm going to stay WELL away from, thankyou very much.

From the games Bionic Commando, Zone of the Enders; The 2nd Runner and Star Ocean 3.

If you liked these, you'll love this website:
Plenty more galleries added each week :]

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Cyberpunk : The Album?

I gave this a mention before... but now it is time to revisit, all in the name of blog. It's "Cyberpunk" by Billy Idol, and it has the honour of being the VERY FIRST Mister Loo-Kass album review!

Now let me explain how this works:
GREEN - the best songs, with multiple plays on iTunes
AMBER - the ones that are good, just not amazing
ORANGE - the ones that wouldn't make the playlist, but I have no problem listening to.
RED - The ones that I'd delete if I didn't have such an OCD about having the whole album on my PC
They are also in a rough order of preference, and contain notes if needed. So, shall we get started!?

So upon the discovery of this album, and for me, the world of Billy Idol, I was quite intrigued to find the reviews to be generally negative. I suppose, on face value, it is the single-minded efforts of a type-cast rock musician trying to renew his following, and going about it in what is widely recognised as the wrong way. And many wonder, is it even cyberpunk? Or is it just mangled second-rate rock with occasional 8-bit synths and repeated spoken phrases?

Well, being the lovely person I can occasionally be, I gave it a chance. And on the whole, I think that it works. I suppose that if you were a Billy Idol fan from the start of his career, you'd be disappointed. But from my perspective, it's a dynamic yet even conceptual masterpeice! The songs are catchy, the medium between rock and 80's computer-game techno is perfect, and, like many things I love, it stands on the fine line between dated retro and ultra-futuristic. The lyrics are confident, with an even mix of secularity and depth. Infact, I'd describe the album as balanced, and I consider this a very important factor; the amount of albums that sound like a greatest hits complation is ridiculous. I'm all for eclectisism, I say do it! But linking the whole bunch together with a palette of timbres and a common lyrical theme or something really makes for a stronger album and a stronger impression.

01 Power Junkie - I've had the guitar riff in my head for 3 days now
02 Adam In Chains - There's something about monologues in songs...
03 Shock To The System
04 Wasteland - "No Religeon!"
05 Neuromancer
06 Venus
07 Concrete Kingdom
08 When The Night Comes - Slightly Gay Pride. But nonetheless catchy as.
09 Heroin
10 Tomorrow People
11 Love Labours On
12 Shangrila
13 Mother Dawn - The guest vocalist, whoever it is, needs shooting
14-20 All of the "bridges" - Everybody skips these things...

Woah that was exhausting. And probably not worth it. I imagine most people would look at the amount of words, panic and leave. I know I would. But hopefully someone, somewhere, will have read through and thought "YES".

I think I'll use that colour-code thing again, it best illustrates the way I think about this kinda thing :]

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Studio Stression

Get it? Stress + Session = STRESSION! Yeah! I'm so clever...

Let's take a short break from cyberworld, it's pretty dense, and that is something I do not need right now. I need something light and refreshing. I need to vent. Not in an angry way like, but we'll see.

So I was in the studio today, taking a second set of photos. I took millions and millions (Well, 347 :s), and its a good thing I have a 16gb beast of a flash drive to store 'em all on. But what took ages was the lighting. I'm basing it on this photo right here folks:

It's a male nude, by the wonderful George Platt-Lynes (no I don't know him and yes he is dead now). However, my models were not nude. No, the thing I was trying to replicate was the lighting, which was, umm, tricky. Especially when I mistook the shutter speed interference for faulty lighting and spent about 10 minutes trying to correct it... well done Luke, gold star there :/

Anyway I finally got it right, about half an hour into the session. I put a flash concentrated by a snoot on the background, which I managed to get central this time, and strong enough as well. I also decided to light both sides of the figure with soft-boxes, rather than just the one, which gave a little more clarity, and I didn't have to keep asking the model to turn their face. And now I've done all the fiddley stuff... all the contact sheet-making, file separating and such, I've had just enough time on the mac to edit some of my RAW files. And here are the results so far:

So I'm quite happy with them, lighting-wise. I only wish my other 2 models had been able to come, because it'd mean I wouldn't need to get the lighting the same again... but, alas, they had to work :[ And I had the intention of using laughter to connect the photos thematically, but some of the best ones from this shoot weren't in hysterics. Oh well, we'll see. I'll keep y'all informed :]

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Cyberpunk : The mac.

Now I'm not even going to anywhere near the age-old debate that is Mac vs PC. Too many wars have started over this really rather trivial rivalry. But one thing is for sure; if it's cyberpunk you want, then you need a mac.

Ye Olde Original iMac :]

The interfaces, the design, and to a certain extent, the colour schemes make using a mac a rather futurismo experience. And if you're one of those people who find it all far more complex than necessary, then why not just say it adds to the cyberiority. By the way, I am completely aware that both futurismo and cyberiority are not actual words. If I play my cards right, they will be by the end of this post :]

Lets face it, macs contribute a lot to the cyberpunk style. There's the obvious "computer" link (so obvious it took me a few minutes to come up with it), they aided the production of Billy Idol's somewhat unoriginally entitled concept album "Cyberpunk", and they are the subject of this revolutionary Orwellian advert, which I only wish I was old enough to have seen the first time round;

My thoughts on a mac? Go on then. I'd love one. They are pretty damn cool, and there ain't much they can't do. But there are just a few PCreature comforts that I can't live without. Like Internet Explorer and real windows. So for now, it's a no thanks to apple. But you never know...

Theme : Cyberpunk

If you were to mention the word "Sci-Fi" to me, then I'd probably fall asleep there and then. Which is something I ought to give ago, seeing as I can't seem to sleep anywhere other than my own bed...but anyway anyway anyway IF, however, you were to say the word "cyberpunk" to me, then that, my chum, is a whole other kettle o' fish!

I guess that cyberpunk is a kinda sub-genre of, or "take" on Science Fiction. Take Blade Runner, par example, one of the definitive Sci-Fi movies of the film industry. And, I like it. Not because of the space-ships and the androids and the complex over-used robots-with-human-qualities plot which I have come to kinda shun nowdays (with the exception of this, Chobits, and Bjork's "All Is Full Of Love" video), but because of the look. And indeed the sound. I love the eerie synths, the dark and grungy city settings, the Japanese influence, both modern and often traditional, reflecting the development and the regression that cyberpunk represents. They combine and contrast to make what is, to me, a pretty darn cool idea.

You see what I mean? It's mysterious, but not in a Miss Marple way. It's futuristic, but not in a cheesey Star Wars way. And it's gritty, without being radically graphic, shot at a jaunty angle or a low-budget indie film from some innane european country. And we all know what a huge fan I am of grit :]

Monday, 8 February 2010

My Generic Blog by FFS Photography

So my current major photography-related thing is preparing work to submit to Camberwell. They want 10 A4 sheets, that show my work, ideas, development etc the usual. And with my re-inspired blogging urges, I thought I'd take a jog through the site, with that little "Next Blog" link at the top.

Now I know I can be a snob about a lot of things, such as Stoke-on-Trent, Lidl and correct grammar, but you must understand me correctly here; as someone with an artistic mind, the pure LACK of originality with all of the, what, 20? blogs that I flicked through before getting bored - was just frustrating. As a trained art/photography student, I have a right to turn my nose up at the pretty, smiley, saturated, all-american, family, happy, aren't-I-a-good-photographer, generic blogs that clog up the internet.

Where is the soul? Where is the edge? Where is the GRIT!?

I had half a mind to remove the sheet of traditional portrature from my folio... but then I remembered that mine was for a reason. The happy smileyness in MY photos mean something. Mine aren't just for show. There is actually a story behind it, and it does actually matter beyond the concept of "haven't you made my baby look pretty".

So in actual fact, this has inspired me. It's made me think, "Lucas, make the fuck sure you never lower the standards of your work to THAT. Be the steak; not the cheeseburger."

Bit o' Gold

OK so since about 4 years ago, I've had this obsession with gold. And since about 2 years ago, I've had rather a large obsession with Prince. So you can imagine the utter joy and awe I experienced when I discovered this absolute gem from is career. It's surprising to know that this song was the follow-up to his only UK number 1 EVER. And, considering that the hit was "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World", it is beyond me how this wasn't more, let alone as, successful.
Now when it comes to Prince, you can think what you like, but there are a few things we should get straight;
  1. He knows how to make a good song, and indeed a song good.
  2. When he performs, he really gives it everything
  3. This guy can play some serious axe.
And I think that "Gold", taken from his 1995 album "The Gold Experience" (which in my opinion is one of his best) clearly demonstrates all three of those vital statistics. So watch this vid, and then revisit your preconceptions of Prince. And believe me, there will be more of the Purple One to come in the future :]

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Commute pt1

Okay so I've gone a little blog-crazy today. But it is the first day, these things happen. This is just some of my recent work, inspired by my daily commute into college. Some are quite candid, some are strainfully set up. All are bright and full of heavilly photoshopped goodness, except the "inspiration" bus, which was a fluke stroke of perfection. It happened in London a good 2 and a half years ago, whilst trying to take a nice picture of the bulding behind it. I was really pissed off that a stupid bus had got in the way of my frame, until I looked at it and was pretty damn amazed... and I've been trying to find a set of photos to put it in since, and I think I've finally found one.

Expect more of these, peeps, I propose further documentation of my travels :]

Requiem For A Dream

I first watched Requiem For A Dream in the summer, at a good friend's house, on a ripped DVD whilst drinking from a glass shaped like a woman's torso. And I think it fitted in perfectly with the film.
Now when it comes to films, if I see a trailer I like the look of, or read a brief description on wikipedia, I don't like to read up too much more, because I believe if you know as little about the film as possible, you'll enjoy it more when you finally see it. And this is one such film. Honestly, the impact of the cuts, and the music, and the superiority of the acting, not to mention a terrific and thrilling plot and the most climactic ending you'll ever see, it all just adds up to a fuckin' amazing cinematic experience.

As I said, I don't offer a summary, I offer recommendation and, of course, some advice:
  • Watch it on one of those sets with speakers everywhere around the room.
  • Don't watch it drunk. It'll make you a wreck.
  • Concentrate; not because you particularly need to keep a grasp of what's going on, just because it'll be a whole lot better if you pay attention to the details.
As far as stars go, out of 10, I'd give it a 9. Which is pretty good, without being an endearing film (the only kind that'll get a 10 from me)

One last thing - the bathtub scene, though quite short, is IMMENSE.

Ahoy there :]

Well a-hello there, and welcome to my latest venture - another blog. Yes another. This time, not for teenage angst-provoked ranting, not for crudely drawn webcomics, and not for not being bloody used! Like the rest, this blog is just as much for me as it is for you. It's sorta like, hey, this is floatin' my boat, what do you think?
So we'll launch my brand new shiny glittery wide-eyed and bushy-tailed blog with this:

If there's one thing y'all need to learn in life, it is that you can't beat a bit o' New Jack Swing. So we'll kick it off with a personal favourite from '95, featuring the ever-alluring Eboni Foster (and not to mention the rather-too-forward Teese Wallace), it's Froggy Style by Nuttin' Nyce

Nuttin' Nyce - Down 4 Whatever

So if you liked what you heard, check out their album :]

Its pretty hard to get hold of, so a bit of international ebaying might be in order, but once you get it, you WON'T regret it ;D