- UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL CREATIVE ARTS MAGAZINE -
Cover photograph by Alice Whale Back cover by Barnaby Wharam Editors Lydia Greenaway Freddie Herbert Subhani Rawat Art Editor Alex Berridge Photography Editors Florence Downs Charlie de Montfort Poerty Editor Sam Ahmed Prose Editor Kate Holmes Features Editors Lucinda Elliott Lucia Osborne-Crawley
We once again received a multitude of beautiful entries despite the issues ‘Flawed’ theme. The word was interpreted and explored in wonderfully creative ways, across all four mediums. This is Helicon’s final issue for 2011-12, so we’ll say goodnight and farewell for the summer, and pray the English weather doesn’t make it a flawed one (or perhaps you’re lucky enough to be escaping it). Whatever adventure you’re setting out on, enjoy it and stay creative. We’ll be back before you know it, looking forward to another year of Helicon. Enjoy!
Promotions Officer Nahema Marchel Treasurer Alasdair Copland heliconbristol.blogspot.com facebook.com/heliconmagazine
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Feature Fritz Liedtke, page 13
Tamara Jade Kaz
Crows False teeth on flawless skin- I bite. Seal the dark lines of a dagger-jaw, around the sweet-soft flesh of you. Jerk backtensionâ€™s taughtness tumbles. When you have been enveloped, I Cheshire cat youmy lips parting like eyelids, revealing teeth like a whored virgin: untouched and lying. You feel all pain, but bear no scars. The taste of you, like candy floss in my warm mouth dissolves. The more I want The less you givePrometheus, our flaws are hologramic. Anna Godfrey
The winner of our Summer issue photography competition, under the title ‘Beautifully Flawed’, is Alice Whale, photographer of this issue’s front cover photo ‘Isolated’ and the photograph to the left ‘Melting Glacier’. Runner up
goes to Niall Oswold, featured below. We received many beautiful photography submissions as usual, which are featured throughout the issue, with many clever and interesting interpretations on the theme.
Botoxed Life taken out of faces,
Their silicone stuffed lips No longer smiling,
Crows feet flown from eyes,
Browâ€™s that can neither frown
Or be raised; a face
Taut, expressionless, denying The smooth beauty of youth
So yearned for; and I thought Wisdom not vanity
Came with wrinkles and age.
Maya Dudok de Wit
Fine Art Photographer Fritz Liedtke has a diverse range of work that closely links with our theme ‘Flawed’. From series on adolescence (Welcome to Wonderland) and eating disorders (Skeleton in the Closet) to documentary Beneficio de Café and personal explorations, his striking portraits strongly evoke beauty’s imperfections. Liedtke studied a degree in photography and printmaking at Pacific Northwest Collage of Art and since then has won numerous awards and grants. He is constantly looking for new ways to approach the world through art and depicting human blemishes as one of Nature’s greatest assets. This is exemplified in his most recent project Astra Velum, which at its essence explores the intricacy of surface textures: human skin and its freckles and scars, like a thin veil of stars. He spoke to us from his home in Portland, Oregon, sharing his inspiration behind the images.
What was it that initially drew you to photography as a young artist? I started photographing as a kid, and my love of photography really took root during a father-son road-trip when I was 14 years old. My dad drove our little turquoise Datsun through 31 states in 30 days. That’s when I first remember taking a lot of photographs, looking for good compositions, and going through a lot of film. I remember photographing the Washington Monument with my little Kodak 110 Instamatic, paying attention to framing it within the branches of a cherry tree. As an art form, photography can go far
beyond documentation and be a means of portraying things as I imagine them. Whether I’m documenting or dreaming through photographs, I’m able to share with others what I see, giving them opportunity to understand what I care about. Your work seems to centre on individuals and their stories – do you feel that the camera has a special capacity to tell a personal story? Photography and videography are perceived as being more ‘factual’ or ‘objective’ in representing reality than, say, a painting. For this
reason, we (rightly or wrongly) give a photograph more credibility than a painting of the same scene. We feel as if we’re in the room with the subject, and we can see their life just as they live it—from the scars on their wrists to the pictures on their wall. It is this ability to capture people and their surroundings that gives a photograph its ‘biographical’ nature, and allows us to tell a person’s story in a believable manner. Your subject matter ranges from adolescence to the raw power of fires to the beauty of freckles – where do you draw your inspiration? There is no single answer to the question of where my ideas originate; it varies from project to project. I’m simply intrigued by something visually (such as freckles), or I have a personal connection with a particular subject. Other times I am awarded a residency for which I have to work in a certain locale and I find a person or locale intriguing enough to document it. I can find something so wild and interesting, that it becomes the inspiration for several different projects. I’m always thinking about what I might do next; my archives are strewn with the debris of projects I’ve explored but not finished—yet. And inspiration for Astra Velum? April, a freckled woman whom I photographed for Astra Velum, told me a story from her childhood. One day after playing outside, her grandmother asked her to go wash up. She went to the bathroom and did so, but grandma wasn’t satisfied. “Your face isn’t clean! Go scrub it some more!” The young girl was distraught, for all that was left on her skin were her freckles, and no amount of scrubbing would make them go away. Many people view freckles as an aberration or blemish, but I find them enchanting, unique, even exotic. As a result, more than once while pho-
tographing for this series a model thanked me for making something beautiful out of what they had often viewed as a flaw. The use of Photogravure in this work seems to add an element of depth and rawness to the images. What made you decide to use this method for this particular series? While I enjoy the flexibility and precision of digital photography, I feel increasingly distant from the handmade quality of photog-
raphy—the manual labor of developing film and burning prints. For this reason I’m drawn to processes like tintype, encaustic, and photogravure, which show clear evidence of the artist’s involvement with the final product. Photogravure is a traditional technique in printmaking. It is a method of impressing a handmade Japanese paper in between the ink and the backing paper and the result is a print whose depth and luminescence is unmatched by any other photographic process. I enjoy the craftiness of it but I’m also
all the parts fit together just so. And by ‘beautiful’ I don’t necessarily mean ‘pretty.’ The subject matter is unimportant; an Emily Dickinson poem about death can be as beautiful as an E.E. Cummings poem about life. In a world fraught with the implications of entropy, we have to find beauty in imperfections. For me, flaws—both real and perceived—are what make people unique and intriguing. Do you feel that it is important for artists to go beyond the notions of conventional beauty? Our culture glorifies the pretty, and everyone deals with the consequences. The fallout manifests itself in many ways. In my work, I see this in adolescents, who strive so hard to be popular and pretty—and who may bear the weight of their failure for the rest of their lives. I see it in women and men trying to fit in to society’s thin definition of beauty. Good art has a way of reminding us that life is about more than what is on the surface, and that beauty is more than skin deep. I think Frederick Buechner says it best in Whistling in the Dark:
How do you define beauty?
If we are to love our neighbours, before doing anything else we must see our neighbours. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.
I would define ‘beautiful’ as being something meaningful, integral, whole, right, complete:
By Nahema Marchel and Lucinda Elliot
drawn to the tactile nature of a photogravure: the indentations it leaves on the final print, the traces of unwiped ink at its edges. Photogravures seemed the perfect medium for a series, which, at its essence, explores the beauty of surface textures: human skin and its scars.
Newspaper Poems Anna Godfrey
design floor (elegantly wasted) by rosemary wagg
A crumpled bag of broken pearls, she lies on the dark, thick rug. A mahogany canopy, the oval table half looms over her little curved body. It is a warm, summer evening and outside there are tweets of laughter, ripples of a trumpet and the occasional screech of drunk party girl impersonating a barn owl at twilight.
The carpet is made up of a vertical pattern of black, silver and emerald green cuboids. They dance out from her eyes, rise up like miniature Chrysler buildings and make silver tramlines which expand from here to the sea shore at Nice. This odd shape of a blurred martini glass keeps suicide watch by the leg of the table and a brief thought of a cat walking by flutters into her head and then out again. Decorated in a glitzy column of a white chiffon dress which tickles her calves, her ungainly feet are displayed in their dirty leather boxes. Her left hand touches her forehead as though it will bang all that is inside back into place and the right hand reaches towards the long string of pearls. Counting the beads, her nails make tiny knocking noises; her own pretty, flirty fingers re-enacting the
movements of the gnarly hands of nuns. With a great heave of the earth, her right foot moves back from across the left and takes a gentle thud to the floor. There is this horrible smell coming from the rug, from walked-in tobacco and the footprints of pets. Among these ashes she doesn’t feel too bad. ‘It is them,’ she thinks ‘that are so odd to stay out on the lawn when they could be lying under tables.’ The trickle of voices is getting more foggy and the screeching of owls comes less frequently. Two tiny breaths in and a little contraction of the gin shrink wrap around her frontal lobes, then a little cloggy feeling of sick somewhere at the back of the throat. She thinks more of cats, of being a cat and – breathe – falls into the slumber.
Went out with the girlfriend last night. Had a few drinks with the lads before we met up. Right laugh. Ended up dancing in the street. Lost it a bit on the way back, she and her mate had to carry me. Recovered later, though, managed To get my leg over. Was a bit sick On the bedclothes. Felt pretty horrible But I cleaned it up. She wouldnâ€™t mind. Stank something shocking, it must be said, Reminded me of hospital. A night to remember, anyway. Being her birthday. Trevor Hughes 28
The solom bee, he could no longer bare it. Careless thoughts provoking the mind he pondered under concealed fantasy; that no longer did he wish to follow. Expectation of direction, the fellow bees are accustomed to aspire. He seldom cares for the breath of the next; transcends in certainty to his own wistful dream. Not to be sweet, more something other. Carrying the burden of normality
and no reason for the belief of another. There is no need. The bumblebee in pure mind excels to discover, the truth of his motion; stagnated puzzle, paradoxed staccato beat. Clarity of action should not perplex. It is the mindâ€™s eye that distorts, but always knows the wants of this here bumblebee. Alice Piper