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Ian: 200+ lifestyle variables

London-based photographer Travis Hodges does it again, creating a series of images based around a digital trend. This time he looks at self tracking. Text and images by Travis.

"'The Quantified Self' is the process of self knowledge through self tracking. Once the preserve of researchers and technology junkies, self tracking is rapidly evolving into a mainstream trend as people are able to use smartphones and wearable sensors to record an expanding range of data and make use of its analysis. Many of the commonly tracked metrics relate to health and self improvement, but almost anything can be tracked; sleep, exercise, mood, weight, the list is almost endless as are the individual motivations for tracking. This project looks at the stories of the people who self track, the data they collect and their motivations for doing so."

Following are excerpts from their stories - to read more head over to Travis's website. If you are in London, you can see the work at Photofusion, now through middle of August, with an artists' talk on August 7th.

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Ian began tracking his health in 1974, recording exercise and weight. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2007 and given weeks to live. Ian now records over 200 areas of his daily life including liquid and food intake, alternative therapies, supplements, prescription drugs and biochemical measures. His spreadsheet now measures over 400 columns and 2,400 daily records.

Michael: Happiness

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Michael designed and built an app called Happiness as a technological alternative to chemical anti-depressants. "By staying generally conscious of my mental state I'm able to spot patterns and make changes before anything gets too overwhelming. Tracking my happiness has also helped validate various life decisions that I might otherwise doubt... It's been a while since the app has shown me a big red warning necessitating a painful life decision."

Adriana: Emotion

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Adriana uses 'Emotion Sense,' an app developed at Cambridge University, to monitor her mood and overall happiness. She inputs her mood on a grid; the app can use the phone's data to measure environmental and social influences such as how much you are using your phone and how active you are, through location tracking. Adriana always thought of herself as negative, but "it seems I am actually a lot happier and positive."

Owen: Mental performance

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Owen, a qualified pharmacist, tracks aspects of his mental performance and the effect of coffee on his short term memory, reaction time, and processing capabilities. "When I first started, using a program called Quantified Mind, I checked my mental performance when I had coffee against when I didn't have it. The results showed significant improvements in the way my mind functions, and so I've been having it ever since."

Suran: Body shape

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Suran steps into a 3D body scanner once a month to map his body shape and record measurements that would be unreliable if done by hand. "I got interested in monitoring my body-shape after my uncle died of a heart attack. One of the best predictors of heart disease is the size of your belly, but getting consistent and accurate measurements by tape measure is hard."

Barbara: Happiness and well being

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Barbara and her family use a self-designed app to track and influence their happiness. By creating and sharing tasks based on  'eight areas of life' members of the family can see what each other needs to feel happy and therefore support each other in achieving their goals. One month Barbara set 80 tasks, achieving 76 which completed 9 of the 10 self defined stepping stones for her big picture of happiness and harmony.

All images © Travis Hodges. More from this series over at his website.

Think Barbara ever watches the world news?
Photographers | Permalink |


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Rene Vincent, Verdun, France © Steve Pyke

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. The inimitable Steve Pyke completed his series of WWI veterans' portraits in 1993, by which time of course many of their fellow vets had died. He photographed British, French, German and American veterans, usually in their homes in their respective countries.

"The war had always gripped me. As a child I met and spoke openly to the old timers who had fought, including my grandfather Arthur Pyke who served as a cabin boy at the naval battle of Jutland in 1916. I realised that by chance of birth had I been born in the late 19th century, then undoubtedly I would have served.

There was one veteran in Leicester where I grew up that I got to know well. Bert Mundy had served in Flanders, he lost an eye and was mustard gassed there. We used to play chess together and he would be continually dabbing his weeping eyes whilst lecturing me on various chess moves.

The series now rests in the permanent collection of The Imperial War Museum in London. It's fitting to view these portraits again 20+ years after I made them, and on the 100th anniversary of the Great War." 
Steve Pyke, MBE.

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Emile Richard, Verdun, France

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Humbert Monaco, Long Island, USA

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Fritz Strubling, Rostock, Germany

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Len Griffiths, London, UK

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Joseph F. Billicki, Long Island, USA

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Bruno Lange, Berlin, Germany
All images © Steve Pyke

At school in England, we learned about the Great War by reading the poetry written by young men in the trenches.

"Attack" by Siegfried Sassoon.

At dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun 
In the wild purple of the glow'ring sun, 
Smouldering through spouts of drifting smoke that shroud 
The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one, 
Tanks creep and topple forward to the wire. 
The barrage roars and lifts. Then, clumsily bowed 
With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear, 
Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire. 
Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear, 
They leave their trenches, going over the top, 
While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists, 
And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists, 
Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop!
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Lewis Khan made this engrossing video about George, a lively Londoner. Take a few minutes and experience someone else's tough life.

"A friend, a neighbour, a familiar face in the street. Georgetown is a view into the life of south London resident, George.

"During a period of my adolescence that saw playing football in the street as a daily ritual, George and myself often shared the same space. Frequently we would meet with a simple nod, more frequently a hello, and on occasion George would join in for a kick about.

"Georgetown is informed by six years of these impromptu and informal meetings in the street, usually the same one." 

The film is currently on show at The Photographers' Gallery, London, as part of "Fresh Faced + Wild Eyed 2014."
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© Francisco Salgueiro

Francisco Salgueiro is a photographer and author based in Europe. This is an ongoing series of images made backstage at regional circuses all around Portugal. So far he's clocked 6 months and 8 circuses and a bunch of cool shots. Do check out his website for some other interesting, behind-the-scenes work.

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All images © Francisco Salgueiro
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Coconut seafood soup © Evelina Reinhart

Here's a complete package masquerading as a thesis project, from SVA Digital Photo grad Evelina Reinhart. Evelina suffers from acid-reflux disease and found most of the recipes already out there were not to her taste. So, she made up her own, had the dishes cooked up, and photographed them all using only natural light. Smart! The book, The Joy of Eating, is available for purchase so why not buy one for someone you know who has the same issues.


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Shrimp dumplings

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Eggplant rollatini

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Four toppings pizza

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Corn cake

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Green tea ice cream. All images © Evelina Reinhart

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Batman, from the Melting Ice Pops series © Michael Massaia

Remember that sinking feeling when your lolly falls to the ground in slow-motion? I guess someone dropped theirs in the gents', inspiring the wonderful machine that is Michael Massaia to make this, his second summer series released so far this year. They are fantastic. Using a $40,000 Leica loaner, Michael Massaia's latest project entails placing ice pops on a piece of black Plexi, allowing them to melt in their own time, and photographing them using only long exposures. 

View the full-screen magazine photo feature.

Check out his sculptural sunbathers, burnt to black in Deep in a Dream: Sheep Meadow.
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Freight-hopping in the Appalachians © Adam Void

I happily scored an original piece of art by Adam Void at Visual AIDS' Postcards from the Edge in NYC last year - it's a well-loved event, first come-first served, you choose from anonymous artworks, you pays a little money and then discover who the artist is. Adam reached out to me soon after and has kept me updated on his multi-media artistic wanderings.

In some of his Polaroid work he travels the States shooting with the Fuji Instax (which I adore), hopping trains or driving with his mates, shooting landscapes, graffiti and so on. Here are just a few selects from his growing body of work. According to his bio, he has a BA in Existential Philosophy which makes him a right geezer in my book (that's a good thing from a Brit). He describes his work as "transform(ing) the debris of contemporary society into works that address social & political issues of class, control, and community. He is dedicated to exploring the details of countercultures particular to his experience: DIY culture, graffiti, hard traveling, social activism, mysticism, and the concept of "the outsider."" 

Mr. Void has an exhibition on through July 26th, 2014, at Castell in Asheville, NC where you could see more. Or visit his website.

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All images © Adam Void
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I'm loving the idea of this limited edition boxed set of prints by friend-of-aCurator Brian David Stevens, for only £100 (that's about $170 on today's crappy exchange rate. But still a billy bargain!) 

"In the summer of 2004 photographer Stevens rose early to capture the towering speaker rigs and sound systems of the Notting Hill Carnival before the crowds arrived." Read on...

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"The sound systems, these towering monuments to volume that stay in place for three days, are portrayed starkly and simply in Stevens' photos, a far cry from the colourful, loud and crowded images that normally depict the carnival. Stevens says he wanted to shift the emphasis to the source of the music that was drawing people there in the first place, and yet was drowned out in the visual noise. "Normally you never see these streets empty, they're absolutely packed with people," he says. "I got down there very early as they were setting up and shot the huge, monolithic speakers just in the middle of the street, where they look fantastically beautiful - I think every street corner should have one on them."

(Independent publisher) Tartaruga has produced a limited boxed set of screenprints, featuring six photographs from the series screenprinted as A2 monochrome prints on to high quality archival paper.

The six prints are produced in a limited run of just 30, and come housed inside a custom printed box. 

A limited photo book / zine of the series is soon to be available from Café Royal Books, and an exhibition of the series (screenprinted by Tartaruga) is on show at The Social in London until 30 Sept 2014.

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All images © Brian David Stevens
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© Jason Wilde

There were so many great entries for the outdoor photo installation The Fence, now up in Brooklyn and Atlanta, and with such a limited number of spots available, a bunch of photographs that I loved didn't make the finals. Jason Wilde was the first person I contacted when the judging had finished - I was additionally compelled by his photo of spare ribs being eaten in the bath, and we ended up meeting on a hot day in London to talk life the universe and everything. 

Jason has been collecting notes found lying around the ever-diversifying north London housing estate where he has lived for 17 years. "Built in the 1950s, the Clarence Way estate has been a focal point of London's rapidly shifting social landscape, housing people from within Britain and abroad who have been affected by any number of diverse events and circumstances. Located a few minutes' walk north of Camden Town underground station, the six orange brick blocks that make up the estate house 1297 people (2011 census) in 354 various-sized units."

"I have witnessed the rapid diversification of the cultural mix of his community. In an attempt to record this transformation, in 2003 I started collecting handwritten notes that he found discarded on the estate. On one level, these salvaged texts are simple records of the everyday; they function to remind, instruct, organise and explain. They tell of journeys planned and taken, and list items to purchase and food to take away. Some make grand political and philosophical statements whilst others are simply mysterious."

"I have photographed these once-private texts against wallpaper backgrounds, transforming them into imaginative triggers that hint at the realities of life for a diverse group of people. These individual combinations form 'Silly Arse Broke It,' an ongoing and open-ended narrative that invites the viewer to contemplate a small inner-city community that is a microcosm for the social flux and cultural (dis)integration that characterises Britain in the 21st century." 

Go full screen for maximum magazine photo feature enjoyment.

News update: Jason was accepted to the Guernsey Photo Festival later this year, and was a winner at PhotoIreland's portfolio contest. 
Also: take a look at Jason's fabulous free portrait studio - he has made over 1500 portraits of strangers. 
Magazine | Permalink |


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Ece, Turkey. © Bilo Hussein

Bilo Hussein is one of the delightful and impressive students from NY's School of Visual Arts I met during the class thesis review this year. Here are a few images from her heartfelt series "Never Home."

"When I was growing up in Saudi Arabia, my Sudanese parents often reminded me that the country we lived in was not our home. It was only years later that I understood the implications of this - that it might become impossible for me to 'belong' to any culture and that there was no place I could comfortably call home."

"Never Home is an ongoing project driven by the sense of segregation in religion, culture and gender that I experienced as a child in Saudi Arabia. I also express my continuing wish to find a place where I can fit in regardless of belief."

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Sakura, Japan

"As I went on to arrange and shoot the portraits, I directed my subjects to think about their formative experience in their culture of origin - on the good and the bad. I found myself almost subconsciously placing them next to a window, for reasons beyond its value as a light source. I came to the realization that they were really me sitting by the window as a child, locked up in our house in Jeddah wondering if I were ever to leave this place if would find another land I could honestly call home."

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Ailin, Ecuador

Of course, she found much in common with the women she chose to photograph, all transplants from elsewhere, domestic and abroad. In post-production, Bilo layers images of New York that are significant to her and textures that relate to the person's original home. Simply lovely.

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Solah, Korea

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Sharron, USA. All images © Bilo Hussein
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