Cherry Kino

Cherry Kino

Sunday, 24 March 2013


I travelled around Australia when I was 18. I recently found some old notebooks from that time, and I'm so glad I wrote them, it is crazy how selective memory can be when you don't write things down or have images or poems or notes or addresses of people you met and little quotes of things you shared, jokes, pressed flowers and plants... When I was there, I purposefully didn't take a camera with me, because I wanted to impress my experiences on my memory, and not be dependent on artefacts. And this really did work in so many ways - I can still smell and see the desert flowers near Alice Springs, I can feel the smoothness of that dinosaur egg rock I found, I can still see the delicate trembling heartbeats of baby ostrich chicks I came across walking in the desert, I can still see the flame orange collar of the mating dragons. The time I'm thinking of was in the desert after there had been more rain than usual, and everything seemed to be mating, creating, full of life. But that said, I think I would have forgotten so much more if I hadn't written it down. The same is true with my dreams. Reading over a dream journal I can remember my dreams, some of them very strongly, and otherwise my conscious mind would have kept them cosy and untouched under a soft blanket of forgetfulness.

So here are some poems I wrote on my travels. Remembrances of feelings and experiences that, reading them again, come back to me and whisper: 'we never really left'.

"Watching you sleep
my gentle hand around
the curve of your chest
I want, suddenly, to shake
your sombre heart awake.

Where can I go in
this warm rainy night
now you have sucked
hot blood from my lips
with tongues of fire?"

"My fingers spread out over a graze on my knee, exposing the wound. I watch, as little red fountains leap up to dance together on my itching flesh.
I think of you.
I slide my forefinger slowly across and make a smudge.
Tastes like metal.
2 pence pieces awake on my lazy tongue."

"Soft sexy jazz swells me up
expanding, demanding I see your face.
I don't think but there's no
hesitation. The memory belongs to
the heart.
Shivery breathing and jolting gut, gulping air as I
Remember. Whilrlpools of fire and air
in a sandstorm of fluid.
Atlantis. (In at last?)
The 'lost' city is not so lost, it's under
water, that's all, and who wants to
dive in tears that deep? I. For You. Head first, eyes and teeth and...
I'm swimming now, wallowing in aqua. It's
warm on top, and my feet are ... colder.
So I plunge, delve, squirm, wiggle, fish-tail it
                                                   and down,
                                               and still down,
here I am.
Creaming the tops of these ages old towers
                                          below the sun.
It's black, and all I can do is
feel. Waiting for your
                        echo, I call. In mute bubbles.
Under here I'm cushioned from it all, entombed in
the womb of this titanic city, the heart of my tears."

x Martha

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Reminiscences of a creative time in Lisbon

In July 2007 I went to Lisbon with my Super 8 camera. It was a beautiful time - great city, incredible cavernous underground, cool air countering the hot summer days, polished cobbles leading down a huge wide promenade to the harbour, tiny narrow streets in Barrio Alto, a warren of incredible tree-root like streets in Alfama, surreal seaside in Caiscais, and a stunningly dramatic beach with giant rocks protruding from the sea at Adraga. I'll always remember that trip as the time I truly got to grips with my Super 8 camera - a Braun Nizo S800.

The reason for this post, nearly 6 years later? I was having a clear-out of things in the bedroom and I came across a bundle of bright yellow pages of hand-written notes, and I immediately recognised them as my notes I'd made that summer in 2007. I thought about tossing them away, but then decided to read through them just in case, and I'm glad I did, because it felt meaningful to me, reading over those notes - my feelings I could suddenly taste again, my thoughts I could smell. How beautiful an ability is memory!

So here is a little extract from my notes, maybe they'll interest you a little or give you some pleasure. I hope so!

"Francoise Sagan writes love and all its complexities profundities and colours tastes rhythms incessantly artfully, accurately and poetically. She captures the height of that brief and burning mania as well as its lulls and delicious limbos better than any writer ever has. Her femininity really comes through, and its flavour I love, as well as respect. She alludes to 'Wild Palms' in her novel, and mentions hands a lot, confirming my belief in and extending my comprehension of the 'manual' element to Wild Palms - hands roving over the body of one who infatuates you, one you desire deeply and seemingly without limit. I must make a film called 'Wild Palms'! It has just hit me! I should also make my mermaid/sea film. Wild Palms will have excerpts from the book in it, filmed and read out loud. It will show palm trees on time lapse, and in slow motion, and 18fps, and in b/w and colour. It will also show hands on flesh, grasping, groping, kneading, needing, frantic, slow, caressing, finger circling a palm, finger tracing a lifeline in a palm, hands in prayer, hands holding each other, fingers trailing down a mouth, tracing tissue paper tickly lips. Hands making something - bread, origami, clay. Maybe I should make my own soundtrack, write my own poetry/piece for it. I could film it, hand-written...

... Francoise Sagan writes in 'La Chamade' that anxiety, even more than jealousy, hastens the demise of love...

.... I was considering the term 'enjoy' yesterday, and how it means to be in a state of joy! How nice is that? (probably from the French 'en joie'). The old guy at this cafe has only just got around to taking my order, but I was happy just sitting here writing, and happy that he was cool with me sitting here so long not having ordered! Something that strikes me about being alone is the friendly amusement and benevolence and surprise I am greeted with. I wonder which Capitalism prefers - taking coffee together, or alone? Cam reckoned the lonely consumer was worth more, because of lack and substitutes, hunger. But, together at a table you drink more, don't you? A lonely person can emit a sort of odour, one which frightens those who are frightened of being alone themselves. We seem to be cultured to need company, sometimes I think.

x Martha

Monday, 18 March 2013

Polaroid guts

Just a really quick post with some photo experiments I've been doing with Polavision, Polaroids (or Impossible Project film), and subminiature photography!

Ok so I've been experimenting lately, it has been brilliant fun! First off is...


Polaroid's financially disastrous move into the cine market came in the early '70s. They developed this incredible thing over about 15 years which was basically a Super 8 film cartridge that could be instantly developed inside the cartridge through rewinding it after shooting it. Totally amazing invention. It only bombed because they kind of missed the 'home movie' boat in a way - digital was the way the market was headed (even then eh!). They had paired up with Eumig, who also took a massive financial hit. Even though it was a financial failure, I reckon it was a brilliant artistic invention! I came across a Polavision viewer (amazing retro brown thing!), repeat play button, 2 Polavision cameras, a really strong flashlight to go on top of the camera for indoor filming, 6 unused cartridges, and 1 cartridge marked 'Flamingo Land 1980' with a little girl looking at the animals on it, it's beautiful (and extremely messed up with age - what looks like mould on the emulsion, makes it even more gorgeous).

My imagination has been spinning out over this, and I definitely feel this is the beginning of a creative project. I shot one cartridge spinning around downstairs at Patrick Studios, by the piano and the lift, and 'processed' it using the playback machine. What I got was a joyous blue analogue static - no definable images there, but wow it is beautiful. Like being underwater. I then shot some more and tried developing it in black and white developer (as the film stock seems to be essentially a black and white film with colour layers added), but no joy - just lots of black emulsion bits. What I did discover however is that the film itself has this stunningly colourful prismatic effect when you hold it up to the light and look through it, so I've started using this on the JK optical printer in front of the gate with other footage in the gate itself, and it renders this spectrum of pastel type colours, it's amazing. Definitely pleased with this new discovery, it has sparked lots of ideas!

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR, Spectra-Pro, and Photos!

This was made for dentists! It's a beast of a machine (as my friend Adam said, trust the bloomin dentists to make a camera that's really scary!). You can focus up to 3 inches with it! It is huge. I took it out shooting around Leeds and got lots of weird looks, it looks like a sci-fi weapon from some late 70s B-movie. It takes Polaroid (or Impossible Project) 1200 film, which I have just acquired a whole bunch of (expired in 2005, has a really beautiful vintage look to it), and I also got a Spectra-Pro which is a very decent Polaroid camera that takes the same film, and not as big as the Macro one! You can even do multiple exposures with the Spectra-Pro. I'm really enjoying using instant film. I got some 4x5 expired stock too, to use in my large format camera, so I'll test that soon and see what I get.

Kiev 30 

This is a Russian-made spy camera! Based on the Minolta, it is really sturdy and they very rarely go wrong, apparently, since there's not much that can go wrong! I used Agfa microfilm in it, and processed it in D-19 (very high contrast) and I love the results - high contrast black and white film definitely does it for me. I shot the big ferris wheel in Leeds, streets in Shipley and Leeds, a burger van in Leeds Market, and lots of trees. Tiny cute negatives. Am thinking about maybe making some miniature contact sheets, or even contact printing onto black and white 16mm cine print stock - it would create some interesting rhythms where the frames separate.

x Martha