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(By Belinda Broughton)
Boxes of negatives, no order, no dates, often the wrong negs with the proof sheets, needless to say, it's frustrating to build a database of Ervin's work. There are some things that he is singularly badly suited for, and filing negatives is one of them. But his brand of creativity thrives in chaos, as with many creative people, I think. And his process often involves reworking images by projecting negatives or turning them to positives. These days all that takes is a poke of the keyboard, but not so long ago Ervin needed to cut his negs up and place them in a contraption that allowed his hassleblad to take photos of them. The resulting negative was a positive. Make sense of that! Anyway it (and other processes he uses) means there are a lot of single negatives floating around like orphans. They don't float though, they grind around in boxes with other negative, dust and bits of whatever he used to create the images: dried flowers, feathers, bits of cut up paper. A fine mess it makes of some of them. But they have had their day anyway. Now the images on them are part of some other art work.
But, from my point of view, there are some treasures that turn up. Things that are quite different to the work that he is mostly known for. Today I found this:
Ervin made whole dioramas for his models to work within. This one looks very peasanty. As a baby, a peasant family fostered him for a few years. (Shameless plug: read Sparrow: Poems of a Refugee to find out more) this is the only one in which he owns the space. In the others he is more vulnerable, Cute, though, isn't he? Well, perhaps I am his wife, so I would think so.
You can see some of the work he went to for this shot (and others in this series). Note the window 'shadow', with its heart and curtain. Also, not only did he buy and put together the floorboards but he added the skirting boards to the studio at the time. He also made the chair and stool and wore out the boots, though maybe not just for this photo.
I worked this image up from several others, a woodblock image, and a plastered wall. The figures are all my wife, Belinda Broughton, but taken several years apart. In the full figure she is performing Lilith. Lilith is a very interesting goddess demon who is portrayed in some myths as being Adam's first wife and in others as a protector of children. In yet other myths she eats children. Take your pick, but she is feisty and strong and she is certainly not subservient to males!
Belinda also has several poems about Lilith which you can read on her blog. The Trouble for Lilith is about her relationship with babies, while Grudges is a more fleshed out poem about her being Adam's first wife and the ensuing issues she had with God.
Hope you enjoy my take on Lilith. She is a very interesting subject matter for me.
Also, if you missed it, I have a Video Wall on this site. It includes short videos about my art, collaborations with my wife, and some art videos by David Salomon about my life and Belinda's poems about me. Go and have a look!
(sorry this image is here twice, it's so Facebook doesn't hash it up when I share it.
Today Ervin took some photos of my shadow for a woodblock he is working on. First we went to pick up Erma from the Woollen Mills Museum exhibition where she had been doing a spot of modelling. I have an interesting relationship with Erma. I'll do a blog post on her sometime. I took this pic because of the way he's holding her!
Back in the studio he used Erma to help him set up for the shoot. She is much more patient than me.
Here he is telling me the angles and the pose. The light source is his digital projector, hence the blue light, and there are lots of other light sources and secondary shadows, but he is only interested in the shape.
I'll post some more as this print proceeds. But in the meantime, here is Erma looking elegant. He took this photo. I wonder what he'll do with it.
Ervin talks about creating his Minikin series using photography projection and mixed media.