Thursday, 13 January 2011

Interview #2: Claire Atkinson

All images courtesy of Claire Atkinson

Next as part of our next interview series, Claire Atkinson has kindly offered to answer a few questions for us! A recent graduate of Bolton University, she captures her world using photography, however she does not describe herself as a photographer stating 'I express myself using a camera, making tidy souvenirs of this sad and wonderful mess' That's definitely something Cause and Effect can relate to.

Claire's pictures are quite simply are really really great!!! I love the way she captures the essence of human isolation that plagues all of us and our emotions that go with it. Her pictures are intriguing and you get a clear sense of her perspective through her ideas. Cause and Effect thinks that great things lie ahead for Ms Atkinson's work, but have a read and make up your mind up for yourself!

Tell me a bit about yourself and what art you make?

I'm a 22 year old female, very much in limbo who makes candid photos on the streets of Manchester. I wouldn't call myself a photographer though. "Photography is nothing. it is life that interests me" as Cartier-Bresson would say.

Tell me about the themes you are working on at the moment and how you explore them?

A re-occurring theme that I read in my photos is isolation in public places, which I continue to explore. Making photos on the streets uses your reflexes and subconscious. There is no time for manipulation and that really interests me. The pictures I take reflect my mood or my situation without me really being conscious of it. So I rarely go out with a theme in mind, I just shoot whatever I see and occasionally a theme emerges. 

For that reason I see it as very pure form of expression. I think there is a lot to be said for the sincerity found in simplicity. If i am reading, I'd rather see some straight talking Bukowski than a carefully crafted poem. It's the same thing with what I do. 

What’s integral to the work of an artist and what is your artistic outlook on life?

Obviously a lot of dedication is necessary, but I think that comes easily with passion. I think that everybody has the right to express themselves freely without being judged for it. 

What do you think your role as an artist has in society?

I always took pictures firstly to satisfy myself. Aside from that, I think I can show people a few things that they might have missed at first glance…maybe! 

What jobs have you done other than being an artist? Have they influenced your work in anyway?

I've worked in a supermarket, I've done data entry, I've developed film for people, I've worked for the mail service and I do odd photography jobs. The job in the supermarket taught me a lot about people actually. I was incredibly bored most of the time. It's kind of like being on a bus, all different kinds of people heading for the same place. Customers would come in everyday just to have a chat because they had nothing else to do. It showed me how mundane life can be. You could call it an introduction to the human condition.

Do you find the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract the isolation?

It can be lonely. You are on your own mission which never ends.No matter what time of day it is or what I am meant to be doing, I can never switch off from it. Trying to come up with the ideas of how to make enough money to live whilst preserving the creative energy to pursue the work you feel you are meant to be doing is hard. Being with likeminded people makes that a lot easier. 

What was the one memorable thing someone has said about your work?

A woman I met saw my project 'grey areas' and said it was "like being hugged and slapped in the face at the same time." I was happy with that. 

You can see more of Claire's work here - 

Cause and Effect

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Todd Hido (and other news!!!)

Image copyright Todd Hido

Merry Christams... oh that was two weeks ago! Well one of the nice presents that Santa left me under my invisible tree was THIS lovely book by TODD HIDO. I've been a fan of his work for ages. Take a peekers at his work. I think (hope) you'll like it.

On another note... it's a new year (i'm sure you didn't need reminding) and i'm going to be a dad and a husband this year! Amazing news for me and my partner (if only slightly dampened by the fact redundances are being handed out left, right and centre where I work!) But non-the less.... I'M GONNA BE A DAD!!! Is it ok to be scared? EXCITED (but scared).
I'm never one for making new years resolutions, they normally just become another area in which I fail. But this year I'm going to vow to love my little baby for the rest of its life and make sure it has anything it could ever wish for (well emotionally anyway)

To everyone else, have a great 2011 and hopefully I'll bump into some of you through out the year.


Cause and Effect

Thursday, 9 December 2010

INTERVIEW #1: Mark Devereux @ BlankMediaCollective

Image Copyright Mark Devereux

Mark Devereux is an artist and director of Blank Media Collective. Now in its fifth year, Blank Media Collective champions emerging artists, writers, musicians and performers by giving them a unique platform to showcase their work. The organisation is developing an excellent reputation for the high quality of its output. Blank Media Collective are proud to offer a vital support network to hundreds of creative practitioners from throughout the UK and abroad as well as its base in the North-West.
In our first of a new feature, we interviewed the man himself, Mark Devereux (or Interview #1 as he'll now surely be known!)

CAUSE & EFFECT: Blank Media Collective is a fantastic concept. What was your motivation behind launching it?

MARK DEVEREUX: The original proposal to form what is now Blank Media Collective was based around the difficulties of some friends and I showing our own personal work. We decided to meet up and work together in order to create our own opportunities and pool our resources of skills. The original team comprised of around 5 different practitioners, which has grown and expanded over the years. The ethos has always remained the same with regards to creating a platform for emerging creative people. We found a gap in the provisions for emerging artists especially in Manchester and have worked hard to give the practitioners we support the guidance and platform they deserve.

C&E: Where do you see BlankMedia’s future? Do you think the goverment cuts will have an impact in terms of your development?

MD: Blank Media Collective has an exciting future! We are just about to launch BLANKSPACE, our first multi-disciplinary creative hub in Manchester enabling the organisation to support even more creative practitioners in even more ways. This is no doubt a substantial challenge in the current climate, however we feel we have shown strength and commitment working as volunteers creating the exciting opportunities we already have. We are now challenged by a new situation but we can and have always relied upon our innovative and creative thinking to make sure the organisation goes from strength to strength. Blank Media Collective is currently an unfunded organisation. As someone said to me recently, "You can't cut nothing!". Blank Media Collective were also quoted as being "...recession proof..." in a recent article from Creative Tourist.

C&E: You’ve just put together BlankMedia’s biggest project yet, BlankWeekend. What was the idea behind that and how successful was it?

MD: BlankWeekend was devised as a celebration to launch the start of our fifth year. We wanted to show everyone the different elements of the organisation all at the same time. We wanted to challenge ourselves to create something special and hopefully inspirational for both the artists involved and the participants of the weekend. We felt BlankWeekend was a massive success, receiving applause from the artists involved, participants and a number of highly respected individuals and organisations throughout Manchester.

C&E: As a visual artist yourself, what or whose work inspires you?

MD: Many different things inspire me as an artist but one of the biggest is through my role as a curator for Blank Media Collective. I love seeing new and exciting work breaking down boundaries, challenging preconceptions and appealing to the senses. In the wider concept, I take inspiration from artists including; Olafur Elliasson, James Turrell, Anish Kapoor and my Uncle, Richard Devereux.

C&E: How do you think Manchester compares to London in terms of its art scene?

MD: That's very difficult for me to answer, as I have never spent any length of time in London so I can't comment fairly as a comparison between the two cities. As an organisation, Blank Media Collective are keen to work with groups and artists from throughout the UK and Internationally, actively seeking collaborations and networks to enable and increase our work for emerging artists.

C&E: What makes a great exhibition? What’s the best exhibition you’ve been to recently?

MD: Wow, what a question! Every exhibition has the potential to be 'great'!

C&E: We were excited to hear you’ve just taken over the EASA gallery. What are your plans for the space?

MD: BLANKSPACE is going to be a creative hub showcasing exhibitions, events, hosting workshops, discussion groups, creative studio spaces/darkrooms... the list continues! The main plan is to make BLANKSPACE accessible to all, whether you are a creative practitioner, viewer or anything in between. Come along to the launch of BLANKSPACE and our first exhibition, BlankExpression 2011 on Thursday 27 January to see in the flesh what you can get involved in. For more information keep checking our website, :0)

C&E: (in a vain and failed attempt to discover the subject of Mark's recent work) Your work is visually very interesting and abstract. What exactly is the subject you photograph in your most recent works?

MD: Good try! ;0) What do you think it's about and how do you think I made it?

C&E: What did you eat for your tea last night?

MD: An out of date steak pie (Starving Director/Artist/Curator!)

For more information about Blank Media Collective please visit and to see more of Mark's work click HERE.



Monday, 29 November 2010

Put down your paintbrushes... the secret to being a successful artist is out...

Image copyright Congo the Chimpanzee

I was reading some article on how to make it as an artist. They churned out some spiel on how you should be creative and relevant..... creative and artist, are you sure!!!!
They then gave a list of 10 things to do to make it as an artist......

10. Be smart. (i'm fairly smart, even if I do say so myself)
9. Know your weaknesses. (easy.... lack of funds)
8. Know your strengths (a good conceptual eye... yep, only the one)
7. The artist must be willing to be critiqued by third parties (non-family/friend) (feel free)
6. You can't let one opinion bring you down. (I won't and I don't)
5. Practice your craft. (I am doing)
4. Be proactive and get involved. (involved and procative is my double-barreled middle name)
3. Play with other people. (not sure what it's implying, but I like to play)
2. Take chances (tick)
1. Be assertive. (10 out of 10... Now give me some money!)

I often wonder who actually comes up with lists like these. I'd like to meet them. Ask them why the frig they feel the need to share such wisdom with us. Do they think they are going to change the life of any 'artist' by writing this bollocks. 

The bottom line is this...  there are millions and millions of 'artists' out there..... you can have as many top 10 lists as you want, but unless you have (some) talent and a big fat slice of luck then you'll probably just end up writing on a blog, moaning about it all whilst teaching the next generation to be optimistic about the world. 

On another note, this week i've mostly been listening to THESE.

Cause and Effect


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Reuters Best of the Year


I spotted this over at Manchester Photography Blog. Some fantastic and powerful images to be seen via the Reuters Best of the Year website HERE.
I particularly love image No. 11 by MARKO DJURICA, No.23 by DANISH SIDDIQU, No.33 by ADREES LATIF  (reminds of a Jeff Wall photograph), No.53 by ANDREW BIRAJ and number 5 by VALENTIN FLAURAUD (my favourite).

have a butchers. See what you think.

Not been posting on here for a while. work and what not blah blah blah.... but I will be posting more over the next few days, so turn your internet off now!!!!

Cause and Effect

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

15 minutes of fame

It's so cold at the moment!! Yikes!!! I'm sure some of you are getting tired of listening to us bleating on about stuff so as Warhol once predicted we are offering our own 15 minutes of fame. We are gonna start regularly doing interviews with people around town that you might wanna know about! If you would like to be considered for a short interview on our blog please email us at

Cause and Effect

Thursday, 11 November 2010

BlankWeekend is here...

Image copyright Raggaphoto

Blank Media are putting together a massive and spectacular weekend of art events in and around Manchester City Centre, November 12 - 14. Lots of interesting things going on from street art to photography and fine art exhibitions at various locations. Read here for a nice little write up on the weekend and some very kind words written about yours truly! Ooooooh my mum would be proud.


Cause and Effect

Jeff Wall v's Gregory Crewdson....

I was having a good old chin wag with a fellow photo type and the works of Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson came up in terms of whose was better. As a fan of both I'm able to appreciate that they are great photographers but for me Jeff Wall is the man. If ever you've seen his photo's in the flesh you'll know how amazing they are (not that Crewdson's aren't) 

Here's three of may favourite photo's by both...

Jeff Wall

Gregory Crewdson

... what do you guys reckon?


Cause and Effect

Friday, 5 November 2010

Temporary Autonomous Arts 10-13th November.

This looks so interesting and one not to miss. The Temporary Autonomous Arts exhibition starts on the 10th November until the 13th at a secret disused location. The idea of this creative event is to encompass all disciplines of art, from workshops to poetry, film, photography, installations and pretty much everything! It's open for everyone to join in and take part or volunteer. To find out more details check out their pages -

Cause and Effect

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Brian Griffin

Image copyright Brian Griffin

I've long been an admirer of Brian Griffin's work but I've never really been blown away by it. There's no doubting that he's a top photographer/artist and he is regarded by many as Britain's best photographer. I love The Big Tie project he did but some of his other stuff I just don't connect, although I can appreciate the technical qualities. Anyway, do check out his website and have a ganders for yourselves. See what you think.

Cause and Effect


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Diving bell and The Butterfly!!!!

Anouska posted THIS last week. I myself watched it last night and all I can add to her original post is bloody 'ell! I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. Amazing!

Cause and Effect