Fanny Hoetzeneder

Once a year or so, I come across work by a photographer or budding photographer and it hits the spot in terms of what I'm looking for in a photograph as a piece of art. It's an infrequent thing: after Nan Goldin, there was a gap until I discovered Francesca Woodman and then another gap until I discovered Elinor Carucci and then another gap until I discovered Rasha Kahil. I've got monographs by/ about Goldin and Woodman and am lucky enough to have two prints by Carucci and one by Kahil, hanging on my walls at home. Like Kahil, who I discovered via her MA degree show at the RCA, I recently discovered Fanny Hoetzeneder via the summer showcasing of graduating work at LCC (the London College of Communication). One of two photographs of hers caught my eye and have that hard to explain magic, especially this one whose simplicity, colour, intimacy and 'snapshot rawness' reminds me so much of Goldin and Carucci's work
The first time I saw this photograph it instantly made me think of many things, but first of all Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, my joint all-time favourite book, along with the Diary of Anne Frank. It also made me think of Sofia Coppola's grainy, colourful adaptation of The Virgin Suicides. Beyond that, the little girl reminded me of some of the faces at the Memorial de La Shoah's Memorial des Enfants (see entries on this blog) in Paris as well as my own daughter who often also has this same 'old head on young shoulders' wisely eerie 'been here, before' expression on her face.
My second favourite is almost like an accidental holiday snapshot of the sea front in Nice
I like the simple symmetry between what I'd guess to be - what I read to be - a mother and daughter, facing different directions: different generations with different outlooks. It speaks simply to me of the problems of growing up and staying connected to one's parents the way one was as a child: avoiding the inevitable generational dissonance. As with the other photograph, there's something raw to the colour too: this time, the blue holds all the power.
I've been in touch with Hoetzeneder over this summer and am buying a print from her of the first photograph. I love the story she told me about the photograph: who the girls are and how she took the photograph. It's going to look great alongside the Kahil and Caruccis.

I Camisa & Son, Old Compton Street, London

Ever since visiting Naples a LONG time ago, I've devotedly bought Kimbo coffee from I Camisa & Son, the best Italian deli in London

Roselyne Bosch's La Rafle aka The Round Up

After watching Roselyne Bosch's incredible film La Rafle aka The Round Up at the weekend, about the Vél’ d’hiv mass arrests of 13,000 Jews in and around Paris, by French authorities on Nazi orders, over July 16th and 17th 1942, (a film which moved me repeatedly to tears), I dug out various photographs I took in the Memorial des Enfants at the Memorial de la Shoah museum in Paris. None of these Jewish children in France survived being deported during the Nazi Occupation.

Visiting Unité d'habitation (Cité Radieuse)

Following on from visiting Le Corbusier's Le Cabanon in Rocquebrune the previous year, when I spent Christmas in an apartment in Nice, it was great last week to make a pilgrimage to his legendary (built 1947-1952) building Unité d'habitation (Cité Radieuse) in Marseille. It's amazing to see in person: its incredible influence everywhere since: Goldfinger's Trellick Tower in Notting Hill and around the corner from where i live, in Paddington, Lubetkin's Hallfield Estate, are totally based on this same 'everything you ever need in one place, where you live' concept. The Le Corbusier, once dubbed "La Maison du Fada" (the madman's house) is quite run down today and has a hotel on one floor.
The colours outside and inside are fantastic
I was struck by the differing materials, especially the beautiful wood
And I loved the attention to fascinating detail for instance these classical almost Roman looking lights
and amazing Deco-inspired staircase handrails
The ultimate was the rooftop pool and the views over Marseille and to the sea


Well I was wary of Marseille, based on reports from various people who had visited at various times. Some had been in the 60s and 70s and described it as a classic port city in which you seriously watch your back. Others who'd been more recently including a French family who bought a house there and left London to live in it, said it had changed a lot from its stereotype and that it was laid-back and charming in a scruffy way. We drove around Marseille by accident, after getting lost from Marseille Provence airport heading to Cassis - it seemed leafy and faded in a grand way - and the port itself was pretty.
Then we went back by train from Cassis a few days later, arriving at Gare St Charles. When you walk out of the station, you get this great view, like up at Sacre Coeur in Paris
After that we headed straight towards Le Panier, the old charming pastel washed tiny alley sized street neighborhood which slopes up from the port. The Nazis dynamited half of it. But what was left we wanted to visit. Just before we reached the steep steps to get up to its highest point (an entrance in if you like), I saw a building I'd love to live in
Le Panier turned out to be a gorgeous little maze, littered with cute houses, laundry flapping on lines out of windows and over balconies. Little shops. A cross between old Nice, Naples, the medina in Tangier, old Cadiz, old Seville.
Coming out of Le Panier, we had lunch at Cup of Tea, a bookshop meets cafe, just at the entrance to another steep climb into Le Panier, run by a cute family. After that, we checked out some shops and then took the train back to Cassis, which took less than an hour, delays included.