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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

JJJ interview

Some really wonderful opportunities have arisen recently through my recreational photography, one stemming from taking photographs of peoples shoes at Splendour in the grass. my friend Nick Findley suggested Claire Frost from JJJ artscrew do an interview on me, so here it is! follow the link and you can hear the audio recording too. scary to hear your own voice through a speaker.

J ARTS CREW :: Splendid Feet
By Claire Frost
NSW | 14.08.2006

Splendour In The Grass is as much about footwear fashion as it is about the music. Cybele Malinowski caught it on camera. Cybele Malinowski likes to take photos of people’s feet. “When I was a teenager I didn’t look at a boy’s eyes, I didn’t look at a boy’s hair or his shirt. You look straight to the feet." The Splendour in the Grass weekend just gone (or ‘Splendour in the Mud’ as it has been affectionately named) featured some of the most impressive, innovative and diverse displays of festival footwear fashion you could ever hope to see at an Aussie music festival. So it goes without saying that Cybele had a field day, and spent most of her time with her camera aimed towards the ground. “I was at Splendour last year as well, and the shoes really got me! The footwear! And I must say this year, compared to last year, it was phenomenal! I saw, literally, 500 different styles of gumboots. It was insane!”

“I think that feet - or more so, shoes - explain a lot, not only about a person, but about a situation. I mean where else would you see thousands of people walking around in fluro gumboots. It’s so novel. And honestly I’ve never seen so many gumboots in my bloody life!” There were gumboots to suit every personality. From the tragically fashionable animal-print designer gumboots selling at one entrepreneurial market stall for $100 a pop; to neatly buckled Gucci numbers; to colourful kiddie gumboots suitable only for very little people with very little feet. There were bright yellow galoshes with matching raincoats; painstakingly home-decorated white gumboots complete with glitter, fluro faux fur, pom-poms and posca pen doodlings. And at the other end of the spectrum were the daggy-but-practical, all-terrain black gumboots - a highly sought-after commodity purchased from hardware shops along the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane.

“I think perhaps one of the other reasons I was focusing so much on people’s gumboots was because I didn’t have any myself. I left mine at home and I was a bit gumboot jealous.” Gumbooted festival goers were at the top of the footwear food-chain, casting smug looks down at cold, wet feet struggling through shin-deep mud puddles that swallowed up flimsy thongs and made sure that the ubiquitous canvas Dunlop Volley would never be quite the same shade of white again.

Occasionally discomfort sparked innovation: “There was a man in bare feet - he’d obviously got his feet completely drenched in mud and crap - and he’d got plastic bags and tied them around his feet, so he was walking around like a space man. I captured that one.” And some punters just wanted to get back to nature: “The bare foot man. This guy was a hippy. Lovely guy, very friendly. And his feet almost become part of the ground. It was quite beautiful - they almost looked like branches of a tree."

When Cybele isn’t taking pictures of dirty feet at festivals, she’s in her Sydney studio doing product, design, architectural and fashion photography for big clients. At 25 she’s already been working professionally for two years and runs her own business, Blue Murder Studios. “That’s really exciting and scary and hard, but there’s so much possibility. And it gives me the freedom to direct my photography in the area that I want to be in, rather than working for somebody else. I’m really trying to make my social photography and my music photography financially viable.”

On a typical Friday night, Cybele grabs her camera and ventures out to local bars and clubs and grimy underground rock and roll venues, in search of indie kids with attitude (the bigger the ego the better the photograph) and looking to “capture the raw youth and sexual energy that comes out with alcohol and night time and music.”

When she first started taking 'crowd' photos she was firmly in the minority. “There would be about 20 cameras focusing up on the stage and I was the one who was roaming around the dark corners at the back." But things are changing. "I think many websites, and street press as well, have realised the value of taking photographs of the crowd. Because if you think of a magazine, every week kids go and look at that magazine to see if they’re in it. There are a lot of photographers who photograph bands and they do a great job of it, but there’s so much happening off the stage that people miss. And I think it's really important to capture that. And of course the people in the photographs love it too.”

Cybele Malinowski’s photographs are published across a range of media, including music magazines and street press, on music and social websites, on the online photo-sharing site, flickr, and on her own website: Blue Murder Studios

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lily Allen @77

The procession of punters awaiting the Lily Allen show traverses down William St. Where around 700 eager fans wait in vain to squeeze into the underground bar with 150 capacity. The guest-list alone almost reaches that figure, despite being cut earlier in the day. It’s a small venue for a small girl who has exploded in an even smaller amount of time. The irony of having such a well publicised, well choreographed pop success in the humble walls of 77 is rather fitting. A product of underground hype funnelled through the internet into the mainstream.

Talk about hype! A 21-year-old myspace boom child. Pushed from the ordinary to the extraordinary in a matter of weeks. “Thankyou Australia for all your support over all these…year…….over all this year” she corrects herself. Topping number one in UK for her latest release ‘Smile,” she grins at the crowd as she sips on her cider and puffs a cigarette.

Her sweet yet somewhat satirical lyrics, ‘mockney’ accent, teamed with a beaming smile, big baby eyes and angel voice and shining white air max sneakers are a recipe for success. Backed by a band consisting of two ultra Brit pop looking fellas, one on base, the other on the laptop and keys, the whole crowd sings along to her contagious lyrics, and laughs along between songs when she muses about her quick success. She almost talks more than she sings. Unaffected by her new fame, she smiles and makes eye contact with each member of the crowd. She’s won us over.

This girl is cool. A much more appropriate teen idol than the Paris Hiltons or Nichole Richie’s, she has made it through her talent and proverbial balls. She is one cool girl, with a healthy and feisty attitude towards life, a great big, unaffected smile, and some beautifully uplifting songs to boot.

After 8 songs she is finished. When the audience calls out for more, she laughs “I’ve only got the one album! I’ve got nothing more.” But the crowd is hungry. As soon as she walks off stage three people jump at her abandoned lighter, and two girls almost break into a fight over her set list. The people are hungry. The media is hungry. I almost had a punch up with an over eager photographer who thought I might get in the way of him and his money shot. Is this the start of something big? Will we, the lucky ones, be saying in ten years we were there? We were there at 77 with Lily Allen.