the art of selfies…….remastered


The recent welcome news that Steve is finally publishing a book of his photographs, (which I may have mentioned in passing over the last couple of weeks, I’m not sure???) has brought forth a wave of excited comments and questions on a number of Jansen and Japan-related forums……….and one of the most commonly expressed opinions is, that whilst this is very, very good news indeed, there is going to be one glaring omission from the tome of beautiful images. For, as ‘the man with the (stills) camera’, rarely do we get to see Steve in his own photos. This is the pre-digital, pre-selfie, world of photography we are talking about here – when the only way to take a photo of yourself was with the aid of a well-placed mirror, or with a self-timer setting on your camera. And, let’s be honest, who could actually be bothered with all that faffing around? I certainly couldn’t, at the time.

When I first started the blog last year, I did a piece about Steve’s ‘selfie’ photos, which I rather amusingly (to my mind, at least) titled ‘the art of selfies’ – and so, with the recent discussions around Steve being pretty much absent from his own book, I thought I would play Steve Nye to my previous John Punter, and remix, remaster and generally arse around with something I did earlier – here is the ‘art of selfies’ re-mixed and re-mastered…..12″ DJ edit.

barbieri, karn and sylvian in london's south molton street 1981
barbieri, karn and sylvian in london’s south molton street 1981

Steve has been responsible for taking some of the most iconic photographs of his former band-mates over the years, such as this incredible shot of Mick, Richard and David in South Molton Street…..pictures which give fans an insight into the admittedly insular and sometimes isolated world they inhabited during Japan’s tenure as ‘band most likely to…..’ However, this means that he is usually absent from the scene, his presence only felt from the observer’s point of view; as the man behind the camera, looking down the lens, at the image that we now see before us.

Fortunately, Steve pre-empted today’s seemingly rampant enthusiasm for “selfies” with a few of his own…..so, here we celebrate the few photos where Mr Jansen is actually on the other side of his own lens. Most of these photos have been published by Steve on his sleepyard tumblr

http://sleepyard.tumblr.com/

It’s an early, not very effective form of ‘selfie
It’s an early, not very effective form of ‘selfie

“It’s an early, not very effective form of ‘selfie’”  – a photo of Steve and Rich from the days when we had to utilise a mirror to take a selfie…

Recording The Art Of Parties / Life Without Buildings at Basing Street studios in West London with John Punter.
Recording The Art Of Parties / Life Without Buildings at Basing Street studios in West London with John Punter.

This is as close as it gets to a selfie … using a timer, camera placed on the desk. I remember this being a very productive few days with all in good spirits.

This is a great photo and made even more fabulous by the fact that David Sylvian is present only by virtue of his ear! Not that I have anything against seeing photos of Mr Sylvian; it is just such an unusual state of affairs when he isn’t the main focus of a photo.

dolphin 'selfie'- steve jansen and Iio yoshifumi
dolphin ‘selfie’- steve jansen and Iio yoshifumi

I have long had a bit of a ‘thing’ about the widelux photos Steve has published.  So much so, that I devoted a whole blog to his photos taken using this remarkable piece of kit. Steve had this camera on hand, whilst he and Richard Barbieri were recording the Dolphin Brothers album, ‘Catch The Fall’.

In this photo, he was able to literally jump into shot, as the lens panned around the room.

Another widelux shot which features Steve taken in a hotel room in Venice after the initial sessions for the Rain Tree Crow album had ended. Here he is, reflected in the mirror on the wall……in fact, I love this image so much, I have a copy of it in my bedroom!

venice hotel room
venice hotel room
david, mick and steve - visions of china video shoot
david, mick and steve – visions of china video shoot

So far, we’ve seen examples of Steve utilising mirrors and self-timers to capture his own image in a shot.

Here, he uses the tried and tested ‘reflection in a shop window’ technique, to record himself and Rich Barbieri.

steve & rich 1981
steve & rich 1981

Regular blog readers will be aware that this is one of my all time favourite shots, and will have noticed that I try to shoe-horn it into as many posts as possible, (mainly so I can get the phrase ‘dangly thing’ in frequently as I dare).  What isn’t that apparent until you see this image full sized, is how the real focus of this photograph is on Steve’s image, beautifully reflected in Mick’s shades. Had the fault not occurred (when light leaked in and damaged the film), which tends to draw the viewers eye away from the darkened lenses, then I think it would have been far more obvious.

Mick Karn aka 'dangly thing'
Mick Karn aka ‘dangly thing’

and finally…..a ‘self-mirrored’ and ‘reflected in the glasses’ shot…….

self mirrored
self mirrored

There are a number of photos of Steve, taken on his camera (and available on his website or his tumblr page) which are not strictly selfies, …….his habit of leaving his camera lying around, meant that, at times, it ended up in the hands of one of his fellow band-mates and these are the results.

rich & steve - visions of china video shoot (1)
rich & steve – visions of china video shoot (1)
rich & steve - visions of china video shoot
rich & steve – visions of china video shoot
steve & david - visions of china video shoot
steve & david – visions of china video shoot

and finally……this photo which Steve published last night, on his tumblr; showing him and Ryuichi Sakamoto relaxing. Lovely, isn’t it?

ryuichi sakamoto & self - unaware of camera abduction.
ryuichi sakamoto & self – unaware of camera abduction.

Details of how to purchase one of Steve’s prints can be found here: http://www.stevejansen.com/imageshop/index.html

Steve’s book is due to be published in October 2015. Further details will be posted on his facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Jansen-Official/803014983085400?fref=ts

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