Still a work in progress, but I’m starting to get alot more of this project narrowed down to final images….
I’ve played around with the blog layout, so if you spot any major issues/ dead links drop me a comment so I can try and fix them up!
I’ve just got back from exploring Manchester, so will posting some exhibition reviews and general thoughts very soon….
The project is almost identical to the project of a friend and fellow graduate Joe Faulkner….
The last time i looked around The Photographers’ Gallery in London there were two pieces of work by recent graduates based on exactly the same idea’s that i had joted in my scrapbook from almost a year before I saw them (namely road-side monuments and artificially built landscapes). Is this because these ideas were ‘bad’ or ‘obvious’ ideas? No, but perhaps by studying photographer so closely for so long, photography students are bound to have influences which clash and combine to create a general ‘photography consciousness’. When I had to sit through presentations by fellow photography students it always amazed me how often the same names would surface to the point where I would present the most obscure photographers i could find just to buck the trend and expose them to something other than what pops up on google image search. In fact the internet itself is testament to our massive saturation and exposure to imagery in modern life, almost everything has been photographed before.
This got me thinking if everything been photographed before and if so how can you be a truely ‘original’ photographer?
For me the simple answer is you can’t.
And its not a bad thing, being influenced by other imagery, other photographers, film, life, whatever and reacting to these influeneces is what inspires me to take photographs in the first place. I guess For the modern photographer its what generates ideas in the first place.
My point is don’t be surprised if someone else has thought of them as well.
This series of work examines man’s relationship with natural elements within landscapes. All the images for this project are shot from the point of view of a bench, using the same camera angle and often not even looking through the viewfinder, to build up cohesive collections of views. By photographing these views I want to raise questions of the manmade decisions that primarily affect these landscapes, the most obvious being why put a bench here?
By presenting the viewer with these enforced landscapes, I aim to evoke questions of space and control within what might at first appear like a banal image. Playing upon a deadpan aesthetic I aim to subvert trends in contemporary landscape photography and painting by creating similarly composed images through a randomised process. This juxtaposition between artistic intent and process is a recurring theme in my documentary work, leaving elements of the final piece up to the subject or completely up to chance.
With most of the views taken in suburban parks and gardens there is evidence of human influence within each picture, whether his be a building I the background or the fact that there is a bench there in the first place. Pursuing this project made me question the logic behind some of these benches placement, some places had a bench every 20 feet others had benches that seemingly looked out at nothing. This duality of aesthetic purpose and function was the main reason I initiated this project and influenced how I choose to approach my subject.
I think these are some of my strongest images and I now have a much better understanding of what lighting is suitable while trying to do this kind of landscape work.
Water seems to be a recurring theme through alot of this project, I seem to find these images more appealing and I think if people are attracted to it visually the idea behind the project will have more impact.
Again light conditions held me back abit when trying to shoot these images, but compositionally (particularly the image above) they are exactly what i want to do for my final series.
I quite like the image below, was wandering along the river looking for potential shots, when i noticed a set of steps cut into the mud leading to the bank, followed it down a found a bench! (I think I’ve been spending too much time doing this project if benches excite me….) the view looked out right across the river which made an interesting image.
Went to Kielder water only to find one decent picnic bench (above)…..
Nothing amazing really, I don’t like the images with restricted views from trees, I think the more open landscape create much more effective photographs.