Still a work in progress, but I’m starting to get alot more of this project narrowed down to final images….
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.
Again for this shoot I just grabbed a camera and wandered round the suburbs, photographing anything that jumped out at me. I started to think about recurring elements that I could use to tie images together, a recurring element in each image. Although I think this could have worked a whole series/ book of this could end up being abit ‘Wheres Wally?’.
I was thinking these no cold calling stickers could be a recurring element??
Gütschow’s work plays with pictoral representations of reality, presenting the viewer with montages build up from photographs to show a idealized view of nature. I guess the apparent realism of the photographic medium adds to the impact of these images, but as I’ve already stated I’m not a massive fan of photography that goes out of its way to emulate painting unless there is a personal relationship between photographer and painter. These images are very aesthetically pleasing and Im impressed with the way they are put together but for me personally overly manipulated photography doesn’t appeal to me as it distorts the inherent truthfulness of the photographic medium too much.
The series ‘Sawdust Mountain’ by Eirik Johnson looks at industries reliant on natural resources and the communities they support. The most interesting imagery follows commercial logging and salmon fishing, and the images reflect on the uncertain future of these industries as environmental issues and sustainability of stock becomes increasing difficult. I really like how the colour palette ties the series together, despite a range of photographic approachs and subject matter.
Marc Baruth’s ‘Prodigal Son’ seres is made up of staged and manipulated landscapes based on the work of the artist Paul Peter Rubens. I think the images are nicely put together, but I would like them alot more if Baruth had a more personal relationship with the artist other than they both come from the same place. Baruth’s images remind me of loretta Lux’s digital manipulations, both have a slightly disconcerting feel to them.
‘Excavations past’ by Andrew Lacon looks at abandoned industrial sites such as mines and quarries that have been reclaimed by the natural landscape and other industrial landscapes that coexist within the environment. I think its an interesting project, and for me evokes two main responses, one being an environmental concern and the other being a sense of escapism and almost serenity. The abandoned landscapes are now hidden pockets within the countryside, the kind of place you would explore when you were young.
Erika Larsen’s series ‘The Hunt’ looks at the more violent side in mans relationship with nature. The thing I like most about this body of work are the people who aren’t all the typical stereotype of the male hunter gatherer and the quite haunting images of the hunted animals. I think by showing us these kind of images Larsen reveals to us the true nature of mans relationship with nature, at a base level we’re the hunter and they are the prey.
All our pleasant places is a series by Lex Thompson that looks at manifestations of hope and failure within the landscape of contemporary America. He explores parks, gardens, theme parks and zoos, looking for a sense of Manifest Destiny – the american myth of self expansion often believed to be fueled by an almost divine sense of optimism. As a young British photographer, his images don’t really communicate this to me, rather they convey an ironic look at the eccentricities of American culture and its relationship and place within the natural landscape.
As part of this unit I had to get my portfolio reviewed by an industry professional. Mine was reviewed by Tessa Bunney, a documentry photography based in yorkshire. I really liked Tessa’s work especially her ‘Home Work’ series, and thought that her documentary background tied in quite well with my documentary/ editorial approach which makes up most of my portfolio.
Overall Tessa was very positive about my portfolio, she said I should include larger bodies of work within the folio rather than lots of smaller projects, as most viewers would be interested in my latest work. The main feedback I got from her was to do with my approach to documentary photography. Depending on the brief I like to approach strangers for my work, and Tessa encouraged me to keep doing this, she recommended that I ask everyone I meet if they could introduce me to another person, and so on. This is how Tessa gained access to all of her Yorkshire farmers.
I found talking to Tessa very interesting, although I would have liked her to have been more critical about my work and portfolio. I think Im going to keep my portfolio as it is for now, and continue to expend it with new work. I would very much like to see what other peers and photographers think of my portfolio work.