Plouie 2


A few points from a hangout.

Monday’s hangout introduced some of the major projects for the coming year; a research presentation, a scholarly debate and a contextual study. These notes are just a verbatim copy of the things I jotted down during the session (italics are thoughts added later):

Contextual Study

Research Question - look at something in more depth - What if? How might? etc.

Research relating to work - question, & how material might impact work > follow up something...

Sharing questions.


Peer review!

Put it out there on the table - tentative questions

We will be sharing drafts and receiving comments on what we’ve been writing - learning about others by their comments and by their work

Moving into small groups, with Monika and Alison - Monika had connection problems so much done via chatbox

Essay : Journey / road trip? Something around this subject.

Art out of the gallery.


Alison 17:31

How about literature Rob - thinking of road trips I think films and books?

Monika 17:31

it was a real challenge



taxi driver

me 17:32

I find it really hard to read...

(on the road) (Talking about Kerouac’s book...)

Monika 17:33

boyle - Hear book - a young not hearing woman tries to get back here card dates...

is it better

I´m thinking about memory

Hairs in memory

personal memory

last century

me 17:34

A few of the people on the BA photography course are looking at that (memory)

Monika 17:34

German history ....... realting to the third generation

no hair (asked if meant “heir”)


Are you using hair?

Monika 17:35

hair is something special there exist memory amuletts

yes I want to stitch with them

hair has DNA - personal memory

no maps travelling routes

refugee routs


I collect long hair from the girl friend of my son

I want to set a grand- uncle memory beside a refuguee of nowadays

hair - what does it mean in art


thanks - refugees - we have a lot in our village now



yes they are coming - no place etc.

and my relatives were refugees as well

yes my mother as well , my grandmother


yes - but it could be interesting to see it beside

lets do an exhibition together (our two takes on the journey)

time aspect by road trip

why not


see you

TC Boyle - Talk Talk - book about a road trip.

The research question to be ready for discussion by 25th Jan.

Intersections & Articulations

Research & informal presentations - 7-10 minutes long

Cultural practice - look @ aspects thereof

Participation : audience / other artists

Collaboration : audience / other artists

Interventions : corporations / schools / hospitals

Engagements : place / technique

Site : situation / mail (?)

Display : curation / information / performance

Documentation : archive

What have others done? Success & failures

Socially engaged work

Role of the museum

Social media

Reflections of experience : as artist / as audience

Data : stats / figures / funding / topical issues

Role of artists in migration

Political funding : effect on sites / effect on audience

Ethics & concerns

Christo & Jean-Claude - site specific interventions

Audience - Emma / Monika / Mwamba

Engagement - Mathew / Tanya

Site - Sue / Alison / Ines

Display - Me / Máire

Research in to display:

Artists approach to display. Examples / Options / Opportunities (modern/pomo/post-internet)

Affect of venue & media


NOT about own work...


Interpret this the way we want to.

Leads into testing our boundaries...

Informal - notes and images, not PK
(pecha kucha)

For presentation on 26th Jan.


Formal presentation!

Take and argue a position from critical standpoint

Use evidence! (interviews/articles, etc)

This is NOT an exercise in passion or even needing to relate to own work.

Scholarly take!

For or Against (working in PAIRS)

Format: 15 minutes each, followed by debate.



Be controversial if you want

Be challenging

*ability to unpick evidence*

Subject : The ethics of Appropriation - (FOR, with Tanya against)




For presentation on 18th Jan.


Pont Coz

Pont Coz


Free Speech Exhibition and censorship

It seems ever so slightly ironic… and what’s more, the police decided it wasn’t real art anyway (well, that how I read it…)

MimsyBanned … A detail from Isis Threaten Sylvania by the artist Mimsy. From the Guardian website

Artwork showing Sylvanian Families terrorised by Isis banned from free speech exhibitionIsis Threaten Sylvania by the artist Mimsy is removed from Passion for Freedom exhibition at London’s Mall Galleries, after police raise security concerns.Visitors to a London exhibition celebrating freedom of expression this week found plenty of familiar taboo-busting work, from Jamie McCartney’s The Great Wall of Vagina, an eight-foot long cast featuring the genitals of 400 women, to Kubra Khademi’s video of an eight-minute walk she made through Kabul in Afganistan, dressed in lushly contoured body armour. But they will have looked in vain for one work detailed in the catalogue by an artist known only as Mimsy.

Source: Artwork showing Sylvanian Families terrorised by Isis banned from free speech exhibition | Art and design | The Guardian


After Stephen Shore - a development?


When I was talking to Caroline in my recent tutorial about planned work going forward for the year, there was some discussion about making
After Stephen Shore a little less obvious. I wasn't really sure how I might like/want to do this; layering was mentioned and I've tried this with an image I'd already created for Wolf Street, going back to the area on Google Street View to recapture the area in order to allow me to work with it beyond what I did first time (the first image I've included here).

Wolf 1
Wolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jun 2014

This was my first take, a slightly wider view to that Shore recorded back in 1976 (here - from Christies).

Layering Shore's image over what I recaptured gives this:

Shore Wolf CompositeWolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [composite]

For me, it feels like it's trying to be something it's not meant to be, or at least that it's trying to be something that I hadn't originally envisaged. I don't feel drawn to this at all. Perhaps this is because I've seen it a number of times, notably with the recent centenary remembrance of WW1, when historical images were layered onto modern images from GSV - I think this was on the Guardian website but I can't be sure and haven't gone back to check. Shore's image also feels lost in there, as it obfuscates the GSV image. All a bit messy I fear (not that I'm adverse to removing information, it's one of the things that drew me to Provoke).

Where to go then?

I recently started (re)reading
Land Matters: Landscape, Photography, Culture and Identity by Liz Wells with the hope that it will inform my next trip over to France and the photography I make there for Le loup.... However, there was a quote at the head of chapter 5 from Lucy Lippard that went as follows:

Photographs are about memory - or perhaps about the absence of memory, providing pictures to fill voids, illustrating and sometimes falsifying our collective memory.

This immediately struck home. I'd mentioned that there was something about Shore's work that triggered a false memory in me, something I'd assumed came from watching 70s cop shows like Starsky and Hutch or Kojak back when I was younger. Maybe it is actually more akin to what Lippard described, maybe it's just the power of the photograph? Reading and re-reading this quote, two things came through to me. Memory (already mentioned), and void. Shore's photographs are filling a void - what if I was to take them away? I'd be left with a void chosen by Shore - if I was to omit what Shore photographed, you're left with all those things that he didn't want to show. The "elephant in the garden" if you like (a reference I often refer to from Errol Morris' book
Believing is Seeing - parts of which are available online here, which includes the aforementioned elephant standing outside one of Roger Fenton's photographs...).

Is this a possibility? That I void the images? As I already have the above composite file, it's straight forward enough to create the equivalent void, so that's what I've done.

Shore Wolf Blacked 2
Wolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [void]

The immediate question now gets raised: "What is missing? What are we not allowed to see?" There's a niggle there. Will anyone recognise this hole is the size and position of Shore's image? I would doubt it. Other than in my choice of series name (assuming I keep it as it is), there is no obvious link.

Does the opposite image add anything?

Shore Wolf Blacked 1
Wolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [un-void]

Would these images make sense as a diptych? Is there any point in doing this? I really don't know... I suppose it brings back the lost information. Does it need to? Something to think about, to deliberate over...

Something else to consider will be the extent of what I can capture from GSV, this image was fairly straight forward in that it was approximately the same angle, etc. - the GSV image is taken from a similar (although not the same) location. This will not be the case with all of them. It shouldn't be a major cause for concern, but it's a factor.

Should the Shore rectangle be in the middle of the image? Purist design aesthetics might want to push in that direction, but does it being off-centre "do" anything?

I'll let this sit in my head for a while before I make any decisions on it.


Morris, E. 2011.
Believing is Seeing (observations on the mysteries of photography). New York. The Penguin Press.

Wells, L. 2011.
Land Matters: landscape photography, culture and identity. London. IB Tauris & Co Ltd


An Dre Nevez

An Dre Nevez


Le Loup, le Renard et la Belette

I’m going to post an (ir)regular image from the bank of images I’m accruing for Le loup… just to slowly build up a sort of gallery from which I will draw the final curated “narrative” (or whatever it will be).

Plouie 1

Aesthetica Magazine – Interview with Photographer Jeff Brouws, Diffusion Photo Festival, Ffotogallery


A: In what ways do you think your work interacts with and redefines the common spaces that you depict, particularly in abandoned spaces such as motels and strip malls?JB: Many of the motels I’ve chosen to photograph—older building stock representing the remnants of 1950s two-lane road culture—have seen better days. Instead of being overnight housing for a vacationing family as they once were, they are now sites of prostitution, drug dealing, or temporary shelter for society’s marginalised: the near-homeless, single mothers with children on government aid, or disabled veterans who are under-employed. This scenario is far from the road-trip ideal depicted in those happy road movies from the 1950s and 60s. These images, made in the late 1980 / early 1990s, don’t reflect the optimism of that prior era, but rather speak more about the failure of expectations, and the slow demise of “the dream” where something has gone awry (see Motel Drive, Fresno, 1992; Highway 395, Inyokern, California 1989; Moab, Utah 1992).Another motel image in the exhibition (Incursion V, Green River, Wyoming, 2014) deals with an entirely different issue: corporate America’s subjugation of the landscape and disregard for natural beauty. In this case a Hampton Inn gets built adjacent to historic landforms that once guided 19th century pioneering Americans travelling along the Oregon Trail. This aesthetic despoiling of the countryside is troubling to me. Instead of being sites of community, which the original developers hailed them as, we find alienated shoppers seeking solace by buying more “stuff” amidst a backdrop of stultifying, homogenous architecture, fluorescent lights, and garish display (see Franchised Landscapes #10, #20, #26, and Wal-Mart At Night). Hopefully my photographs highlight the discrepancies between diaphanous myth and concrete reality.

Jeff seems a really nice chap, and was certainly really helpful when I approached him for help for Ruscha’s Gasoline Stations Revisited. I’m hoping to get to Diffusion, although it may well prove difficult, but Jeff’s work would be good to see first hand, not to mention that of Todd Hido…

Source: Aesthetica Magazine – Interview with Photographer Jeff Brouws, Diffusion Photo Festival, Ffotogallery

Something to talk about...

Next Monday is the first of Year 2’s one-to-one tutorials, looking forward for the year. We need something to talk about, and this is it:

Le Loup...

After Stephen Shore

Station to Station

Hopes and aims for the next 9 months or so...

What do I want to achieve over the next year of the MA?

Well, I suppose I was slightly disappointed with my performance over the last couple of months in terms of getting myself out there, so that would be a good place to start. I took my foot off the gas, my eye off the ball and all those other over used phrases that can describe what happened over the summer. I guess another one has to be that I took a break and tried to re-energise - 40 hours a week doing the day job, together with the 6 or so hours of travelling can take it out of you when you combine that with studying for the MA and then all those family and friend commitments, and everything else life tends to throw at you. It sounds like I'm just making excuses here, and so it might be, but I'm also trying to put things into perspective. So, no I didn't make the progress I had thought I could over the summer in terms of getting exposure, but if you go back to the middle of last year, there has been some:

  • July-August 2014 - [( 6 )], at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield. A group exhibition I organised in conjunction with 5 other photographers (including Tanya). The prints from this exhibition have gone on to be shown at the OCA offices and BVL, one of the sponsors.
  • November 2014 - Papergirl Blackburn, a community arts venture that exhibited then distributed the art within the Blackburn community.
  • June-July 2015 - APhF:15, at Benaki Museum as part of the Athens Photo Festival.

I was included in Issue 9 of #Photography, an online and print photography magazine. I also got a mention in Big Issue in the North to coincide with the [( 6 )] show. Various projects are also being featured in the newly designed photography course notes, illustrating the various threads running through them.

During this period, I've also produced the catalogue for the [( 6 )] show (available here) and the book version of Ruscha's Gasoline Stations Revisited (available here).

I also redesigned my website at, it seems to hang together a bit better now.

So, no, it wasn't what I wanted, it wasn't major coverage, but it was something. And something is, of course, better than nothing. And this is all leading to the fact that my main goal this year is to actually interact with my audience more, to exhibit and to publish. Which is handy because this is one of the course threads. Actually, I probably need to find my audience in the first instance; family and friends are great for moral support, but I actually need a little bit more...

Another thing I want to achieve is to produce a couple more bodies of work. I actually have three projects that are truly "ongoing", and another one that I just need to close down (finally). These are, in no particular order:

  • Le Loup, le renard et la balette. A body that will hopefully coalesce over the course of the year, although I have no real specific goal other than it will be all shot in Brittany and to not include people.
  • After Stephen Shore. A sort of progression from the Ruscha work, but without the diesel. This is perhaps more something to work on when I'm not in/just back from France.
  • Station to Station. A slower burn study of train stations - I don't take the train that often, so this will understandably take time but I would still like to make some progress.
  • Thirteen Ribble Valley Petrol Stations. I just need to grab the last one to finish of what was intended as the counterpoint to last years Ruscha project. Something for a quiet Sunday morning...

Other things will likely crop up as the year goes, I'll see what triggers from discussions along the way (things always change).

Takuma Nakahira

Earlier this week I heard the news that one of the photographers that I’ve long admired, Takuma Nakahira, had passed away at the age of 77. Nakahira was one of the triumvirate of Provoke photographers, alongside the Yutaka Takanashi and the more celebrated (in the West) Daido Moriyama (who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago). Daido joined Provoke after the first issue had been published by Takanashi and Nakahira, with Koji Taki (a critic) and Takahiko Okada (a writer). The magazine looked to interrogate the relationship between the printed word and image, and it featured the following manifesto:

“The image by itself is not a thought. It cannot possess a wholeness like that of a concept. Neither is it an interchangeable code like language. Yet its irreversible materiality – the reality that is cut out by the camera – constitutes the opposite side of language, and for this reason at times it stimulates the world of language and concepts. When this happens, language transcends its fixed and conceptualised self, transforming into a new language, and therefore new thought.

At this singular moment – now – language loses its material basis – in short its reality – and drifts into space, we photographers must go on grasping with our own eyes those fragments of reality that cannot possibly be captured with existing language, actively putting forth materials against language and against thought. Despite some reservations, this is why we have given Provoke the subtitle “provocative materials for thought”.” (Vartanian, Kenekom, 2009, p17)

Their shared aesthetic was one of are, bure, boke (grainy, blurry, out of focus). In using this style, the photographers left information out of their images, reducing the clarity of narrative with the aim of creating “pure” images that were not so much a source of information, but a stimulus for questions. These questions are undoubtedly of a political nature given the economic and political status within Japan at the time, with cracks in the boom economy that came with American occupation beginning to appear. Certainly, Provoke style photography rebelled against what was perceived as a Japan becoming bland and perhaps somewhat sterile through subservience to the influence of American interactions and its pop culture. 1968, when Provoke was first published, was a turbulent time in Japan, and the rest of the world for that matter, and parallels can be drawn to the writings of Barthes, Debord and the Parisian troubles of that era.

There were three issues of Provoke, and the three photographers each created a photobook during the same era, For a Language to Come (Kitanubeki Kotoba no Tamenu) by Nakahira was the first of these books and was, from my understanding, the most political, railing against America and the way that the city was changing (and therefore the very essence of Japanese community too). The images across the pages are difficult to read because of the aesthetic, but also because they’re also very much black, and white, with very little between. Perhaps this is because the version I have, an Osiris reprint, will have to be based on the original book rather than on his original negative (he became depressed because they didn’t go far enough in terms of his new “language”, and he destroyed many of them). The original book will have been printed in a gravure method, with rich and deep, inky blacks. Perhaps it’s because many of the images are taken at night, starkly contrasted with the bright Tokyo neon. Whichever, the lack of definitive and descriptive information certainly achieved their goal, and will, I suspect, put many viewers off looking at them. They’re aggressive and difficult to fathom, you have to work at it. Personally, I find the reward makes this worthwhile.

Images from

Vartanian, I. Kenekom, R. 2009. Japanese photobooks of the 1960s and ‘70s. New York. Aperture Foundation.


Chemical-Soaked Photographs Explore The Wild Realities Of Polluted Places

I came to this via Twitter and it struck me (quite obviously) as being related to last term's Ruscha's Gasoline Stations Revisited project... Some interesting effects, but I'm really not convinced it's something I want to explore any further. I feel like I've done it and need to move to something (a little) different. I fear that the process and the corruption it produces can become more important than the context and meaning.

Huffington Post

According to his online biography, artist Brandon Seidler grew up in a part of New Jersey "where the ocean and the mountains met," a place that taught him to see the beauty in imperfections. These days, those early imperfections take center stage in Seidler's career as a photographer. His hallucinatory series, "Impure," features landscapes that appear to be ripped straight from a vintage science-fiction film, with colors and shapes blending in ways both creepily familiar and altogether alien. But sci-fi they are not. Seidler captures real places, mostly lands in and around New Jersey and the Hudson River, that have been historically contaminated by various chemical pollutants. He then takes his photographic negatives and soaks them in the very same chemicals found to be befouling the bodies of water and land he's documenting. The results attempt to reveal the tainted realities of America's natural havens.

"I started this project my senior year at Ramapo College of New Jersey," Seidler explained to The Huffington Post. "Originally I was just taking pictures and finding ways to alter the camera or film with chemicals. After a few critiques I decided that I needed to add something to my images to help give them meaning, and that’s when I decided to research chemical spills in the area and pair those chemicals with the film negatives."

Source: Chemical-Soaked Photographs Explore The Wild Realities Of Polluted Places