After Stephen Shore

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


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