I’ve teamed up again with 5 other photographers who graduated through the OCA photography degree system; Tanya Ahmed, Dewald Botha, Keith Greenough, Nigel Haworth and Pete Mansell. Rather than just exhibit an existing body of work, Tanya came up with the idea of meeting unto shoot a common theme in our own individual ways, then winging our way over to the Oxford Riverside Gallery in Nova Scotia to exhibit what we’d done. A huge challenge!

That’s not just a challenge because the pressure is on to produce something, but also because of the costs involved. We’re all to photograph Oxford (UK), none of us live there although we all have some form of link to the city. Then Tanya and I will be heading over to Canada... We’re covering those travel costs ourselves, but we’re seeking some help through crowdfunding to cover some of those other costs involved: shooting weekend costs, exhibiting costs - printing, frames, promo costs, catalogue, preview night, etc. None of us have ever tried to fund a project this way before, so it’s a challenge... yes, most definitely.

The Indiegogo site is at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/6-photographers-go-to-oxford/x/14452470#/
The [( 6 )] FB page is at https://www.facebook.com/sixcollective/

Modern Myths and New Pastoral Paradigms

If photography is indexically tied to the present moment, the past presents something of a challenge.

Smith D (ed) 2016. Modern Myths. BJP #7849, p3

This quote from BJP is really something I will need to be thinking about as I move on with Le Loup... and it also formed part of the thread running through the OCA symposium New Pastoral Paradigms. Held at Bank Street Arts on the 23 July, the symposium featured 5 speakers, Jesse Alexander, John Umney, Christina Stohn, Michal Iwanowski and Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz. Jesse was my Landscape tutor back during the BA (he called my roundabout series “eccentric” see below), and he also wrote the recent book Perspectives on Place: Theory & Practice in Landscape Photography.

Pont de Vertou

This roundabout has precisely nothing to do with the symposium though.

Jesse kicked off the symposium with talk on two of his projects, Elementary Husbandry and The Nymph and the Shepherd. Here he wanted to present book rooted in rich ideas, open pieces of work not tied down to some pre-ordained narrative. What follows is the product of my own abbreviated note taking - more of a platform to research further than anything meaningful:

Whitchurch/dundry tractor in front of houses. Bristol at edge of green belt - edgelands luminal spaces
26 Different Endings by Mark Power
Oil by Ed Burtynsky
David Friedrich, Wanderer above the sea of fog, 1818 - romantic image of people in landscape
Potential to be critical space, not just pleasure - space to think and discuss
Relationship between urban and rural homes
Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Apollo guarding the herds of Admetus - mythological story
Pastoral Landscape, 1648 - generic landscape scene - golden light, fluffy clouds, structures and forms. Must have animals!!!! Near bottom of frame. Lovely!?!? Arcadian leanings...

Filling frame with figures - dignity in frame, not really seen before. Millet, John Ravilious, Albrecht Tubke - Dalliendorf. Realism in representations of the countryside
John Darwell, Dark Days
Andy Sewell, Something like a nest
(Luminal space between domestic and relations with agriculture)

Elementary husbandry
Work in vein of those above, finding realism in the landscape. Means to explore/ be nosy/ curious and to articulate relationship with space.
Wanted to go a little beyond that...

Keeping the countryside “the way it should be” is strong for many amateur photographers... No sign of present day life. By shooting signs of man made, becomes clear that things change quickly. - not as frenzied as street , but surprising
Incongruity of things that can be seen (plane in a field)
Birds - flight is recurring theme
Dead birds,,,

Upside down bin between neighbours. Little odd details...
Using the land as a critical statement

Layers to the pastoral

Nicholas poussin, et in Arcadia ego
Ambiguity in the age

Peter Kennard, Haywain with cruise missiles
Produced in time of countryside unrest. - missile bases and the Cold War...
Jo Spence & Terry Dennett. Remodelling Photo History
Fay Godwin, Our Forbidden Land
Ingrid Pollard, Pastoral Interlude - dislocation, Wordsworth

John Davies, Remembrance Sunday, Liverpool 13 Nov 2011 has a giant poster for Call of duty in the background!
Withnail &I _ classic pastoral themes - escape to the country

Simon Roberts Devil’s Dyke is a classic pastoral composition. Amorous themes. - shepherd with the shepherdess sort of thing, modern take...

The nymph and the shepherd draws from:
Christopher Marlowe - the passionate shepherd to his love
Sir Walter Raleigh- The nymph’s reply to her love

Taking a photo every week sending to gallery and being installed.
Not imagery to invoke romance. Diaristic.

John Umney came next. A fellow student from back when I did the BA with OCA.

Here, with I look for him he is using narratives with images to explore things from history...
Personal work (very!) - relationship with deceased father. Memory.
Set in the land.
Photography is a conversation with memory. Narrating the past, to construct new memories
Barthes - holding a photograph of a 5 year old girl, on a bridge. Essence of his mother... A construction of his own devices

Project is about a fight with father...
Can't remember it, nobody from family)can in real terms, but all could envisage it - it’s become a part of family folklore.

Landscapes in a place called Purgatory... Set up to take people away during the plague, it’s been unsettled since WW1.
Didn't want the burden of being called a landscape photographer. Didn't use tripod.
Photos of objects to start discourse
Mother never become involved narrative - she’s never even seen the work.
A reflection on the malleability of memory...

Christina Stohn spoke quietly, and with her German accent it caused me problems, hence extreme brevity...
Paradise Lost
The rumours are true

Baden Baden, Black Forest
Cultural identity


Xpansive and empty (sehnsucht)
Displacement from home/countryside
Lines- very “Gursky”

Storm damage
Death and renewal

Book - altered landscape (look for this)

Paradise lost
Visit to home town over time,
Idealised images of Black Forest
Countering traditions with contemporary view - broader narrative

Belgrade waterfront.
Displacement, gentrification

Uses books - outcome shapes the project.

Difficulty photographing own space until Been away...

Michal Iwanowski
Landscape as a place of sanctuary
I'm not a landscape photographer! (another to state this!)
Minus the mother
Personal defines the global
Study of death and grieving
Disappearing to nature

Colin Gray - worked with parents for years... Life and death
Cathartic, but will it work?
Personal. Bizarre concept - set in the landscape

Clear of People
Story of people taking journey in 1945
Poles walking from Russia - escaped...
Interested in what happened - war bad for every one

Small history, not the big story. Perspectives
(Kickstarted - I backed this, waiting with baited breath...)
Burden of national identity

Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz

I feel every stone of the road
Grandmother fought in the war during uprising. (Polish)
Travelled Germany/Poland visiting sites relevant to grandmother.


Has Instagram changed photography forever? CCP's birthday brings the present into focus

Has Instagram changed photography forever? CCP’s birthday brings the present into focus

For three decades, CCP has been at the cutting-edge of art photography. Ray Edgar looks at what that means in the age of Instagram.

On Naomi Cass' first day on the job at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, the answering machine was clogged with abuse. "There were nearly death threats from documentary photographers who were just so angry," she remembers.

Graphic designer turned artist Mimmo Cozzolino had won the prestigious biennial Leica CCP documentary award for a series of blurry family photos. Traditionalists weren't happy. The sponsors wanted to pull out.

Source: Has Instagram changed photography forever? CCP’s birthday brings the present into focus

The digital age reshapes our notion of photography. Not everyone is happy ... | Art and design | The Guardian

Instagram, selfies, citizen reportage – technology has produced a new kind of work that is finding its way into galleries

“Photography is demonstrably the most contemporary of art forms; it is the most vital, effective and universal means of communication of facts and ideas between peoples and nations.” So said Cornell Capa, the founder of the International Centre of Photography, which opened in New York in 1974 with a remit to preserve the archives and exhibit the work of what he called “concerned photographers” everywhere.

Source: The digital age reshapes our notion of photography. Not everyone is happy ... | Art and design | The Guardian

Made in Memphis: William Eggleston's surreal visions of the American south | Art and design | The Guardian

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 18.24.37On 25 May 1976, an exhibition opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that blew apart American photography. Curated by long-term director John Szarkowski, it contained around 75 prints by an artist in his mid-30s based in Memphis, Tennessee, self-taught and barely known outside the in-crowd. His name was William Eggleston.

Source: Made in Memphis: William Eggleston's surreal visions of the American south | Art and design | The Guardian

Photography is dead, long live the image ! - The Eye of Photography

The festival Rencontres d’Arles is sumptuous and surprising; moreover, it is entering a new stage in its history: the end of an era, the demise of those methodical pieces of paper called prints and the end of academic celebration of photography. “There are hardly any real photographers exhibited any more,” proclaimed yesterday a legendary Parisian figure. Well, yes, photography has exploded, it has become communication, it has replaced words and transformed into image. This transmutation is due as much to Sam Stourdzé’s festival program, which breaks all the conventional codes, as to the profound and drastic change effected by Maja Hoffmann and her Luma Foundation—but we will say more about this on Monday

Source: Photography is dead, long live the image ! - The Eye of Photography

Alec Soth : Gathered Leaves @ NMM


A few weeks ago I went to see Alec Soth's Gathered Leaves at the National Media Museum in Bradford. I'm fairly familiar with Soth's work, I have a few of his books, including a set of smaller scale publications that also goes by the name Gathered Leaves. In that respect, I don't actually believe there was anything "new" there for me, anything that I'd not seen. That doesn't mean to say it was an empty experience though. Despite what I think about books being my favoured form of consumption for photography, there can still be something incredibly satisfying seeing the same images printed larger and this was the case here. It's not always the case and I didn't gel with Struth's incredibly large prints at The Whitechapel Gallery a few years ago, for example. Here though, they impressed.

The exhibition itself was split into bodies of work in different rooms. First was Sleeping by Mississippi, with the prints measuring a large but relatively modest 40x50cm. The frames were in white, the prints in colour, with turquoise being prevalent. A curatorial choice for the gallery walls as I didn't really recall the book striking me in the same way and a further check confirms this. Yes, there are a number of “colder” images in terms of the colours, but not quite so striking as it appeared in the gallery. It changed my reaction to the images.

The second room, now it's Niagara. Larger prints (from 81x102cm to 112x152cm) in pale wooden frames. A very different feel, with a shallower depth of field than Mississippi. The varied size of the prints mean that the photographs interact with each other differently than before. The first room was regimented, regular and perhaps more familiar. Now there is an otherness. More dreamlike, perhaps even haunting in its melancholy. There are elements of this in the book, but again, the tighter curatorial selections has emphasised this.

Broken Manual is again a series of larger prints, this time in grey frames. There are also some smaller prints too, even some in black and white. The change somehow suits the subject matter, makes it a little more abstract, out of the ordinary. This is perhaps the area of Soth’s work I’m least familiar with, I could do worse than get to grips with it...

Finally, it’s Songbook. Black and white prints in the style of a small town newspaper reporter, but printed much larger than your tabloid at 99x132cm (and similar larger sizes) with dark grey frames. Songbook is Soth’s latest collection, the images have been stripped of any newspaper captions, so there’s a sense of something missing. There’s a lot to consider here, with the style of the images counterpointing the reason they were taken.

Alec Soth, Bill, Sandusky, Ohio




“The road is one of the main elements planned by men in contemporary age capable of producing landscape.” John Brinckerhoff Jackson

The road is not only an integral and indivisible part of the territory but it can also create new forms, new spaces, new landscapes. Among the elements of this new relationship between the parts and the whole thing we can find: cars, gas stations, motels, hotels, billboards, signs, houses, fences, gates, malls, junctions, detours, flowerbeds, curbs, connections…Lived spaces and unstable areas that interchange themselves with those of static and geometric maps. The aesthetics of speed as a metaphor to reach the joy, the journey of discovery, the frantic oblivion of the ordinary world. A fast car, the desire of freedom inside, dark and steaming long streets spreading out, looking at the infinite. An alternate lingering prefiguring uncertain migrations.

An Endless Road as an Endless Summer…

Source: LANDSCAPE STORIES: LS_24 editorial