205dpi Issue Nov’15
Christina Ferris ‘Homage to Tony’ Graphic Artist www.antichristy.com
This issue Nov’15
Who are we? We are photographers. Journalistic ones. We document, record and capture anything we find interesting, beautiful or captivating. Sometimes our stories may seem strange or unusual, but we are the eye behind it all; and that’s what this magazine is all about. From cakes to paralympics, graffiti to kickboxing, our editorial documentary style takes us around Cornwall, the UK and the rest of the world. Follow us and our collective of photographers as we capture our adventures, our remarkable stories and our everyday lives.
What’ve we been doing? As 2015 draws to a close we look back and celebrate another fantastic year for 205dpi. This issue features 6 more talented photographers and the editorial team would like to thank all of our photographers for their work throughout 2015. We would like to wish all our contributors, readers and supporters a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016.
p.s. keep updated: 4.
42 Feature Story
Bill Jackson An extended feature for a photographic great. Bill shares his time in the industry in our interview.
26 2. Dominic
Documented a unique sheep hearding event on the mountain tops of Switzerland.
Monthly Single Images: Ana Cross Katie Shorey
34 3. Lucas
Captured all the delicious colours, shapes and textures found in the city of New York.
Followed the paths of strangers, temporally viewing life through someone elses eyes.
40 4. Dom
Explored our connection to everything TV and cinema related, and how it translates to photography.
Real Talk with Bill Jackson
“Know the rules, then break them if possible but only if it has meaning.” Bill Jackson is a photographer with many strings to his bow. Having started his professional career in the 80’s, Bill has experienced multiple areas of the photographic industry - and lived to tell the tale. With experience in both editorial portraiture and fine art, his work is maintained by his close attention to detail and accuracy, leaving images flawless. Exhibited around the world and shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Prize, Bills varied experience is second to none. In this special extended feature interview, we discuss views on the digital age, his personal photographic journey, and his latest and most highly technical pieces of work.
Hi Bill. Could you give us a little background on your journey into photography, and your many different job roles in the industry? Photography was something I fell into. You have to realise that there were no photographic degree courses when I went to Art School other than C&G technical qualifications. There was one diploma course in photography at Derby and Nottingham which was spilt across the two colleges. It had the best visiting lecture programme at the time and those that ran it were photographers who were changing the face of British photography. I was always interested in film making and when I went to art school, my foundation course introduced me to super 8 and 16mm cameras where I experimented with stop frame and scratch animation. I wanted to go onto to a degree of some sort which involved film but there were
no specialist courses other than at the National Film School. That was almost impossible to get onto if your family was not involved in the film industry. If you wanted to work in the photographic film industries you either became an assistant and learned on the job or did a diploma/degree in another discipline which had access to facilities. I chose to do a BA in Graphic Design at Coventry because it had a great media centre which serviced other courses. The job limitations in the film industry meant I worked as much in still photography as with moving pictures. By the time I had left I wanted to work in some way in the industry and eventually got a job as an assistant to a photographer in Birmingham doing product, fashion and advertising work. I hadn’t realised how little I knew and these were very formative years. After a couple of
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
years I became despondent because there was no way my own personal approach could survive so I went back to University and did a post graduate course in education. I got a lecturing post at a small local art school. It gave me the financial base to pursue my own path in photography. My work at that time was documentary, moving from the street to more formal environmental portraits. I was lucky to get involved with some big international exhibitions and worked closely with The Photographers Gallery in London for a number of years and was represented by the print room. By 1986 I had become frustrated once again and was already experimenting with electronic imagery with video and computer graphic systems. I produced some of the first digital/film images for print and this work was shown at a conference and seminar on the future of photography in a computer age at The National Museum For Film and Television in Bradford in 1991. I spent 20 years in Cyberspace working with computer images in stills, video and interactive multimedia, often creating physical and virtual installations to frame my ideas. This culminated in creating a company with two others for developing content for online films and we were invited to the first and only Yahoo online Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2000. There hangs another tale of chasing the venture capital needed but suffice to say 9/11 put that one to bed. In 2006 I went back to stills where I have been working ever since. The printed image became important again. Your latest project ‘North Sea Drawings’ explores a mixture of landscape, time, space, still image and light drawing. Where did the inspiration come from for this body of work and how did it develop? North Sea Drawings are the culmination of 4 years of working along the Suffolk coast, near to where I now live. We left London in 2010 and as with all my work, where I live has a direct feed into my work. I first began shooting at night when I was an art student in the 1970’s. I have always been interested in the ambient light of non lit spaces. I love those dark, black tones. It’s a technical challenge but also I wanted to explore ideas within those spaces. My conceptual art education still is a major influence over my methodologies. I am not interested purely in just shooting pictures of what I see. I want to use that as a basis for more conceptually based ideas. The camera is just a tool to carry those ideas out. It was while working on ‘Frames’ for ‘Dark Light 2’ that I became aware that what I was producing was a culmination of hundreds
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
of frames in one picture (I love that concept - a time movie in one frame). The movement of the waves could not be seen or recorded - only heard. How do you record that movement? How do you map the journey the waves are making? So I developed a series of ‘light drawing tools’ and experimented with putting lights into the sea. My work has always been planned. I am not a photographer who goes out and takes a chance on something happening. Everything is carefully researched, with a period of R&D. Part of the attraction and interest for me in the photographic ‘dark’ arts, is that it is alchemical
“Accidents happen, but you need to own the accident and make it work for you.” – accidents happen but then you need to own the accident and make it work for you. My interest in drawing as a form of documentation, as part of the thinking process, influenced how North Sea Drawings were developing. The final images were contained in a drawing or mapping grid, so that you can track the journey visually on the paper. Mapping and maps in all its forms has been a major influence on me from childhood days. I was the one who had on his wall, a huge canvas map of The World and I had a great big Atlas under my bed. In another life I would have been Indiana Jones. This body of work is now informing me for the next stage of the process. I am mapping my night walks through a wood, which will take about a year to complete. There is much R&D work, experiments and processes to master so that my intentions are clearly defined. Even though I plan carefully, experiment and have many failures, there is always that thrill that something unexpected will happen.
A lot of your work has clear influences of nature and travel. How do you think your lifestyle and interests affect your photography? Travel most certainly has an influence on my work. It is no coincidence that the first digital/ film hybrids I produced in the 1980’s were an exploration of mapping my journeys not only in the physical sense but also spiritually and intellectually. I did a lot of travelling in the 80’s and 90’s, visiting ancient sites in deserts and forests. I was a member of ‘Survival’, the society for the protection of indigenous peoples for a while. My work at that time looked at ideas on nature and the environment and I am still a strong environmentalist. I saw a spiritual link between the new world of computers and the ancient perspectives of the earth. It’s still there in my work today. Having worked in many areas of photography, from teaching to freelance, which section of your career do you think you learnt the most? I learn everyday. Each area of my past influences me, teaches me and directs me onto new pathways. I am now living in the Suffolk countryside, a few miles from the sea and I am a part time farmer. Never would I have thought I would be raising pigs, sheep and alpacas 5 years ago. We left London for more space and I wanted a bigger studio and be a little more isolated but with great connections to London, hence Suffolk, a place we often visited over the years. I am learning new skills and appreciate the land in ways I have never experienced before. Instead of just being the occasional visitor, I am now immersed in the land and it’s directing me in ways that I could not imagine when living full time in London. I try to keep my mind as open as possible to everything that I am involved with. When I
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
was in teaching, the students informed me as much as I informed them. It was a symbiotic relationship - a shared journey of discovery. When I was an assistant, I learned as much about the creative industry as photography itself. As a freelancer I gained insight into other peoples expectations, rather than just focus on my own. That is still true today when I do a commission, it can often be a compromise of their expectations. Some of your more recent work has a real focus on the highly technical. One project ‘Frames’ is based completely on a famous quote, then translated into an alga rhythm. Do you enjoy this technical way of working? Do you get many mistakes whilst experimenting? I have a love of science, engineering, maths, chemistry and physics. At school I enjoyed the sciences as much as I enjoyed the arts. I never understood why we separate them in our education system. I loved formulae and calculations. It’s all about creative ideas and I am fascinated by the way scientists and artists make notes, draw and use equipment to aid those ‘calculations’. I have a small collection of technical instruments as well as cameras. I love a ruler as much as I love a camera lens. For me to use a formula or algarhythm as you so eloquently put, it is just making transparent the nature of my work. Without science we would not have art. I like the scientific approach because it helps me synthesise complex thoughts down to a more simple explanation. A computer programmer aims to write a clean, single line of code. I am not a hippy dippy artist. I don’t do emotion. If you get emotional about my work, that’s your personal journey, it was not my intention but I would be very pleased if you did. People often see my work as romantic - again not my reason for doing the work, it’s a side effect if you like. The project Frames, for me, was an exploration of a Jean Luc Goddard quote that grabbed my imagination from the day I first heard it in film studies at art school. It summed everything up about film. Frames is as much about time as it is about space. 24 x 60 x 60 = (exposure) time but in a single frame. I think a photographer’s own linguistic description of their work speaks volumes. Throughout your website and portfolio you often mention the idea of ‘mapping’. Why do you think you refer back to this word in so many different areas of your work? What does it mean to you?
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
I took a long hard look at my work after I did North Sea Drawings. I was in conversation with my London dealers and we talked about where I stood in relationship to contemporary art. It became pretty obvious that ‘mapping’ was common to a lot the works either directly
“You have to see your work one step removed so that you can review where you are and what has been achieved or not.” such as in ‘Journey Of The Skin Man’ or ‘Iconoclast’ produced in 1986, through to 2015 with North Sea Drawings. Even my portrait epic ‘Biographica’ was concerned with visual biographical mapping. In 1978 I met a very interesting elderly lady who took my hand and gave me a reading. Palm reading is all about your personal map of your future. Whether you believe it or not, it is what it is. I was told that my journey would be a continuous one and I should not stop in one place too long. I could always go back but my destiny was to keep walking. Deep down I knew that and I am still travelling along that road map but I realised in time that that map was of my own making. Having worked started photography in the predigital age; you’ve seen both sides of the medium. What inspired your switches between the two? When I was a student I wished I had been alive and working at the beginning of photography, film and television, where there were no rules, no expectations, no industry - just pioneers. My father, an electronic engineer, as a young lad, built the first crystal radio in Coventry. As a child I was surrounded by electronics that made pictures or sounds. Even my mother
could build a TV set. They met in the GEC electronics factory after the Second World War. It’s no surprise that this had a great effect on me. By the time I was 10 I could solder and was learning morse code. It wasn’t a question of switching per se but more to do with curiosity. In 1977 at Coventry School Of Art, we were sent over to the computer department to punch cards into a mainframe computer so it could draw a square, or not. The circle was the most difficult. Error codes were the norm. Then in the late 80’s I went back to Coventry University to do an MA in Electronic Graphics. I’d realised a few years earlier that my wish of being in a time of change and pioneering was happening all around me with the digital age, so I embraced it fully. It was a love affair that lasted 20 years. When I went back into print based work I decided on a hybrid system - a traditional film camera with a digital back. I like past, present and future being embodied into technology. Your portrait series ‘Biographica’ is a really beautiful insight into people’s individual spaces. How did you find shooting this? Thank you. As I said initially, I first started working as a street photographer; a voyeur watching and recording other peoples lives. This moved into more formal environmental portraits in factories and hospitals etc. I stopped doing that type of work for over 20 years and wanted to pick it up again in 2008/9. I didn’t want to repeat my ideas by using 35mm or 6cm x 6cm which I had used before. So I decided to move to a 5x4 sliding back land camera, creating a panoramic view. My intention was to create a ‘letterbox’ large format image, which led the viewer into a private space, as though they were looking through a letterbox. I called the series ‘Biographica’ because they were visual biographies of the sitters in their
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
homes or work place that they had built up over a number of years. Knowing the prints would be at least 1.5m in length, I wanted the detail of the rooms to be brought out, right down to reading the book titles on shelves. The camera is more suited to landscape rather than portraiture. Using a wide-angle lens, I was often crammed into a corner to get the width of the room. The sitters are just part of that space. Complex in nature and complex technically, it was a challenge, as two pictures are taken and then stitched together. Using available light only, sometimes the exposure was at least a second, so the sitters had to be very still, hence everyone is sitting down except for one or two when the light was good enough. As with all my work, I rehearse if you like, the technical limitations and visual possibilities before I embark on the process. It’s just the way I have always approached problem solving. The sitters come into the picture making process once my ‘stage’ has been set. I often tether my camera up to a laptop so I can check focusing, exposure and composition. Histograms are meaningless to me so I always, when I can, have the camera hooked up to a laptop. In the ‘old’ days I used a polaroid back which was very common in studio photography. The laptop is the digital polaroid. Having been featured in many internationally renowned photo galleries, at which point in your career did you feel the proudest of what you’d produced? I always get a thrill when I see my work on a gallery wall or in book or magazine. They allow you to review your work as a collection or in context with other works, assessing where you have arrived. It’s very difficult to see images as a collection on screen or in your studio without a decent viewing space. Ansel Adams had his
own gallery at home. You have to see your work one step removed so that you can review where you are and what has been achieved or not. I have been lucky enough to have had my work in many galleries and been involved in some pretty significant group and historical exhibitions but if I was to pick one, it was when ‘Child Of The Railways’ from Biographica was shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Prize and going to the National Portrait Gallery and seeing it hung on a wall. It was also a thrill when I was in group shows with the likes of Helmut Newton and Degas to name but two. Sharing wall space with this calibre of artists is very special. What would you recommend to any photographic hopeful to best develop an enjoyable and distinctive career path? Follow your own path. See more than you take. Be informed about what you are interested in. Be wide in your research. Know the rules, then break them if possible - but only if it has meaning. Keep away from tricks. Look out from the corner of your eye and be aware of the Trickster. Be confident in your own voice, which will take time to develop. Seeking fame and fortune without producing work is short lived. Develop as a person who has something to say and don’t say it if it’s not worth saying. Better to produce 10 important pieces than 100 indifferent ones. But then what do I know? I am bemused by the current art scene but I have been there long enough to have had a career and maverick enough not to take it all too seriously. I would rather 3 people get what I do than 3000 who are told they should get it.
Interview: Lois Golding
Feature - Real Talk with Bill Jackson
Ana Cross Monthly single image
B-Side Walter frames the world through the eyes of a stranger.
I’m never not shooting. Sometimes I find I’m just drawn to certain things, but I don’t always realise why at first. This project is a prime example of that. The first images I shot weren’t supposed to have any relations to one another, but I slowly realised that they interweaved, and their hidden narrative soon became apparent. Once I’d picked up on this, I pursued my subjects in a way that I’ve never done before. I would chase them! Photographing them quickly, then running away silently and cautiously. But as I grew confidence in the narrative of the project, my shooting style changed. I would follow them, cautiously still, but letting them lead the way – without manipulating their life or image by the way I captured them. I made sure I wasn’t seen, then waited for the right moment to take that gentle courteous picture. What all these pictures have in common is also my presence and non-presence, being there without being seen or discovered during the act of photographing and the excitement and thrill that provokes. By being behind them I could see what they were seeing – and even feel what they were feeling. We were sharing a moment, looking at the same horizon, contemplating the view and sensations. It was almost as if I were seeing life through their eyes, embodying their style, thoughts and feelings. Creating their unique story in my head. Who are they? Who knows. But that’s part of the charm, and it doesn’t matter who they are. Their real stories will always remain a mystery, but it was a joy sharing the beautiful scenes with them.
22. Walter Valentini
Sheep Dominic documented an annual sheep hearding event in Switzerland.
28. Dominic Steinmann
Every Autumn sheep are seen navigating a narrow mountain path as part of an unusual tourist attraction in the Swiss Alps. The animals and their sheepherder have to traverse the perilous path as they are moved from their remote summer grazing high above the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland. 700 animals have been enjoying the lush grazing at an altitude of 1800 meters for the past three months. It’s a harsh landscape up there and no trees grow at this altitude. Only rocks protect the sheep from rain, sun and thunderstorm. Luckily no wolfs live up there but eagles are natural enemies of helpless lambs. If an animal is lost from their herd it will rarely be found in this giant area. Herdsmen collect the flock every year during the last weekend in August and drive the animals over the mountain and down into the village of Belalp as part of an eighthour trek, including a violent stream with
an improvisational bridge. Some animals fall down the bridge. For the sheepherder it is physically hard work to catch and pull the animals with their water soaked wool out of the powerful stream. Having barely seeing people for the whole of the summer months it’s an exiting day for the sheep. Some of them are pregnant and therefore it happens regularly that lambs are born during this hectic day. Those new-borns are not able to walk yet and have to be carried by helpers. When they finally arrive on the alp Belalp, the sheep are herded into a large dry stonewall corral that is surrounded by many smaller pens into which the animals are then separated by their owners. As part of this Shepherd’s Weekend festival or Schäferwochenende the four most beautiful sheep are presented with a crown of flowers. And the event has become something of a tourist attraction with people flooding to the area to watch the arrival of the flock.
“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realise your potential.”
- Joseph Campbell
Colour Lucas explains his visual attraction to the colours and shapes of the United States.
There are many reasons for this series of pictures. First of all, I guess like most series, it was not intended as such at the beginning. I just cannot help being drawn to the same kinds of places and the same kinds of architecture. The boring, the repetitive, the modern, the functional, the linear. There are also reasons why I’m drawn to these places. These new neighborhoods pop up all around and are essentially very similar. They expand the city with lots of new housing and parks, they provide a somewhat calm place to live within the city but with a feeling of being apart. Be it by walking around or cycling around, there’s always new grounds to cover and new exciting things to discover - new things to push my skateboard on, new things to photograph. Why square? I think it gives a more straightforward vision of things, without distortion or excess of information to take into account. I like it plain and I like it simple. But there’s also another reason to this. As an avid music lover and record collector, the square format is something that’s been obvious to me in regards to illustration and graphic design and photography far before I ever bought a Rollei or thought about taking pictures seriously. I listen to music in bursts. I will listen to a lot of a given genre for weeks and then switch to something else entirely. I proceed quite the same way with my cameras. I will shoot with one for a few months and switch things up later. I often know which camera I want to use for a specific project so I tend to only bring one. It’s easier for me not to have a choice. As for the pictures that are not
from my close environment, I found that travel photography has been more interesting to me in the last three years. It’s a nice creative challenge to bring back not only pictures of fond, friendly memories but also some that go beyond their holiday pictures status. It’s a different feeling knowing you won’t come back so soon and it is exciting to try and capture things the way I would if I was at walking distance from home. Lastly, why colour? I first started using colour film seriously last year while in the US. I wanted to try and take pictures at night to take advantage of the long hours of darkness of upstate New York winter at first, and then I started to use it by day too. After all, the US is a very colourconscious country. Coming back to France I knew colour wouldn’t have the same appeal but I found it important to continue with it anyway, only switching from explosive Ektar to the softer Portra 160. Paris and Brittany especially can be very grey at times and I didn’t feel like taking the black and white route. I like the occasional bursts of color these heavily concreted tower blocks sometimes provide and the fact that you never really know what to expect. Be it buildings that change colour depending on where you stand, the odd bright orange basketball court or red-painted handlebars, colors often happen suddenly. Plus there is always the chance factor of light. If I’m here and there’s a picture I want to take I’ll take it whether the light is perfect of not. I don’t think I would have taken these pictures if it wasn’t for the color, really.
38. Lucas Marchal
The Cinematic Direction Dom explored his influences of TV and cinema through photography.
The cinematic aesthetic is one that is creeping into all areas of popular culture. It is no longer restricted to a trip to the movies. TV boxsets like Game of Thrones and House of Cards now have the production value of feature length films. TV adverts, find themselves increasing in length and narrative with the ability to tug at our heartstrings or create notions of nostalgia. Even the art world often finds ways of mimicking the stylistic features which all stem from film culture. With the development of our interactive technologies, the cinematic visual will play an increasingly large role in our everyday lives. Being a big film fan and Netflix lover, this project coincided with my photographic interest in how people bring their own meaning to the images they consume. It explores meanings and feelings, and leaves you to construct your own emotions based in what you’ve consumed. Cindy Sherman’s Film Stills work interests me, as many people read her work as a form of feminist expression and yet Sherman was more interested in the performance aspect of becoming someone else. Matt Henry’s work ‘Blue River Falls’ made me consider the significance of being able to use the cinematic aesthetic within diptychs in order to explore how narrative within cinema is formed. The project aims to explore how cinematic framing and perspective create a series of individual stills that allow us as viewers to interpret a given narrative. I am feeding from pre-established film codes by creating these imaginary narratives. In some senses I am working on the production scale of a short film with the advantage of only having to produce stills. Production of imagery is highly experimental and constantly
developing, so I utilised strobe tungsten lighting and it’s been shot across both film and digital mediums with all images shot on location. These sequences take inspiration from ideas of neo-noir film, they particularly look at themes of horror, seduction and the uncanny, in relation to the representation of men and women. I find that this section of work has been influenced by the stunning visuals of David Lynch and his use of colour and form in order to convey his dark and complex narratives. I have just recently finished an a short exhibition at Falmouth University’s Photography Gallery showing the triptych - What happened in room 212…? where I had chosen to display one of the images in a series as an analogue print, in order to play with the subtle differences in digital and film prints and how that too affects the reading of the work. I hope that by being able to isolate them as individual stills, it will allow a space in which people actively bring a narrative to fill the gaps within the sequence, but in doing so also question the nature of the work and what it represents within our own relationship with the cinematic. Working forward I hope to be able to broaden my scope by looking into other cinematic genres and possibly start to look at how I can add other elements in a similar isolated fashion, such as sound loops in order to drive or mislead the audience’s constructed narrative. Finally I would like to add a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me make this work possible, as everyone that has worked on the project has given me hours of their time and patience to make my ideas a reality.
Katie Shorey Monthly single image
This issue’s stars 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 48.
‘B-Side’ (+39) 333 9293425 www.flickr.com/waltervalentini
‘Sheep’ firstname.lastname@example.org www.dominic-steinmann.tumblr.com
Lucas Marchal ‘Colour’
‘The Cinematic Direction’ email@example.com www. domweeks.com
With thanks to.. Lois Golding
Production Manager www.tomsandbergphotography.wordpress.com
Interview Co-Manager toby.ellis@live,com
Brand designer & sign writing god Instagram - mattcox904
Special feature photographer www.billjackson.photography
Heather Golding General assistance.
Christina Ferris ‘Abducted’ Graphic Artist www.antichristy.com
To contact for requests, questions or more information: firstname.lastname@example.org All images and text published in 205dpi are the sole propertry of the featured authors and the subject copyright. 2015 © 205dpi