Page 1

Number 54 Winter 2014

Contemporary Photography


View from the Chair Our weekend event A Wider View was very well-received; both speakers and attendees enjoyed themselves. The range of work seen on the Saturday was very interesting and varied with both prints and books in evidence. The AGM in October was better supported than I had expected. I would like to welcome Peter Ellis as our new Group Secretary and Greg Holba who will be taking over the position of Group Treasurer. Membership is still increasing and I am delighted that some of those attending A Wider View also decided to join the Contemporary Group. With regard to membership, it has been noted recently that some members were archived accidentally. Please contact me if you know of anyone who hasn’t received either the RPS or CG Journal. The presentation The Photo Book - Relevance and Design at the Media Museum, Bradford, organised by the Yorkshire Region in conjunction with the North East Contemporary Group was both well-attended and well-received. It was led by Brian Steptoe with able assistance from Stewart Wall and Nigel Tooby. My thanks to everyone who made this such a stimulating event. Further presentations are planned in other regions: watch for announcements on facebook, the e-newsletters and in this Journal. Further information about the photo book exhibition will be available on the new RPS website and from rod@ rodfry.eclipse.co.uk I hope you all had an excellent Christmas and that the New Year will be happy and productive. Best wishes, Avril Copyright notice © The copyright of photographs and text in this issue belongs to the author of the article of which they form part, unless otherwise indicated. If you wish to submit articles for the Journal, please send all copy and images on disc to: Patricia Ann Ruddle, 28 Malvern Avenue, York, YO26 5SG. patriciaruddle@btinternet.com

Cover: © Mélodi Calderón García, from serie 2008-2011.

ISSN 0959-6704 .

2.

Text should be in Microsoft Word and images are preferred in TIFF format, 300 dpi, file size guideline 10-20Mb. Images are also acceptable as high quality JPEGs, file size guideline 3-6 Mb. For other formats, please contact the Editor. Large image files may be supplied on disc or by use of online large file transfer facilities. Unless requested, discs will not be returned. DEADLINE for the Spring 2014 edition is 31 March 2014.

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Contemporary Photography

Number 54 Winter 2014

View from the Chair

Avril Harris ARPS

2

Editorial

Patricia Ann Ruddle ARPS

4

On Death and Horses and Other People by Markéta Luskačová

Prof Howard Bossen

5

Outskirts

Sergio Figliolia ARPS

10

Simon Roberts:Travelling with others

Stephen Clarke

15

Shoe String Stories

Elizabeth Brown

18

False Mythologies

Mike Shanahan FRPS

24

In conversation with Armando Jongejan FRPS

Patricia Ruddle ARPS

26

Mi Familia

Nigel Tooby FRPS

31

Book Review: Miss Titas Becomes A Regular Army Mac, Melinda Gibson

Brian Steptoe FRPS

36

Zoe’s Doll

Nicola Davison Reed

38

Group Events

39

Committee

39

From Flogging A Dead Horse 1989 - 1993

Paul Reas/Courtesy Impressions Gallery

40

Contemporary Group ethos - Photography that conveys ideas, stimulates thought and encourages interpretation; photographs ‘about’ rather than ‘of’.

Contemporary Photography

.

3.


Editorial [ … ] he sometimes sat here for hours, laying out these photographs or others from his collection the wrong way up, as if playing a game of patience, and that then, one by one, he turned them over, always with a new sense of surprise at what he saw, pushing the pictures back and forth and over each other, arranging them in an order depending on their family resemblances, or withdrawing them from the game until either there was nothing left but the grey table top, or he felt exhausted by the constant effort of thinking and remembering [ … ] So speaks the narrator about Austerlitz, a character in W.G. Sebald’s book by the same name. A chance encounter with Austerlitz opened up a new world for me. The book has several themes, but it was the photography that first got my attention. Scattered copiously within the text, the images were either found or taken by the author; Sebald himself a keen photographer, as is his character Austerlitz. The photographs are black and white, inexpert and raw, often abstract and grainy. Often manipulated. An approach whose nature helps to deny the authenticity of the photograph. We tend to believe that photographs more than any other type of evidence are truthful, reliable. We want to believe that Sebald’s pictures are real; that they are here because they illustrate Austerlitz’s life. But Austerlitz isn’t real; he is a fictional character. Sometimes the photographs illustrate the plot and sometimes they stop the flow of the story or don’t relate to the story and have hidden meanings which point to Austerlitz’s hidden memories, or indeed historical events. (I have been seduced by Sebald’s style of writing in which his words flow, disregarding punctuation rules, ignoring grammatical structure. Despite being an editor, I have found his style mesmerising; the lyrical, wandering sentences, sometimes lasting several pages, take my breath away. He can be difficult to read; often I have drifted off the page into my own memories and musings about things past.) The basic plot concerns a young Czech boy who arrives in London via the Kindertransport in 1939. Austerlitz remembers nothing of this and grows up with a Welsh identity. Eventually he learns that he is someone else; the story then takes us along his journey of self-discovery, which in turn is a metaphor for memories – whether remembered or lost, sometimes repressed or denied - whether personal or collective. Patricia W.G. Sebald. Austerlitz, translated Anthea Bell. Penguin Books, 2002.

.

4.

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


On Death and Horses and Other People by Markéta Luskačová Prof Howard Bossen Markéta Luskačová’s On Death and Horses and Other People is a labor of love, an exploration of ritual , an expression of friendship and a testament to patience and perseverance. Luskačová began to photograph Czech Carnival in 1999. Since then she has photographed more than 40 carnivals in Bohemian cities, towns and villages. This exhibition is comprised entirely from the photographs made as the carnival people of Roztoky, a small town near Prague, walked across fields and over Bare Hill to the neighboring village of Únĕtice. Made over a 12-year span, Luskačová’s photographs reveal as much about the artist as they do about her subjects. Trained as a sociologist, it is not surprising that her images are imbued with a special understanding of the people and the rituals she has photographed. Her work is not just a documentation of ritual, but also a sensitive and insightful interpretation of time-honored traditions adapted for contemporary life in Bohemia, where free expression was very difficult in the recent past. At one level, On Death and Horses and Other People is an extension of her earlier social documentary projects: her examination of the lives of religious pilgrims in Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s and early 1970s; her study of the working class beachside resorts on the North Sea in England; or her lifelong photographic exploration of children. The same sensibility and insight in these projects, that captured the joy and pain of life, the special moment when light and composition fall into alignment with the subject in front of her lens, is also evident in On Death and Horses and Other People. For Luskačová, Czech Carnival represented “the renaissance of the old customs in the early years of

democracy, the joy that it was now allowed, my private joy to hear the old songs, which I was missing.” She has described this new body of work as “a return home in a photographic sense, almost a full circle,” where procession figures prominently, as it did in Pilgrims, made 40 years ago. Many of the color photographs were made in that magical short space of time, as the warmth of the late afternoon sun gives way to the coldness of the crisp, late winter night. These photographs represent new aesthetic terrain, while the black and white prints may be seen as a continuation of the aesthetic Markéta Luskačová’s On Death and Horses and Other People for which she is known. It is especially lovely to see the transformation that takes place as Luskačová visually dances between her comfortable black and white aesthetic and her new color world; where darkness is eclipsed by color, light and joy, where carnival is seen not only as a return to ritual, but as an affirmation of life itself. Howard Bossen, Ph.D., is Professor, School of Journalism, at Michigan State University, and Adjunct Photography Curator, Michigan State University Museum. Ed. Note: the text and photographs are from Markéta Luskačová’s book: Markéta Luskačová, Howard Bossen and Robert Silverio. O Smrti, O Koních a Jiných Lidech: Maškary 1999-2010, Roztoky - Únětice, Sdružení Roztoč: 2011. (On Death and Horses and Other People: Masks 19992010, Roztoky - Únětice, Sdružení Roztoč: 2011) ISBN 978-80-254-8402-9. www.marketaluskacova.com. Contemporary Photography

.

5.


.

6.

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Contemporary Photography

.

7.


.

8.

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Contemporary Photography

.

9.


Outskirts Sergio Figliolia ARPS Focus is on the outskirts of Rome and its new districts. So similar to each other. So different from what foreigners think of Rome. New residential areas with almost no public services, growing next to huge shopping centres. Desolate corners. Temporary limitations. Improvised dumps. The lights of the lampposts are almost the only incarnation of public services. The glow in the middle of the frame, a modern comet, tries somehow to capture the attention of people passing by, if only by chance. It is an epiphany of nothing. A safe area instead, for those living in these districts.

.

10 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


The only perimeter of light before slipping into the darkness. These areas are also the boundaries where the fight between humans and nature goes on. After every victory, every human conquest, a flag would be put up to state that victory. The light of the lampposts is the constant and ubiquitous flag of human civilization. In this way, the area is by means of the lamppost marked as safe, cleared, colonised, gained to human usage. Outskirts is an ongoing territory mapping project.

Contemporary Photography

.

11 .


.

12 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Contemporary Photography

.

13 .


.

14 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Simon Roberts: Travelling with others Stephen Clarke The emphasis on place in the work of Simon Roberts and ends on a park bench in Moscow. Frank also seems can be seen to stem from his education as a student of to travel east to west, starting his book in New Jersey and geography.(1) Each of his three photobooks, Motherland ending it in Texas. Along the way the two men become (2007), We English (2009), and Pierdom (2013), has acquainted with each country’s people: in Miami Beach, entailed a journey across country.(2) For the first, Roberts Frank photographs the elevator girl; and in Pyatigorsk, travelled the expanse of Russia; the two latter projects were contained within the shores of Britain. It is the later work at home that has positioned Simon Roberts within a lineage of photographers who have documented the British scene. Perhaps it is Roberts’ continued education as a student of the history of photography that informs his projects. His photobooks may, more specifically, have their origins in works by Robert Frank, Tony Ray-Jones, and John Davies. Mirroring Robert Frank’s book The Americans (1959), Motherland is a road trip exploring an unfamiliar people and place.(3) Inevitably, we look back to Frank’s book to set the pace and the context. Whereas Frank is the Swiss outsider in a post-war America at its zenith, Roberts is the Meat market, Pyatigorsk, March 2005, from Motherland, 2007 Englishman abroad in its superpower rival after its fall. Throughout both books we are shown Roberts encounters a girl at the meat market. modes of transport as the two photographers move The writer Raymond Mortimer observed that an across the different countries. For Roberts the journey Englishman, on returning home after a longish time begins at an airport in Magadan in the far east of Russia abroad, sees his country through foreign eyes.(4) Arguably, Contemporary Photography

.

15 .


this was the case with Tony Ray-Jones who returned to England in 1966 after a long stay in the USA. Following the example of Robert Frank, Ray-Jones toured England observing its inhabitants at leisure for his book A Day Off (1974). (5) Similarly, after his road trip across Russia in search of the Russian identity, Roberts undertook a journey around his own country to find the English identity. The viewer revisits with Roberts the festivals, the races, and the seaside, once visited by Ray-Jones. In 1967, Ray-Jones photographed a picnicking couple at Glyndebourne; in 2008 Roberts would photograph Fountains Fell, Yorkshire Dales, 3 August 2008, from We English, 2009 a less grand couple picnicking in the Yorkshire Dales. We English updates A not only with a post-industrial landscape but also a Day Off, but whereas Ray-Jones immersed himself in the post-leisure landscape. The disappearing coalmines, the crowd, Roberts worked from the top of his camper van, empty docks and the closed mills pictured in Davies’ consequently referencing the language of another British landscapes find their parallel in the decaying structures photographer, John Davies. of seaside pleasure piers. Pierdom takes its cue not only Tony Ray-Jones had wanted to record Englishness, from the seaside photography of Tony Ray-Jones and its customs and festivals, before they disappeared. By Martin Parr but the industrial photography of Davies. the 1980s this vision of England was changing. In John Industrial might is pictured in Roberts’ photograph of Davies’ book A Green & Pleasant Land (1987) we see a the structure of Worthing Pier as it pits itself against country undergoing the process of de-industrialisation.(6) the crashing waves of the English Channel. Instead of Davies’ approach is typified by a high vantage point and Runcorn’s railway and road bridges photographed by panoramic vista, a way of working adopted by Roberts Davies in 1986, Roberts gives us an elevated view of for We English but one that has more resonance with Birnbeck Pier in Weston-Super-Mare. Pierdom. In the wake of industrial decline we are left .

16 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Worthing Pier, West Sussex, January 2013, from Pierdom, 2013

Undoubtedly, each of the three photobooks by Roberts functions as a guide in the manner of a geographic survey. They make reference to maps that correspond to the journeys taken by the photographer. To look at these books only in these terms reduces them to travelogues. It is their relationship to their predecessors that is important. Existing within the canon of photographic history, Roberts’ books relate not only to previous practitioners but, significantly, to the photobooks that they made. It is this influence of fellow travellers that guides his practice. 1.Land, D. (2013) ‘Cultural Geography’, The Royal Photographic Society Journal, (September 2013) pp. 396-402. (Simon Roberts studied Human Geography at the University of Sheffield.) 2.Motherland and We English were published by Chris Boot. Pierdom is published by Dewi Lewis. 3.Frank, R. (1993) The Americans. Manchester: Cornerhouse. Originally published by Robert Delpire, Paris, 1958, and by Grove Press, New York, 1959. 4. From the introduction to Bill Brandt’s The English at Home, 1936. Quoted in Roberts, R. (2004) Tony Ray-Jones. London: Chris Boot. p.13 5. Ray-Jones, T. (1974) A Day Off. London: Thames and Hudson 6. Davies, J. (1987) A Green & Pleasant Land. Manchester: Cornerhouse Weston-Super-Mare, Birnbeck Pier, September 2011, from Pierdom, 2013


Shoe String Stories Elizabeth Brown

Many people have a relationship with their shoes; sometimes they love them and sometimes they hate them, but often they won’t part with them even if they can’t walk in them. Perhaps Warhol was right when he said shoes were a person’s full stop. With a community project in mind, I talked about the idea of photographing shoes with local shop keepers and friends as well; everyone seemed very enthusiastic. Without prompting they began to share stories about their favourite shoes. Encouraged, I researched the idea and started to experiment at home building a set with a graded-grey background and lit some of my own shoes. It worked well - the plain background would enable the observer to concentrate on the shape of the shoes (which once off my feet formed their own character). I photographed shoes belonging to two friends, who got involved displaying the shoes and helping with the lighting. They then wrote a few lines to tell a story about the shoes. Delighted with the results, I negotiated with a couple of venues where I could invite people in to photograph their shoes and tell me their stories. The production of a leaflet followed, which I distributed to the library and local shops. I also advertised on the local website Opinion8. After each session I printed the shots adding the text. At the following session I displayed them hanging on a line using pegs. As the length of the line grew so did the enthusiasm. The series was named Shoe String Stories. So far I have done ten sessions and photographed 85 pairs of shoes and boots. All of them have been photographed in North London but I would like to try photographing in different areas - would there be a difference?

.

18 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


I love these shoes because of the wonderful colour so I never wear them

Contemporary Photography

.

19 .


We parade dressed from head to toes in green leaves

These kitten heels are glamorous. Symbolising everything I’m hoping my life can still be!

.

20 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal

I saved up to buy these day they are the most


I balanced successfully on them whilst holding a 3 month old baby

boots from Topshop. To this expensive footware I own

I sprain my ankle each time I wear them but I will not give them up

Contemporary Photography

.

21 .


Having rescued my dog, I plunged my arm into the mud to save my shoes. They still stink of the muddy bog

It’s been a longstanding dream to make my own shoes and my best friend helped me achieve my dream .

22 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal

Everyone in the rock their boots custom


These shoes had been worn in a Hollywood movie. When I dress up and wear them I imagine I’m Rita Hayworth

scene at that time had made for them by him

In fact they are my pension plan

Contemporary Photography

.

23 .


False Mythologies Mike Shanahan FRPS

“There may be no truths, just indications of issues. Welcome to another portal of perception. Art has to reveal to us ideas, formless spiritual essences. The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring ? ” Some time ago I considered the idea of making photographs that would put the viewer in mind of the various symbols used by Wagner throughout his stentorian and stirring music. The opportunities seemed endless; mythical apples, rings, Valkyries and so forth. What could go wrong? However, on further reflection I realised that I would just be employing tropes idealised by others and rather done to death over the centuries. Apples are always deemed to convey power, say by Eve or Steve Jobs. Rings have been embedded in the concept of Ouroboros (the dragon swallowing its tail); or they have been deemed to be conveyors of strength (the bond of marriage or gift of magical powers). And Valkyries are just another form of destroying Angels or something to be associated with helicopters storming over a Vietnamese beach. So much for the mythologies of others and a project that would simply be a matter of mindless illustration. But if one were to imagine, locate and photograph some new personal mythologies then would such images be capable of conveying any sense of power? If not, then they might prove to be false mythologies, as opposed to

.

24 .

the so called ‘real’ mythologies embedded within various modern day cultures. By such reflection I chanced upon a new project: the discovery and capture through the medium of photography of some images that might convey an awareness of previously undiscovered mythological presence. The challenge of finding, collecting and collating such images is proving to be absorbing, although quite difficult. After all, without culturally approved provenance, these new mythologies are surely doomed be deemed false. However, I think I have persuaded myself that the ‘value’ of such a project will depend upon whether or not it produces a collapse of perception from a vague potential to a concrete example, or at least create a sympathetic reaction (even though that process may need the priming/sensitisation of another’s mind). By such a process an ambiguous object might become a presence of a shared imagining although independent of preconceived expectations. “...when the truth of our ideas is judged of by the conformity they have to the ideas which other men have, and commonly signify by the same name, they may be any of them false.” Quotes from James Joyce’s Ulysses and John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Contemporary Photography

.

25 .


In conversation with Armando Jongejan FRPS Patricia Ann Ruddle ARPS “Welcome. We serve with pride. Pride? Just seven kilometers from the Cape Town coast, South Africa, I did not feel ‘pride’. I felt quite uncomfortable.” Armando Jongejan FRPS, Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands, studied photography at the Photo Academy in Apeldoorn; and now works as a freelance photographer. I have always regarded Jongejan’s work, and his distinctive approach to documentary photography. When he undertakes a project, Jongejan says that he wants to make contact with people. “I like to make photographs of them in their own environment - their habitat. I’m curious how they live, what they do. It inspires me.” We di s cu s s e d hi s Robbeneiland: University of Life project, which is featured here. “When making a body of work like this one, I wasn’t able to photograph the prisoners, so I made a decision, I found an approach to create a coherent body of work – one which must tell the story with just the buildings.” Despite Robben Island being a museum now, I suggested that his square-format images capture the essence of captivity; they are claustrophobic. And, as Jongejan replied, he wanted viewers to feel the prisoners’ presence in this isolated environment.

.

26 .

I wanted to know the background for his reasons to photograph Robben Island, especially now since the sad passing of Nelson Mandela. Jongejan told me about Ed van der Elsken’s photograph Europeans Blankes, which “has been etched on my memory for many years, taken a year before I was born. Four women sit on a bench by the Durban coast, with the words ‘Europeans Blankes’ written on the back of the bench. A man walks in front of them – he has a halo around his head! The photo is in van der Elsken’s distinctive style, heavily burned. For me it is an embarrassing photo. The contrast in the photo is fierce.” Jongejan was also influenced by another Dutch photographer, Daniel Konig. “More than 20 years ago I bought his beautiful book – Wij denken niet in kleur: Het ZuidAfrika van Nelson Mandela. The title refers to an interview Konig made with Mandela, We do not think in color, we are all South Africans. It was published in 1990 when Mandela was free. Apartheid was abolished, but it seemed like blacks and whites still lived in different worlds.”Jongejan continued that several things combined to make him aware of racial segregation in South Africa. “Three things which symbolise apartheid are inseparable for me, - van der Elsken’s photo, Konig’s book and the music by the group Simple Minds with their song Mandela Day”.

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


“In November 2012 I got the chance to travel to South Africa: I wanted to photograph Robbeneiland. As you know, Robbeneiland is Afrikaans for Robben Island. It has a long history - since the mid-1600s when the Dutch settled there it was used primarily as a prison. From the 17th to the 20th centuries, it served as a place of banishment, isolation and imprisonment, at one time a leper colony. At the entrance of the Island there is a gate, above which is written in old Dutch - Welkom. Ons dien met trots and in English Welcome. We serve with pride. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned here for eighteen of his twenty-seven incarcerated years. His prison number was 46664. The prison conditions were very basic. Confined to a small cell of 2.4 by 2.1 meters. A concrete floor was his bed, a bucket for a toilet.” “When I visited Mandela’s cell it felt unreal to me. Just imagine - you had to live here for eighteen years. The walls of the prison complex were well-painted, it looked maintained. But how was it during the sixties? Mandela

was allowed one visitor a year for just 30 minutes. He could write and receive one letter every six months. After several years at Robben Island, Mandela got his own prison garden in the courtyard near his cell.” Since 1997 Robben Island is a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more images of Jongejan’s Robbeneiland, the book is available: www.blurb.com/books/3772001. His personal website: www.contrastfotografie.nl Ed van der Elsken and Evelyn De Regt. Once Upon a Time, Fragment Uitgeverji: 1991. (Dutch edition of a scarce retrospective volume). Daniel Konig. Wij denken niet in kleur: Het Zuid-Afrika van Nelson Mandela: Thomas Rap, 1990. Source: Robben Island Museum. http://www.robbenisland.org.za/

Contemporary Photography

.

27 .


.

28 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Mi Familia Nigel Tooby FRPS

ELAINE NEARLY DIED WITH AARON EMERGENCY CAESAREAN SECTION BUT WITH JARED IT WAS A NATURAL BIRTH HEARD HIS FIRST CRY HELD HIM STILL

ATTACHED AS IF SHE COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT SHE’D DONE SAT HOLDING HIM CLOSE ALL DAY PREENING HIM AS HE SLEPT BATHED IN WONDER ADORING MOTHER DAD AND ELSIE SO SMART OF COURSE SHE’S A DIVA QUITE SO OPERATIC SINGER A LADY OF STYLE DAD’S NORMALLY SMART BUT NOT SURE IF HE ALWAYS MEASURES UP SHE ALWAYS BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN HIM UNLIKE MOTHER ELAINE IN BUDAPEST FOUR DAYS WITH JENNIFER AND ALAINNA FOR SHOPATHON AND MASS PAMPER DANIEL SPANIEL EVER FAITHFUL GUNNY GUNDOG SAT AT FRONT DOOR THE WHOLE TIME APART FROM WALKS SLEEP FOOD AWAITING HER RETURN NOT EVEN HIS TEDDY COULD TEMPT HIM AWAY ALAINNA THE BRIDE ITALIAN WEDDING HIGH SOCIETY AFFAIR HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT IT COST UBER PRIMA-DONNA ALWAYS CENTRE OF ATTENTION LIKE A FILM STAR QUITE APPROPRIATE FOR HER IMAGE WHILST WORKING THE GUESTS AND SHE SWEPT PAST A PASSING PECK HE CAME HE WENT HE CAME BACK AGAIN WHATEVER IS DAD DOING BACK TO MUMMY THEN BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN ALWAYS QUESTIONING SNOOP IS AN APPROPRIATE NAME FOR THE PLAYFUL DOG IT ALWAYS WANTS TO KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING AND HERE IT IS AGAIN MAUREEN ELAINE’S MUM SMILES NICELY BUT SHE HAS A DARK SIDE SAYS ONE THING TO YOUR FACE ALWAYS SOMETHING NOT QUITE HONEST ELAINE HAD A TROUBLED CHILDHOOD THEIRS IS A STRAINED RELATIONSHIP ECHOED BY JENNIFER DON’T BELIEVE THE SMILE WHAT A MESS IN THE BEDROOM THE GIRLIE GIRLS READYING FOR A NIGHT ON THE TILES THEY GO LATE AND RETURN Contemporary Photography

.

31 .


IN THE MORNING CLUBBING I BELIEVE BUT THEY MUST LOOK THEIR BEST TAKES AGES TO GET THEIR GEAR JUST SO A FAMILY OF FOUR IN MINORCA I RECALL THE LONG WALK TO THE RESTAURANT WHICH WAS EXPENSIVE BUT WORTH IT HAPPIER TIMES BUT THE LONG ROAD AHEAD WAS PROPHETIC AARON NEVER ONE FOR THE CAMERA HE MAKES GREAT IMAGES A NATURAL TALENT BUT NOT A BIT INTERESTED STILL HE BEHAVES LIKE A PHOTOGRAPHER PREFERS NOT TO BE IMAGED HIMSELF CLOTHED IN A WRAP ON SOME FOREIGN SHORES ELAINE PLEASED SUE PAINTING BOYS BEDROOM WITH MURAL SHE STARTED BUT SUE WILL FINISH FELT LEFT OUT BUT WE TRIED TO MAKE HER FEEL PART OF THE FAMILY LOST HER FOR HOURS ONCE FOUND HER CURLED UP ON A HIGH SHELF IN UNDER STAIRS CUPBOARD BEHIND PILE OF QUILTS HER PENCHANT FOR SOLITUDE PALPABLE SHE GOT OVER THAT BUT WE DON’T SPEAK NOW FOR ANOTHER REASON JARED AND ELAINE INSEPARABLE ON HEATH AND MOOR SHE ALWAYS GOES WITH HIM ON ANY ADVENTURE SHE INTERACTS WITH HIM SO BECAUSE HE HASN’T ANY FRIENDS IT’S A MUMMY PROTECTIVE THING HAD MARRIAGE TO SUE AND LISA’S MUM 16 YEARS TILL I FOUND HER OUT AT LAST I LEFT DIVORCED GOT RID MET ELAINE WITH AARON 4 YEARS BEST THING I EVER DID THEN HAD JARED ELAINE CAPTIVATED ME FROM THE START SUCH A DIVA LOVE THE BIG HAIR BACKLIT BY THE SUN SO ELEGANT AND THOUGH SHE’S PUT SOME WEIGHT ON SHE’S NEVER LOST HER LOOKS OR CURVES SO THERE WE WERE ON HONEYMOON BY THE POOL SHE’S READING THIS PAPER JUST LOVED THE HEADLINE MY BLACK SENSE OF HUMOUR IN A NUTSHELL I ALSO READ GREAT AIR DISASTERS OF THE WORLD ON LONG HAUL FLIGHT TO BARBADOS AND THERE WAS AARON CAUGHT LIKE A RABBIT IN THE HEADLIGHTS WITH JARED AND DUMMY HE REMINDS ME OF THAT BABY IN THE SIMPSONS AARON ALWAYS LOOKS SO SERIOUS IN PHOTOGRAPHS HIS FACE STRAINS IT’S THE MICRO FACIAL LANGUAGE BUT CAMERA CATCHES IT NOW HE CHILLS AND .

32 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


IGNORES THE LENS PLAYS WITH IPHONE HE’S A REAL LOOKER THE GIRLS MOB HIM IF I WAS HIS AGE I’D BE ENVIOUS BUT I’M MIFFED COS HE NICKS ALL MY AFTERSHAVE AND COLOGNE JARED IS A REAL BOY-BOY TUFF AS OLD NAILS AND BUILT LIKE A BRICK SHITHOUSE AS THEY SAY IN YORKSHIRE HIS ATTITUDE EVIDENT EVEN BEFORE HE DITCHED THE DUMMY WHICH WE JETTISONED ONE DARK NIGHT IT WAS NEVER SEEN AGAIN BOY DID HE STROP FOR WEEKS AFTERWARDS HOT IN THE HOTEL BEDROOM SHUTTER DOORS AJAR NO ONE SAW COULD HAVE BEEN JARED’S CONCEPTION THOSE DIMPLES DRIVE ME WILD WHEN SHE HAS BACKACHE THEY ARE FAR APART OTHERWISE CLOSE I CAN TELL IF SHE’S IN PAIN BY DOING A DIMPLE-CHECK BLEAK WEATHERED CEMETERY RAINY CHRISTMAS DAY ELAINE PUT PLASTIC TRELLIS ROUND HER DAD’S GRAVE TO MAKE IT LOOK OK IT WAS FORLORN NO HEADSTONE THAT HURT HER COS THE ONE NEXT DOOR LOOKED NICE SHE PLANTED FLOWERS AND WATERED THEM DAD AND ELSIE BOY IS SHE ANIMATED IN A NICE SORT OF WAY TELLS OF A DAY OUT HOW MARVELLOUS IT WAS I COULDN’T POSSIBLY IMAGINE BUT SHE TALKS WITH HER HANDS AND EXPRESSIONS THE WORDS ARE ANCILLARY DAD JUST LETS IT ALL WASH OVER HIM LOST IN THOUGHTS HEARING AID TURNED OFF HE NEVER SHOWS IT MUCH BUT HE LOVES HER SHE DOTES ON HIM LIKE ELAINE ON ME FUNNY HOW WE’RE ALL SO SIMILAR ONE GENERATION REMOVED OUTSIDE HAVING CIG JENNIFER HEARS HER NAME LES IS TALKING HERS WAS A MESSY KITCHEN CLEAN BUT PRETTY BASIC A TYPICAL LONDON WORKADAY TYPE OF KITCHEN A BIT LIKE HER BUT AS LES SAID IT BE RAIGHT IN THAT YORKSHIRE KIND OF WAY SHE DID AS SHE WAS TOLD PUT KETTLE ON FOR A BREW ELAINE AND JENNIFER’S DAD HAD PRESENCE COMMANDED RESPECT BUT STUBBORN AS A MULE EVENTUALLY KILLED HIM JARED HATES DRESS UP BUT THE OTHER KIDS ARE PLAYING WHY DO I HAVE TO WEAR THIS STUFF EVERYONE’S HAVING FUN EXCEPT ME MOTHER ALWAYS CLEANING TOWEL IN HAND ON A VISIT MATRIARCH Contemporary Photography

.

33 .


YOU MIGHT SAY DIVORCED 30 YEARS BUT STILL TELLS DAILY TALES OF HOW BAD DAD WAS TO HER TO ANYONE WHO’LL LISTEN SHE CAN’T FORGET MUST BE A DEEPER REASON SOMEWHERE ELAINE ALWAYS DOING HAIR BABY JARED GOES EVERYWHERE WITH HER LIKE AN ACCESSORY MADE TO SIT ON BED AND WATCH BORED PROBABLY MOTHER CONSTANTLY INTERFERES WITH ANYONE’S DISCIPLINE OF THEIR CHILDREN SO ANNOYING ELAINE HATES IT AS MOTHER SITS ELAINE GETS CROSS WITH JARED MARY’S DISCOMFORT PLAIN TO SEE ELAINE TOOK HER DAD’S ILLNESS AND DEATH SO BADLY SHE RETREATED INTO HER SHELL DIFFICULT TO GET PAST HER SOLITUDE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE I’LL GET OVER IT WALKING THE DOG ASLEEP ON SOFA IRKED IF I INTERRUPT GOD KNOWS WHY SHE DOES HER NAILS ON THE TOP LANDING ODDBALL ALWAYS ON AT ME FOR BEING UNTIDY I LEAVE MY CLOTHES ON THE BEDROOM CHAIR WINDS HER UP BUT SHE’S AN UNTIDY SLEEPER BED’S ALWAYS IN A MESS SHE MAKES IT I CAN’T BE ARSED MORE WIND UP MI FAMILIA WORDS AND IMAGES NIGEL TOOBY FRPS VISUAL DESIGN CONCEPT TEA BISCUITS PATIENCE AND SUPPORT JANET M COOK ARPS TOM AND MANDY’S WEDDING POSH AFFAIR COACH AND HORSES HAPPY DAY BUT HIS POSE REMINDED ME OF HITLER FOR SOME REASON JUST NEEDED A TASH HE MADE ELAINE’S LIFE A MISERY AS A CHILD BIG BULLY MOTHER IN A KINDER POSE NOT LONG BEFORE SHE DIED WE’D HAD BIG BUST UP OVER SUSAN AND I’D APOLOGISED THE MALES IN MUM’S LIFE ALWAYS IN THE WRONG THE FEMALES ALWAYS RIGHT NO MATTER WHAT ME LITTLE RAYMOND ELAINE LITTLE ELSIE DAD WITH PIPE AND AGAIN WITH THE SAME PIPE PRESENT FROM LITTLE ME CHILD HE ALWAYS TREASURED RIGHT INTO OLD AGE ALWAYS PUFFING AWAY HE USED TO CADGE CIGS FROM ME ELSIE DIDN’T APPROVE TOLD HIM IT’D KILL HIM BUT HE WAS CRIPPLED AND WANTED TO DIE SOONEST BABY JARED SO PEACEFUL EVER PRESENT DUMMY WHEN HE WAKES HE’S TROUBLE LISA ALWAYS A TOM BOY SUSAN ALWAYS A .

34 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


SHOUTING SHE’S A COMMISSIONED OFFICER IN THE RAF NOW HOW APPROPRIATE GETS TO USE SKILL YOU CAN SEE ME IN SHADOW TAKING A PICTURE IN SPAIN I HATE BEING PHOTOGRAPHED IT’S NEAT BEING BACK LENS WHAT A MESS ELSIE AND DAD LIVED IN TOWARDS THE END EVERYTHING WONKY EVEN THE PICTURES NOT DIRTY BUT MUDDLE EVERYWHERE SHE’D NEVER ALLOW A CLEANER IN MUMS HOUSE ALWAYS SPOTLESS IN CONTRAST SAYS LOTS ABOUT PRIORITIES INTERESTING HOW KIDS DON’T SEEM FAZED ABOUT HAVING A POO IN PUBLIC AT A WEDDING SUCH INNOCENCE LIKE QUIETLY PLAYING WITH WATER IN THE BACK ALLEY AT MUM’S THE SHEER JOY OF A SWING OR JARED ASKING WHY I WON’T PLAY FOOTBALL WITH HIM I HATE FOOTBALL WITH A PASSION ON HOLIDAY I JUST WANT TO CHILL WITH A BOOK ELAINE LIKES AN ITINERARY MY WORK LIFE IS A CONSTANT ITINERARY THAT’S NO BREAK FOR ME THE ATTIC BEDROOM WAS A BOMB SITE WHEN ALAINNA LANDED SWEAR SHE HAS SUITCASES LIKE JACK-IN-BOXES THEY EXPLODE CLOTHES AND GIRLIE THINGS EVERYWHERE JARED NEVER QUITE UNDERSTOOD DOZING ON THE COUCH USUALLY WITH SOME TOY OR ITEM LIKE A BRUSH OR A SPADE STRANGE BOY IT WAS HOT SHE WAS EXHAUSTED AARON DRAPED OVER PREFERRED DRAPING TO HUGS IT’S A BOY THING DRAPES COOL HUGS SISSY BY THE POOL JANIS TOLD GOOD JOKES ELAINE LAUGHED I DRANK CORFU HONEYMOON SUN SEA SAND HANGOVER TRAMPOLINE TOOK AGES TO PUT UP AND AGES TO TAKE DOWN HE ALWAYS WANTED IT OUT PLAYED FOR 5 THEN IT STOOD IDLE FOR WEEKS MARSHALL ARTS NEVER HIS THING BUT HE WAS BEING BULLIED SO TRIED GAVE UP WHEN ALL KIT PURCHASED TYPICAL KID MONEY NO OBJECT SHE’S ARTY MY MISSUS ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW TO COME HOME TO PLAYS WITH HOUSE DECO LIKE A TOY THERAPEUTIC CRAFTS NEVER KNOW WHAT’S NEXT SO PROUD IN HER UNIFORM FOR FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL LITTLE DID POOR LISA KNOW WHAT LIFE HAD IN STORE ELAINE IN QUIET SOLITUDE ONLY JARED HAD POWER TO BREAK IT ENDED HERE FOR MUM AN ASH PIT UNDER A SIMPLE SLAB BUT SHE’S ELSEWHERE WITH ALL THE OTHERS NICE FLOWERS Contemporary Photography

.

35 .


Miss Titus Becomes A Regular Army Mac, Melinda Gibson Book Review, Brian Steptoe FRPS This is an artist book, conceived by Melinda Gibson and published in October 2013 by b.frank books, who specialise in artist books. It’s a 46-page book, with French folds printed on both sides. Each copy is unique, signed and dated. The French fold format has pages folded on the outer edge, thus hiding the inside images. The author Melinda Gibson is a graduate of the London College of Communication. In 2010 Magenta Foundation selected her as one of the British winners of the Emerging Photographers’ Award. This is her second publication. Special Editions of Miss Titus Becomes A Regular Army Mac are displayed in Louis Vuitton’s New Bond Street Maison Librairie, together with her earlier publication The Photograph as Contemporary Art. Miss Titus, in common with many recent awardwinning contemporary photobooks, uses ‘found’ images, in this case from the archive collection of Brad Feuerhelm, who also writes the accompanying text. Many of these originate from Culver Pictures, Inc., and other news agencies associated with the movie business. The directly visible pages of the book show the annotated backs of the photographs, with the front images hidden in the French folds. Two of the outer edges were cut open on the copy reviewed. This book is not easy to get into, to attempt to ‘read’, but a steer is given in the text; that the back images establish the context for the hidden images. However, in most cases there is no connection between the two, which is the actual message implied by the book - that we seek connections and meanings where there

.

36 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


just aren’t any. It’s about the ‘lies’ of photography, about photographs never showing ‘truth’. It also has a psychological element; should readers resist the temptation to cut open these hidden pages and for how long? It’s a book as much about the tactical experience of handling as about the content. There are similarities in this with award-winning photobooks The Present, by Paul Graham and Mrs Merriman’s Collection, by Anne Sophie Merriman. The Graham book has multiple foldout pages, and the reader is required to open these out in order to make connections between images. The Merriman book has two pages sewn together at the end, which the reader has to decide either to leave alone or to cut open. Opening these reveals the truth behind the book. The Royal Photographic Society Photobook Exhibition 2014 is a new addition to their exhibition programme. Open to RPS members only, it has a closing date of 1 September 2014. Members are encouraged to submit artist books as well as print-on-demand produced books.

Contemporary Photography

.

37 .


Zoe’s Doll Nicola Davison Reed

.

38 .

RPS Contemporary Group Journal


Group Events 2 February

Photobooks and the RPS Photobook Exhibition; talk ED plus display of award-winning photobooks, followed OK by hands-on book layout workshop using Ysets BO of 10x15cm prints, led by Brian Steptoe FRPS. Meeting LL arranged by the South East Region. Beechwood Sacred Heart School, 12 Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells FU et o TN2 3QD, 11 am-3.30 pm. Contact N and bookings Terry McGhee ARPS, email southeast@rps.org

9 February

Contemporary South West meeting in Dartington, Devon. 10.30am-4pm. Contact Rod Fry for directions rod@rodfry.eclipse.co.uk, tel 01803 844721

15 February

Contemporary North East meeting. Strensall Village Hall, near York, 2-5pm. to examine and discuss the NHS-65 book project, the Holmfirth series and for members to bring work in progress for comments and discussion. Contact Nigel Tooby FRPS, nigel@mogulimage.co.uk, tel 01924 274100

16 February

Photobooks and the RPS Photobook Exhibition; talk plus display of award-winning photobooks, followed by hands-on book layout workshop using sets of 10x15cm prints, led by Brian Steptoe FRPS. Joint meeting of the Contemporary Group and East Anglia Region. Foxton Village Hall, nr. Cambridge CB22 6RN, 11am - 4pm. Contact and bookings Ann Miles FRPS, ann@pin-sharp.co.uk

2 March

Contemporary Distinctions Advisory Day. Event held with the Yorkshire Region. National Railway Museum, York, YO26 4XJ. 10.30am-4.30pm. Contact Mary Crowther photobox50@gmail.com, tel 07921 237962

9 March

Photobooks and the RPS Photobook Exhibition; talk plus display of award-winning photobooks, followed by hands-on book layout workshop using sets of 10x15cm prints, led by Brian Steptoe FRPS. Joint meeting arranged by the Documentary & Visual Journalism Group. Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry St, Winchester. SO23 8SB. 11am - 3pm. Contact Mo Connelly, event organiser, dvj@rps.org

17 March

Contemporary North West meeting. All welcome. Meet in the Days Inn Hotel at the north-bound Charnock Richard services, between junctions 27 and 28 of the M6. Contact Ian Maxwell mail@ihmaxwell.com tel.01524 770278.

12 April

Photobooks and the RPS Photobook Exhibition; talk plus display of award-winning photobooks, followed by hands-on book layout workshop using sets of 10x15cm prints, led by Brian Steptoe FRPS assisted by Rod Fry ARPS. Meeting arranged by the South West Region. BoveyTracey, TQ13 9AL. Contact Jenny Leathes, jennyleathes@btinternet.com tel 01209 211156

29 June

Contemporary South West meeting. Venue to be confirmed, but likely to be at Carnon Downs Inn, near Truro TR3 6JT

Advance information

A photobook exhibition is being organised, which will be open to all members of the RPS, with a closing date of 1 September 2014. More details will be available shortly. Or contact rod@rodfry.eclipse.co.uk

Chair - Avril Harris ARPS avrilrharris@blueyonder.co.uk

Event organiser - Avril Harris ARPS avrilrharris@blueyonder.co.uk

Webmaster, e-newsletter editor, Stewart Wall, artonastudios@gmail.com

Deputy chair - Rod Fry ARPS rod@rodfry.eclipse.co.uk

Journal editor - Patricia Ruddle ARPS 28 Malvern Avenue, York. YO26 5SG patriciaruddle@btinternet.com

Committee members Brian Steptoe FRPS bsteptoe@compuserve.com Nigel Tooby FRPS nigel@mogulimage.co.uk Ian Maxwell mail@ihmaxwell.com Douglas May FRPS douglasjmay1@btinternet.com

Secretary - Peter Ellis LRPS wordsandpicsltd@gmail.com Treasurer - Greg Holba greg@holba.net Postal portfolio - Anne Crabbe FRPS info@annecrabbe.co.uk

Journal Editorial committee Patricia Ruddle, editor Anne Crabbe Brian Steptoe, design

Contemporary Photography

.

39 .


From Flogging A Dead Horse 1989 - 1993. © Paul Reas/Courtesy Impressions Gallery. Paul Reas’ first major retrospective Day Dreaming About the Good Times is on until 8 March 2014 at Impressions Gallery, Bradford.

Price where sold, £5

Contemporary Photography Winter 2014  

Quarterly Journal of the Contemporary Group of the RPS, Winter 2014

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you