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Team Vignette Editor: Philip Searle Head of Design: Alec Jackson Deputy Editor: Luke Archer Arts Editor: Iris Veysey Copy Editor: Miranda Pinder Special thanks to: Hamish Trevis, Joe Williams, Alison Zak-Collins, Danny Griffin and Sam Nobes Website: Sean McGowan, Lou Taylor and Hazel McCoubrey Cover by Jeffrey Stockbridge full story page 26
Book Reviewer: Nik Kalinowski Portfolio Reviewers: Tamany Baker, Martin Edwards and Alex Gregory
Keep up to date: follow us on Twitter @vignettemag, Like us on Facebook and visit www.vignettemagazine.com ÂŠÂ All rights reserved. All material in Vignette may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written consent. All content in Vignette appears courtesy of the contributors and copyright remains with the contributor, where identified, and with Vignette where not. Vignette has made every effort to check the accuracy of the content of the magazine and all information was believed to be correct at the time of print.E & O E.
FOCUS It has been a great experience working on Vignette for the last 2 years. A small budget and team has required a lot of hard work from willing volunteers, and I would like to thank all of them. This is the seventh issue of Vignette, and our final regular newsprint edition. We are moving with the times and evolving Vignette into an App. We are already working on the first App edition and it is looking great! Please go to our website and join our mailing list so we
can let you know when the first edition is available. We will from time to time release special printed editions. This issue is our best yet with features on 5 photography projects and a more in depth review section. We are also using this issue to launch the Vignette Award 2013 with a £1000 cash prize. We all feel positive about the future of Vignette and are sure that, with your support, Vignette will continue to be a source of inspiration for years to come.
Philip Searle, Editor
Page 3 Portrait
Enoch Powell by John Stewart Farrier Enoch Powell was a controversial and complicated political figure, infamous for his 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech criticising immigration to the UK. The inflammatory speech saw him sacked from his position in the shadow cabinet and derided as a racist by many. However, a poll at the time revealed 74% of people agreed with Powell and some claim popular support for his views lead to the Conservative Party’s unexpected 1970 election win. Powell was highly intelligent, becoming Professor of Greek at the University of Sydney at the age of 25. Not without his quirks, he believed the works of Shakespeare to have been written by the Earl of Oxford.
John Farrier captured a typically stern-faced Powell. The photographer recalls their meeting: ‘“This is my study, not an office - campaigns have been fought and won in this room,” he announced as we entered his lair. Enoch Powell had a charismatic style that other MP’s noticed and secretly admired. I have called this photograph – The Prime Minister Who Wasn’t, simply because of the authoritative look and manner he portrayed during the session at his London home.’ Throughout his 25-year career as a documentary photographer, Farrier has photographed numerous political and entertainment figures, mostly in
black and white, using natural light and a Nikon F100 35mm with Ilford 400 film. Farrier will be taking this same equipment to Moscow to photograph the Russian president, Vladmir Putin.
If you have a portrait you would like to submit for this feature send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography
Victoria from Feminist, 2011 © Catrine Val
A new biennial photography festival launches this year in Cardiff. Presented by Penarth’s Ffotogallery and its partners, Diffusion will showcase both international names and some of the leading photography and lens-based media in Wales. Lindoso power station - control room (frontal view), 2012 © Edgar Martins
Diffusion 2013 poses the question, ‘And Where are We Now?’. This, the festival posits, is an age of image saturation, in which people experience a daily deluge of photographic images, in newspapers and magazines, on TV and in advertisements, not to mention online. As the lines between artist and audience, amateur and professional, become less distinct, the festival examines the role of photography in contemporary visual culture and its ability to represent everyday experience. Programme highlights include Elin Høyland’s acclaimed series, Brothers, on show at the Norwegian Church, and Edgar Martins’ The Time Machine at Ffotogallery. In addition, Diffusion presents Maurizio Anzeri’s first solo exhibition
in Wales. Anzeri, an Italian artist, has gained international fame for his ‘photo-sculptural pieces’, which combine found photographs with embroidery. A number of these will be displayed alongside previously unseen works by the artist. The festival also plays host to a major exhibition of new work by leading Welsh artist Helen Sear, and the world premiere of Gideon Koppel’s new film B O R T H. Koppel garnered widespread praise in 2011 for Sleep Furiously, a documentary focusing on life in the Welsh farming community of Trefeurig. Similarly, B O R T H explores the seaside town of Borth, in a blend of fiction and documentary.
Saida in Green. Digital c-print and tyre frame, 65 x 55 cm. Hassan Hajjaj, 2000. Copyright V&A. Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum.
Detail from the series ‘The Yemeni Sailors of South Shields’. Hand-coloured gelatin silver print, 39 x 27 cm. Youssef Nabil, 2006. Copyright British Museum. Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum.
Light from the Middle East: New Photography at the V&A Geographically, the Middle East is a vast region. The term ‘Middle East’ is itself vague, variously referring to parts of North Africa and the westernmost nations of Asia. It encompasses countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Turkey. The 30 artists gathered in Light from the Middle East: New Photography cannot be representative of contemporary photographic practice in the region. Nor could anyone have expected the V&A to produce a show which captured the entire of Middle Eastern photography (that would be a curatorial impossibility). It serves as a reminder however, that this is a carefully curated body of work.
These are complex debates which have been discussed for years. Regrettably, their treatment in Light is somewhat simplistic, almost trite. This is most evident in the accompanying texts and captions. At the opening of the exhibition, visitors are greeted with an oversimplistic text, advising that ‘photography is a powerful and persuasive means of expression’. The captions then match the images rather too neatly with bold statements about their meaning. It feels as though the visitor is being told precisely what to think of each picture. This gives the exhibition the air of an all-too earnest lesson and has the unfortunate side-effect of distracting from the photographs themselves.
In general, the V&A has chosen works which directly engage with social and political issues. A broad selection of styles and methods are displayed, from the photojournalism of Abbas to the photomontage of Camille Zakharia. The exhibition is split into three sections, each addressing a different approach to photography. In Recording the photograph is explored as a means of reportage and commemoration. In Reframing artists appropriate or recreate historic or existing images and styles. Lastly, in Resisting, images examine censorship and ask if a photograph can be truthful or accurate.
Perhaps the most successful installation is Jananne Al-Ani’s Shadow Sites II (2011). This is a video piece comprising a series of aerial shots of the desert. Taken when the sun is at its lowest, the landscape is marked by bold shadows. The outlines of archaeological sites, viewed from afar, are transformed into a series of abstract patterns. Presented alone in a darkened room, the projection fills one wall. As the camera zooms in repeatedly, the sound of voices, helicopters, radios, doors being opened and closed, rises and falls. The effect is almost hypnotic.
Another highlight is Youssef Nabil’s The Yemeni Sailors of South Shields (2006). Since the early ‘90s Nabil has produced distinctive, hand-coloured silver gelatin photographs. These recall the golden age of Egyptian cinema, when the industry was dubbed ‘Hollywood on the Nile’. In The Yemeni Sailors he photographs the last surviving Yemeni men who settled as ship workers in South Shields, England. Coloured in the style of mid-century studio portraiture, the photographs are nostalgic, drifting between the present and the past. Contemporary Middle Eastern art is underrepresented in UK collections. For all that the exhibition is flawed, it is refreshing to see a major museum give a platform to these artists. There are many thought-provoking works here, from Shadi Ghadirian’s studio portraits to Walid Raad’s conceptual project, The Atlas Group. In the end though, Light from the Middle East is too ambitious in its scope and may leave visitors feeling unsatisfied. Review: Iris Veysey, Arts Editor
Saul Leiter in In No Great Hurry. Images courtesy of Tomas Leach
Iris Veysey talks to
Tomas Leach, Director of In No Great Hurry In the trailer for Tomas Leach’s film In No Great Hurry, Saul Leiter muses, ‘I’m a person who likes to postpone things, I see no reason to be in a rush’. Certainly, ‘rush’ is not a word to be associated with Leiter’s career. He has worked steadily since the 1940s, when he began taking street photographs in New York. Though his photographs were selected by Edward Steichen for two exhibitions at the MoMA in the 1950s, it is only in recent years that his originality has been recognised. The book Saul Leiter: Early Colour, published by Steidl in 2011, was particularly instrumental in cementing his reputation as a pioneer of colour photography.
How did you begin making documentaries? Well, I’ve always loved non-fiction and journalism. So when I was at film school and getting frustrated at some of the ways fiction was made there, it seemed very natural to turn to documentary. It excited me more and felt like there was much more potential in it. Almost as a reaction to what I had been doing, I made my first documentary with a friend. There was a tiny crew, no script, but there were fascinating characters in amazing places and I loved it.
In 2009 director Tomas Leach set out to make a documentary about Leiter. The result is In No Great Hurry. Here, Leach tells Vignette about his work and the project.
What drew you to Saul Leiter as a subject? I had a book of Saul’s work (Early Color) and I fell in love with it. His photography is so subtle, so contemporary feeling and just so beautiful. When I tried to read a little about him I found there was almost nothing around. And the intro to the book suggested someone almost hiding away, doing their own thing in their own way. That was really intriguing and inspiring, so I set out to meet him, to see if maybe he would talk to me. Saul received very little notice for many years and has said in the past, ‘I spent a great deal of my life being ignored. I was always very happy that way. Being ignored is a great privilege’. He’s certainly not being ignored now. Was he resistant to the idea of the film? I wrote to Saul’s gallery [Howard Greenberg] saying that I loved his work and was thinking that a film might be good. They replied a while later and said that they would love to do something, but that Saul would like to see some of my previous work. I sent him some
films I had made and a while later the gallery told me that he had enjoyed them. I sent him some postcards saying what I wanted to do, and how I thought the film could be fun. Eventually he said that if I was in New York, he would be happy to meet me for a coffee. So I booked a ticket to go to New York for coffee. When I arrived at his door, he opened it to me with the words ‘why do people always want something from me?’ and turned back indoors, leaving me on the doorstep. I followed him in, a bit unsure and we had a chat. He grilled me about my life, my family, my career and we got on pretty well. He said he was sort of open to the idea and that I could visit again that week. Later in the week, we had lunch and he signed my copy of Early Color with the words ‘it will happen, we will see’. It took me a year and a half to tie him down. He got put off when I was trying to raise finance, because it would mean third parties getting involved. He didn’t want anyone else filming with me, just me alone. Margit, his loyal friend and co-producer of the film, drafted a contract with me that put all this in place. All through this time, I would send him postcards and give him a call just to make him sure I wasn’t going away. Finally we started filming in 2010.
You spent three years working on the film. How did your relationship with Saul develop? Through lots of small trips, we found a routine that suited us both. One that didn’t exhaust Saul and meant that filming was still progressing. We would film on alternate days. I’d arrive in the morning with coffee for us both and we’d talk until lunch. Then after lunch we’d film for a little more until it was getting too much. Over the year and a half of filming, we developed a relationship that I am really fond of. We talk about everything. He asks me as much as I ask him. It’s been a privilege having someone so wise and witty in my life. I thought to myself, midway through the filming, that even if I hadn’t been making a film, I would have loved the experience of walking around New York, talking to a great photographer and a fascinating older man. What are your plans for In No Great Hurry? Firstly, I’m getting it into as many festivals as I can. From there, I’m not sure yet. It was self-financed so there are no obligations. I just want it to be seen by as many people as possible. There will certainly be a DVD and download available. Probably in early summer.
Man Ray Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London The artist Man Ray is perhaps best remembered as a Surrealist and founding member of the New York Dada movement. An innovative photographer, Man Ray was a fixture of the Parisian avant-garde in the 1920s and 1930s. It is the images of this period that have come to define our idea of Man Ray, not least Le Violin d’Ingres (1924), which depicts the artist’s muse and lover Kiki du Montparnasse, her back transformed into a violin by two f-shaped sound holes.
Barbette, 1926 by Man Ray The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles 84,XM,1000,39 © Man Ray Trust ARS ASAGP
Le Violin d’Ingres is one of 150 photographs on show in Man Ray Portraits, a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. With images taken between 1916 and 1964, the show sheds new light on Man Ray as a portraitist. The photographs, many of which have never been displayed in the UK, depict Man Ray’s famed contemporaries, from Pablo Picasso to Erik Satie, but also include more intimate portraits of friends, lovers and family members. Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in 1890, Man Ray grew up in New York and initially aspired to become a painter. Indeed, he first learnt photography as a means to reproduce his artwork and only began taking portrait commissions to fund his painting. It was his friendship with Marcel Duchamp, whom he met in 1915 at the Ridgeway artist colony, that prompted his move to Paris in 1921. Once there, he was perfectly placed to take portraits of some of the leading figures in the art world: André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Georges Braque and Salvador Dalí, to name a few. Man Ray began to experiment with techniques and processes, developing a new type of photogram, which he christened the ‘Rayograph’, and pioneering the process of solarisation with his collaborator Lee Miller. Several solarised portraits are shown in the exhibition, including Man Ray’s portrait of Miller in side profile, her head and shoulders marked with the dark outlines typical of the process. In addition, there are several works from Man Ray’s later career: from his time in Hollywood, where he fled during World War Two, and his last years in Paris, where he continued to photograph such stars as Juliette Greco and Yves Montand.
Man Ray Portraits is at the National Portrait Gallery until 27 Mar 2013. Standard price admission £12.70. Concessions £11.80/ £10.90. For more information or to book tickets visit www.npg.org.uk/manray or call 020 7766 7331. Text: Iris Veysey, Arts Editor Man Ray Self Portrait with Camera 1932 by Man Ray The Jewish Museum New York Purchase
Infra The opening photo in this thought-provoking book by Richard Mosse is an aerial shot of the River Congo, suggesting that we are to be taken on a journey to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Much like Marlow’s voyage up the same river to meet Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, and Willard’s in the film it inspired, Apocalypse Now, you get the feeling that this will be a hazardous journey full of dangers, armed soldiers and the unknown. And so it turns out, but this trip looks to have a fantastical edge to it as well. The bright, luscious colours of the jungle are transformed into searing pinks, landscapes become delicate gradations of magenta, and the camouflage uniforms have a subtle, slightly camp, rose hue. Mosse has used a discontinued colour infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome, originally intended for use in military reconnaissance, to capture what he sees. Colours are transformed into a wondrously, flamboyant version of the original. However, as the journey continues, and as landscapes give way to portraits, the initial wonder at this new, altered spectrum begins to turn to feelings of unease. You feel that you’re being drawn deeper into a tense, slightly nightmarish world where conflict and violence are very close at hand. It’s a fascinating film choice and one that lifts the carefully composed photographs onto a higher, edgier level, making you see the conflict in a whole new way, and highlighting powerfully a beautiful country scarred by years of human tragedy. This is an intriguing book and one that takes documentary photography off the well trodden path and into a new realm. Infra by Richard Mosse Aperture ISBN 9781597112024 £35 Published 2012
In and Out of Fashion Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen published a highly-regarded book a few years ago called Flamboya, which, judging by the current prices on various websites, is now a highly sought-after collector’s item. It’s mostly a book of staged portraits, or perhaps antiportraits, of various ordinary-looking people from across Africa, most with their faces obscured, cast in deep shadow or with their backs to the camera. The images are deftly composed, at times surreal or humorous, and full of saturated colours. Subtle clues and hints as to the sitters’ everyday lives are dotted throughout. Sassen’s new book, In and Out of Fashion, looks back at a decade and a half of her work for various high-profile fashion magazines, such as Dazed and Confused and Wallpaper, and the pictures are as similarly creative and thought-provoking as those in Flamboya. The models are definitely not the stars of these fashion photographs; again you rarely see their faces as they’re often turned away from the camera, have their hair obscuring their features or they’re hidden behind trees, flowers or more shadows. The style is playful and impulsive, yet the shots are clearly well thought out and make you question what it is you think makes a good fashion image. References to fashion photography past-masters Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin crop up often but where those provocateurs were shocking and in-your-face, Sassen’s photographs seem subtler and the characters more elusive. Sassen is a photographer well worth following to see where her career heads next, and her books and prints will undoubtedly continue to become more and more collectable. This could be a great investment.
Book Reviewer: Nik Kalinowski
In and Out of Fashion by Viviane Sassen Prestel Publishing ISBN 9783791348285 £35 Published 2013
ONLINE ONEGIANTARM is an image based blog formed in 2010 by photographers Joe Williams and Tommy Sussex .
With the initial intention of sharing their personal photography, they soon realised the potential of the blog platform for showcasing the work of inspirational emerging photographers; with a keen interest in self publishing, analogue processes and alternative photographic output, ONEGIANTARM has engaged with both international and local photographers to create inclusive projects and events that aim explore the tactility of the photographic image in our current era of web based viewing. As image production and display has witnessed a paradigm shift into the digital age, ONEGIANTARM has successfully embraced the potential of the internet to a create valuable resource of photographers and a broad reaching network for creative collaboration.
Now working on a submissions basis, they have featured the work of over 1000 emerging photographers, featured original interviews with established members of the photographic industry and curated a number of group exhibitions and self published zines.
Worth a look窶ｦ
In January this year, ONEGIANTARM collaborated with ThePhotocopy club to host a pop up exhibition and zine fair at The Diving School, Bristol and they intend to continue collaborating with, exhibiting and publishing the work of photographers and collectives from Bristol and beyond.
www.boston.com/bigpicture www.thomasstruth25.com www.photojournalismlinks.com
www.featureshoot.com www.filmsnotdead.com www.peanutbutterthoughts.com
Vignette Award 2013 The first annual Vignette Award will be launched in May 2013 with the aim of finding some of the best images in the world. With an accessible entry cost of £15 for up to 4 photographs, we hope the VA13 will attract entries from all photographic backgrounds. Entrants will be able to select one of four categories for each image: Landscape, Art, Portrait and Documentary. 5 finalists will be selected for each of these categories and these will form the finalists exhibition. One of these photographs will be selected as the overall winner and the photographer will receive a cash prize of £1000. The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Vignette HQ in Bristol on 13th September 2013. This will be followed by a 4 week exhibition in Photographique’s gallery from 14th September until 12th October 2013.
The selection panel will be announced when the entry opens in May and will include some big names from the world of photography and art. We have seen so much great photography from our readers since we formed Vignette and are excited to see the entries for VA13. Our aim is for the Vignette Award to become well regarded and prestigious and feel sure the quality of the entries will establish it as such. The closing date for entry to VA13 is 30th July 2013. Finalists images will be printed and framed by Vignette and the prints will be available for the finalists at the end of the exhibition. All finalists work will feature in Vignette. The winner of the Vignette Award will receive the £1000 cash prize and will have a solo feature in Vignette.
For more details go to www.vignettemagazine.com
Garry Winogrand Text: Hamish Trevis
New York native Garry Winogrand began his photographic career in 1948 after being shown the dark rooms by a fellow student and photographer at Columbia University. He quickly abandoned his studies as a painter and focused all his energy on photography. Throughout the next 10 or so years he worked mainly as a freelance photographer for a picture agency, having his images published in several magazines. It was not until the early 1960’s, after seeing the Walker Evans book American Photographs, that he began to take a more artistic approach to his practice. However, due to various factors including political disillusionment and the breakup of his first marriage, it was not until 1969 that he published his first book The Animals. Described as “an undisciplined mixture of energy, ego, curiosity, ignorance, and street-smart naiveté,” Winnogrand was incredibly prolific and amassed an archive of over 5 million images. Shooting on a compact Leica M4, Winogrand photographed energetically. In fact he shot so many photographs that on his death in 1984 he left behind 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film, and 6,500 rolls of film that had not been proofed!
14 Garry Winogrand
Despite being widely recognised as one of the pre-eminent American photographers of the 20th century, much of Winogrand’s work remains unseen; he only published five modest books, and he has been inadequately published and incompletely explored by critics and art historians. However, this year San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will be holding the first retrospective exhibition of Garry Winogrand’s collected photographs. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue reveal to the public the full breadth of Winogrand’s oeuvre – a jubilant, epic portrait of America that is Whitmanesque in its ambitions to encompass the whole of the nation’s life.
Garry Winogrand at SFMOMA runs from 9th March until 2nd June 2013. More details can be found online at www.sfmoma.org
01 Garry Winogrand, New York, ca. 1982–83; Gelatin silver print. Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 02 Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles International Airport, 1964; gelatin silver print; Collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Patrons’ Permanent Fund; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 03 Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, ca.1980–83; gelatin silver print; Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 04 Garry Winogrand, John F. Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles, 1960; posthumous digital reproduction from original negative; Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 05 Garry Winogrand, Fort Worth, Texas, 1974–77. Gelatin silver print. Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 06 Garry Winogrand, New York, ca. 1960; gelatin silver print; Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
07 Garry Winogrand, New York, 1969; gelatin silver print; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 08 Garry Winogrand, Fort Worth, Texas, 1974; gelatin silver print; collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Doris and Donald Fisher and Marion E. Greene; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 09 Garry Winogrand, Albuquerque, 1957; gelatin silver print; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, purchase; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 10 Garry Winogrand, Park Avenue, New York, 1959; gelatin silver print; collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Patrons’ Permanent Fund; image courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 11 Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles International Airport, 1964; gelatin silver print; Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 12 Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, 1964; gelatin silver print; Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
IN/FLUX by Ashley Hampson and Tim Lawrence
Wheal Maid Valley, Cornwall resembles an alien landscape, caked in a crust of ochre orange that shifts with the ebb and flow of the lakes as they rise and fall during the shift of the seasons.
Our work began with an overall study of the valley that led us to become fascinated with the smaller and more intricate artefacts that litter the landscape. We had a desire to explore the relationships that man has had with this Martian landscape and the power that nature has to reshape and absorb the impact of industrial use. Furthermore we wished to document the mines’ current use; part playground for bikers, part dumping ground. The valley is truly a disturbing yet beautiful contaminated ode to our presence. Bottles form dams, pliers resembling crab claws are overshadowed by the remnants of mining stacks, monolithic memorials to an industrial recession. Now a dwindling sector in the county’s economic engine but once made Cornwall one of the most industrial areas in the world.
The work was produced using both digital and analogue mediums using a range of cameras and techniques to record the essence of the space as it evolved around us. Objects littered the barren landscape and in some cases decayed or vanished. The lakes would react to the changes of weather like a living organism, and occasionally the odd plant would break the barren crust, returning after a short-lived life to the arsenic-poisoned clay earth. All around, the scars of the mines bore a constant reminder to the history of this unique and beguiling landscape. Wheal Maid Valley, once occupied by a lucrative small industry, is now in limbo, without purpose. The fleeting visitors today leave evidence behind like post-apocalyptic scars upon the landscape. This powerful sense of past life and present abandonment shaped by the will of nature leaves this derelict site in a constant state of flux.
Originally from the north-east of England, he moved to Cornwall to study and graduated in 2006 from Falmouth College of Arts with a degree in photography, specifically focused around documentary photography and portraiture.
Tim Lawrence spent the formative years of his life growing up in the south west of England, graduating in 2004 from the University of Wales, Newport, with a degree in Photographic Art. He largely shoots on film, preferring the look, tactile nature and the slower more contemplative process that it necessitates.
His interest in this project came from the desire to reclaim his artistic enjoyment of landscape photography. His father worked hard as a landscape photographer and artist for a long period of time and this has always been deeply embedded in Ashley’s original enjoyment of photography. After moving away from landscape photography and working in the busy and fast-paced retail, returning to the calm and tranquil study of past heritage in an unfamiliar and new landscape offered him the opportunity to have a more creative and experimental approach. Ashley continues to work on projects that excite him and also works as a successful wedding and commercial photographer throughout the south west of England.
Tim has worked on a range of photographic projects including landscape, interiors and more recently a shift towards street photography. Projects include Ghosts in Armour, a series of images printed onto sheets of steel documenting Whiteheads Steel Factory in Newport shortly before its demolition in 2008 and Outside Looking In, a series of street photographs taken in a number of European countries. Since graduating, he has also become a lecturer in Photography at Truro College, Cornwall.
Jeffrey Stockbridge Interviewer: Joe Williams
For the majority of us, the Internet has become our primary source of inspiration. Blogs have become a one-stop shop for fulfilling our photographic needs and we can now experience new work daily only for it to be replaced, pushed aside and lost in ever-longer scrolls.
26â€ƒ Jeffrey Stockbridge
Tic Tac and Tootsie
Jeffrey Stockbridge is a photographer whose work I first discovered through these blogs, yet his work has left a lasting impression. After his nomination for the 2010 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, Stockbridge’s work has regularly surfaced in the ‘blogosphere’; his large-format images are often striking, with a raw beauty that eventually led me to his blog and reflective journal Kensington Blues. Kensington Avenue is an area of inner city Philadelphia that lies in the shadows of the Market-Frankford train line, known locally as the El. Stockbridge has
dedicated five years of his life to photographing the Avenue. His images capture with brutal honesty and harrowing tales of human survival that, whilst rife in the Ave, also resonate with inner city deprivation the world over. Accompanied by transcribed conversations and handwritten letters, Stockbridge has not only utilised large-format equipment to create a gripping body of work, but has also demonstrated the power of the blog in a new generation of storytelling. I contacted Stockbridge to find out more about his photography and why Kensington Avenue has taken such a firm hold on his photographic practice.
Your photographic work has earned you acclaim and a number of grants to continue your projects. How did you first develop your interest in the photographic image, what led you to pick up a camera and what route did you take to pursue your photography? I was introduced to photography when I was in High School. We didn’t have a photo class at school so I enrolled in a class at the local Community College. I was obsessed with my first camera, a 35mm Canon AT-1 with a 50mm lens. I began taking nature photographs in the woods around my house and I took my camera with me when I went skateboarding in D.C. and Baltimore. Every week I would get my film processed at the local supermarket and bring home a stack of 4x6 doubles. When it came time to apply to College, I shocked my parents when I told them I wanted to study photography.
I first discovered your photography through your blog Kensington Blues. You have stated that your initial interest in Kensington Avenue was photographing the interiors of abandoned buildings, although as your work has progressed portraiture seems to have become foremost in your project. Have you always considered yourself a portrait photographer or has this been a natural evolution of the project? My first series, Occupied, brought together interior views of abandoned houses with artefacts (letters, family photos) that were left behind. I created this work over a period of five years throughout all of Philadelphia. Near the end of this project I began making portraits. I met a prostitute that was selling sex for drugs. She referred me to Kensington Ave and I quickly found myself confronted with a new project. I have always loved shooting portraits but this was the first time I focused solely on large-format portraiture.
28 Jeffrey Stockbridge
Whilst browsing Kensington Blues I became instantly drawn to the stories of each portrait through audio transcriptions or handwritten texts. There seemed to be evidence of a personal relationship with each subject. How important do you feel it is to develop and retain these relationships whilst creating your work? What led you to initially record your conversations with each sitter? When I first started photographing along Kensington Ave, my focus was on prostitution. The women I was meeting told me harrowing tales of violence, addiction and how they fought to survive. I would come home at night and their stories would stick with me. I felt that it was necessary to find a way to incorporate these stories within the project, so I began recording them without knowing exactly what I was going to do with them. I brought a journal into the equation and asked people to share their thoughts. I basically became a story collector, which isn’t really any different from being a photographer as I see it.
The relationships I share with my subjects vary. Some interactions are very short while others span the course of many years. Regardless of the length, I’ve learned that opening your heart and mind to those who live by very different means is paramount in creating a direct and honest exchange. I can’t say for certain that I will ever see someone again after I pack up my camera and we part ways. Many are without a phone or address and they have little control in securing a living situation with any permanence. But as it happens, I usually see someone I know when I’m photographing on the Ave and I am still in contact with many people I photographed back in 2008 when the project first began.
The resulting images capture a captivating honesty that provides a great depth to your subject and an area that may often be overlooked or frowned upon. You have been photographing the area for five years now. How has your personal attitude towards Kensington Avenue changed during this time? It’s safe to say that I didn’t really have any idea what I was getting into when I started. When the project began, I was unaware of the degree to which substance abuse had a grip on the neighbourhood. Early on I was exposed to drug use, prostitution and violence first-hand. That’s when it began to set in and I realized that I was vulnerable. It was a good feeling though. I found a way to use my own apprehension as a guide. The more intimidated I felt, the closer I made myself get to my subject and I knew that meant I was progressing. My visits increased to three or four times a week and over a short period of time, I found myself compulsively drawn to the Ave. This is when I started
to see the Ave as a sort of beacon that drew people in and held them there. The El Train above the Ave is literally a shelter and beneath it there are recovery houses and places to get a free meal. The services that help people exist side by side with the dangers that tempt to bring them down. It’s an interesting juxtaposition. People of all backgrounds seem to flock to the Ave in search of something. The roar of passing trains above creates a rhythm that appears to exert a hypnotic control over the action below. It’s a poetic environment, at times otherworldly.
Obviously you have become a primary witness to the on-going struggle of Kensington but your imagery tells a story that is widely recognizable...In many ways you could even be considered a contemporary Jacob Riis. Did you set out with humanitarian aspirations for this project and what drives you to continue photographing the ‘underprivileged’? Are there any photographers that you have found particularly inspirational in the creation of your work? KB grew out of a specific curiosity surrounding prostitution and my fascination with people and environments that are on the fringe of society. The truth is that the people I photograph are not that much different than you or I. They experience love and happiness, pain and loss like everyone. It’s just that it’s all a little more potent in their world. Much of representation of Kensington that currently exists is either too academic (social and anthropological studies) or too lowbrow (the local news). I want my
work to speak from the heart and appeal to a wider audience. I want people of all backgrounds and educations to experience what exists on the Ave and get the sense that they are seeing it first hand. This is the only way that viewers will get an actual sense of what life is like on the Ave. By utilizing first person storytelling, my goal is to tap into the hearts and minds of my subjects and viewers equally, drawing forth the human condition and encouraging compassion for one another despite the vast differences between us. Seminal works by Bruce Davidson, Eugene Richards and Jim Goldberg have influenced my work greatly and serve as vital reference material.
30 Jeffrey Stockbridge
You have chosen to use a 5x4 camera for the majority of your photography, leading you to slow your process and raise your expenses. What led you to shoot 5x4 and what benefits do you feel this brings to photographing each of your subjects? You have a portfolio of editorial/ advertising images on your website, how often do you take on paid commissions and how do you find the balance of commercial and personal work? I shoot 5x4 because I want to make big beautiful prints that the viewer would want to go swimming in. Working in a large-format helps me to insert depth and intimacy in my work. It also slows me down considerably and helps put my subjects at ease. I’m shooting with an old Sinar F that’s missing a few screws. It’s a simple camera that’s nonconfrontational (less like a weapon in front of my face, more like a respected friend by my side). It offers a level of respect to my sitter and because it’s big (mounted to a tripod) it shows that I am grounded in the environment. I’m not running off and I’m not
afraid to stick around. The camera often attracts curious passers-by who stop to chat. It’s a fantastic way to meet a potential subject- by talking about a beautiful old camera. Most importantly, working with a 5x4 affects how I see and the type of story I want to tell. Kensington Ave is so full of action. I want to slow it down and isolate certain parts for close study. Editorial assignments are often very challenging. You have a limited amount of time to make a photograph and there are all sorts of external pressures that you can’t let get in the way. You have to remind yourself that the reason you are there is to make a connection and hopefully a few good pictures will result. Other than editorial work, I also run a small fine art printing business that I opened in 2009. It’s designed as a custom ink jet print shop where artists are directly involved in the editing and printing process. It’s very rewarding work.
Whilst sharing your work online, the blog format has offered an insightful and engaging method of sharing your work that is well suited to your multimedia output. How important do you feel the Internet has been to you as a photographer? Are we ever likely to see Kensington Blues hitting the bookshelves? The blog helps me to organize and formulate ideas about my work. It’s been a vital part of not only sharing the work, but also creating it. Kensington Blues is a work in progress and its final destination is still unknown. By comparing where I started with where I’m headed, I’ve been able to track my progress and look for new directions. When all is said and done, I certainly hope to see it as a published book accompanied by an audio guide of sorts. That’s something that makes the blog format so useful, the ability to organise multiple forms of expression via different media all in one place.
Until then, have you got any exciting events or news in the pipeline? In early December I received word that I was selected as a Finalist for the First Book Prize in Photography at The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University Press. Perhaps we could also wrap up with a question about which image/story most resonates with you and why? There are too many stories that have touched me deeply to pick only one. To name a few… Dolly’s story comes to mind. Her admission of using heroin while she was pregnant with both of her kids, years apart, and her struggle to stay clean and attend rehab while being a mother is a first hand account of living through an addiction. Wilfredo’s narrative of the raw power his heroin addiction has over him, (he likens it to marrying the devil) puts it in terms
that are stark and poetic. Mary’s story concludes with the realisation that she can’t be with her son because she is on drugs, but she is on drugs because she can’t be with him. She’s talking about a perpetual cycle of pain and addiction that is not uncommon among those living along the Ave.
Instagram Text: Alison Zak-Collins
Unless you’ve been hiding behind a very large lens for the past couple of years, you will have observed the rise and rise of the smartphone and its integral camera. These cameras now pack a powerful punch with some boasting as many as 16 megapixels. Whilst this has surely eroded the point-and-shoot camera market, it has certainly been good for photography as a medium, with National Geographic estimating the average person will take 322 photos per year by 2015, versus 177 in 2006. One of the chief catalysts for this change is Instagram. Launched in September 2010, the photo-sharing app allows users to add retro-style filters to their images and then share them with the online community. It has captured the imagination of the masses with over 100 million global users. It also
caught the eye of Facebook, who stumped up nigh on a billion dollars to acquire it in September 2012. So, what does Instagram have to offer? Well, a lot more than just another shot of last night’s dinner... There are a large number of people using Instagram in a serious way. I joined in March 2012 and have found it to be an amazing creative outlet. By interacting with others, my fledgling love of photography has broken out from the confines of holidays and special occasions to an everyday compulsion. I rarely go anywhere without my phone poised, ready to capture the next shot; be it a flock of birds in flight, an abstract of a city wall, or a couple having lunch! Thanks to the encouragement of my fellow ‘grammers’, I’ve won an Orange photo competition, been invited to exhibit in a number of bars, and sold my images to a local shop.
I am not alone in finding inspiration in this always-on world of photography. Putri (@puanindya), a 21-year-old student from Indonesia who has amassed a startling 32,000 followers with her stunning collection of beach and mountain pictures, feels that observing the work of others has pushed her to greater creative heights: ‘Now I notice things that [non Instagram] people won’t... like a puddle or a reflection. What can I say? Instagram makes me see the world differently now. In a good way.’ One of the biggest criticisms users face from the more traditional photographic community is that the supplied filters and other editing apps, are considered to be cheating. But for Amanda (@amandact), a lecturer from London, the filters provide a shootfrom-the-hip flexibility in a fast-moving world. ‘You don’t have as much to think about before taking a photo - a lot of the effects can be applied after to get a good result. You can crop, apply depth of
field and adjust the brightness among many other things...that’s part of the appeal to me: it allows you to be creative’. Amanda, like many instagrammers, doesn’t feel this is cheating. ‘You can’t disguise a badly-composed or blurred photo behind a filter.’ Forums and challenges are a key feature of Instagram. Josh Johnson’s #jj, reaches 243,000 avid followers posting up to 15,000 photos per day on a given theme. Mike (@mike_n5), another popular London-based grammer, particularly enjoys participating in the various forums and challenges on offer. ‘[They] give me a sense of purpose and direction if I’m lacking ideas. More than anything else though, it adds to the fun.’ Mike has recently started his own tag for deep perspective shots called #extremedepth and says, ‘the response has been great.’ Instagram’s influence extends beyond that of a virtual community, with groups like @igerstoronto coordinating exhibitions
and events on a local level. Jon (@normster), a prolific user, has shared over 1,000 photos to his 22,000-strong following over the last year. He has embraced this 3D experience, ‘on weekends... we go on photo walks or explore areas of our city I would never normally go to/ know about.’ For Jon, the app has also served as an entry point to the medium. ‘As I found I was starting to fall in love with photography, I figured I should invest in a camera.’ He is now also producing some great work on his Canon 5D MK II (@normster5D). Like us or loathe us, we’re a passionate community capturing the world, five million pictures at a time, every single day. As Chase Jarvis puts it, ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you,’ so download the app and get sharing! I challenge you not to get addicted to this emerging form of photography.
Andreas Gefeller Text: Danny Griffin
The sleek landscape of the modern metropolis has been a muse for countless photographers, whether they look to capture iconic facades, or humble occupants. Conceptual photographer Andreas Gefeller, however, has spent much of his career finding unique new ways to depict the hidden corners and overlooked spaces of this sprawl.
Notably his 2002 series Supervisions used meticulous photomontages to recreate anonymous empty fields, rooms and streets from a detached birdâ€™s eye view. His most recent series Blank revisits these themes, looking at the organic ways in which such massive sprawls seem to grow, before zooming us in to their neon arteries and veins.
Blank combines two distinct but complementary styles of images- inky black composites of satellite images displaying the glowing tendrils of roads and streetlamps from on high; and surreal portraits of architectural forms, deliberately shot overexposed at night to create abstract shapes.
The satellite images frame the series, drawing the viewer in to their glittering cores. “I see the satellite images as a kind of introduction to the series”, Gefeller explains. “The viewer feels as someone from outer space, getting slowly closer to earth, notices the fragile structures of human-made urban spaces and then zooms into the centre, into the hearts of the cities. These parts of the satellite images are overexposed like the white images [….] which show detailed structures of buildings, highways and industrial plants.”
The white images depict a miscellany of towering structures parking lots, bridges and industrial plants. All of these familiar structures are shot using multiple long exposures at night to create bright monolithic forms more reminiscent of science fiction than architectural photography. Despite their artificial appearance, the majority of the effect is achieved “in camera.”
38 Andreas Gefeller
Gefeller: “With the naked eye, the photographed scene look very dark and it is very difficult to foresee how it will look after the exposure. I also do some little corrections later on the computer. It is not a strict documentary work so I feel free to delete a few disturbing things.”
The areas illuminated by lights are now completely bleached out, leaving the unlit corners and shadows as the only isolated pools of detail. In all of these depictions of bustling cityscapes, the only thing missing is the population. “It’s right that I show urban places which are made for masses of people but I never show people. It’s more a ‘post-civilisation’ view; people have been at these places but for some reason they are gone. This is somehow disturbing for the viewer.”
Selected shots from Blank will be on exhibit in the show Metropolis: Reflections on the Modern City running at the Birmingham Museum from 23rd March to the 23rd June.
Newcastle City Council, 2nd March 2011
Star Chambers Text: Sam Nobes
40â€ƒ STAR CHAMBERS
Sheffield City Council, 4th March 2011
The origins of the term “Star Chamber” can be traced to King Edward II and referred to a room built specifically for the meetings of the King’s Council. Over the next 600 years the term was revived on many occasions. Most recently, Star Chambers was coined to describe the special governmental and council meetings held across the UK to discuss budget cuts following the 2010 election of the coalition government.
Nottingham City Council, 7th March 2011
Since 2007, Brighton based photographer Simon Roberts has been studying the British landscape in its many forms. From photographing the English at leisure in We English, to examining the social and political environments of the current ‘era of austerity’, Roberts’ work has explored various themes incorporating England’s cultural, social and political identity. In 2010, Roberts was commissioned to be the official British Election Artist, a role which saw him traversing the country, again looking at the British landscape, but this time through the ‘prism of politics’. A prominent objective of his more recent work has been responding to the shifts in the economic climate in which we find ourselves, and commenting on the Coalition’s move to reduce the nation’s budget deficit through harsh Public Sector cuts.
42 STAR CHAMBERS
Star Chambers is part of this overall commentary and sees Roberts taking to the public gallery inside eight of the council meetings in which the local budgets for 2011 were being set. The significance of the impending cuts was tremendous; in Birmingham alone, the budget was reduced by 212m from the previous year, seeing nearly 2,500 full time posts slashed along with reductions in children’s services and the Adults and Communities budget. The severe cuts implemented by the government have no doubt had a serious effect on the nation as a whole, but it is nevertheless the specific council decisions within these meetings which have determined how each region has been affected, and subsequently how each individual will be affected.
Leeds City Council, 23rd February 2011
The photographs themselves are all taken from the public gallery inside the Star Chambers. Roberts has used this raised perspective to his advantage. As in many of his photographs, he incorporates a landscape methodology aimed towards a human subject, whereby he invites the viewer to witness the overall context of his subjects. Roberts is not only interested in the space in which these meetings were taking place, nor just the people involved; he applies a landscape approach to the interiors so that the viewer can get a comprehensive vision of the drama that is unfolding, at the very time the defining decisions are being made.
Due to the lighting limitations, fairly long exposures were needed to capture the scenes within the buildings. This has brought a lot of movement to the images, which not only creates a clear visual juxtaposition between the interiors and the people occupying them, but further emphasises the increasing drama within. As a whole, Simon Robertsâ€™ series Star Chambers provides an objective view of the 2011 cuts taking place, converting his audience into captive witnesses of what is set to be one of the defining moments of the current era of austerity.
Cem Ersavci - The Edge Cem Ersavci’s The Edge is a set of images taken along the south coast of England. The project highlights the vast expanse of the ocean whilst showing the natural divide between land and sea. Ersavci believes the sea has a power, that it ‘estranges people from time and history’. His work depicts passers-by interacting with this picturesque setting. Cem describes the shore as peaceful, with a profound emptiness, an environment at odds with our daily routine. Cem Ersavci was born in 1982 in Ankara and later studied photography and Video at Yildiz Teknik, Istanbul. In 2011 he completed his graduate studies at Mimar Sinan, Fine Arts University, Istanbul. Professionally he has worked as a freelance photographer for numerous newspapers and agencies including Reuters and the European Pictures Agency. www.cemersavci.com
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Tamany Baker is an artist and university lecturer in photography, and has shown work worldwide, winning a Sony World Photography Award in 2009 for her series Living with Wolfie. www.tamany.net On first reading, these images definitely intrigue. The sea of course could be seen as easy pickings for creating reaction in the viewer - its association with the awe inspiring Sublime and the Romantics (think Caspar David Freidrich) imbue the subject matter with an emotional reaction. Perhaps even an evolutionary primordial pull? Cem Ersavcı has captured a sense of otherness in connection to the sea, and has done so using the camera - itself an apparatus of otherness if you consider discourses around the camera as a disembodied eye, a dispassionate observer, separating man from environment. Think of the survey photographs of Timothy O’Sullivan and their purpose - man’s domination and exploitation of the landscape.
Here is a curious sideways glance at the little human bodies, each with their own unfolding dramas, meeting the vast “other” of the sea. Could this be a metaphor for facing the subconscious? My favourite image is the woman and metal detector. What is she looking for and will she ever find it? Her reflection in the water is unsure of itself, she could be a Reginald Perrin or Viriginia Wolf. The image with the huge posts reaching into the sky is also striking, in an Orwellian sense. For me, the mystery is not resolved sufficiently however - relying too heavily on our cultural associations with the sea. Photographically, there are mixed styles here - a touch of the conceptual of Sugimoto, the deadpan of the New Topographics and a hint of the oddball British social documentary. I feel this weakens the series somewhat as I am left wondering exactly what the photographer wants to say to the viewer. Having said that, I like the colour palette and feel the images stand their ground and remind me how lucky I am to live in an island nation.
Martin Edwards has fingers in a number of photographic pies: he was until recently a lecturer in photography at City of Bristol College, a freelance photographer, regular exhibitor and is involved in community arts and photography projects. www.martinedwardsphotography.co.uk. These quiet seaside photos, with their pastel colour palette, show the English seaside at what I consider it to be its best. Far from the heaving crowds of the summer season (anybody remember summers?), they have an isolation and sense of space which only the endless flat horizon of the sea can really give. The nearly-central horizons are a key factor in the stillness of the photographs. In photos 1 and 4 the sea and sky run almost seamlessly together. The sea in 1 mirrors the sky tones, the reflection in 4 produces a similar effect. Because the horizons are critical to the images they do need to be level, and a couple are slightly skewed - a
picky point perhaps, but an important one I think. The people populating these landscapes are also a vital part of them. They create the sense of scale, space and solitude on which the photographs rely. Whether the tiny single figure in 1 or the small groups along the shore in 3, each figure is engaged completely with the sea and its boundary with the land. Cem’s words, which accompany the photographs, speak of the solitude and the ‘peaceful and profound emptiness’ of the spaces. I do think this comes across in the photos, to me anyway, and pictures 1 and 4 again exemplify this. The structures found on the shore are also an integral part of that space. The skeletal poles of photo 3 are the remains of decayed structures, something which the lone beach hut in 2 could become with the passage of time. Time stands still in these spaces, yet at the same time its effects are evident. The photographs form two clear pairs, each with a slightly different emphasis on how the space is felt.
Alex Gregory is a freelance professional photographer available for international commissions. He predominantly shoots music, fashion and colourful portraiture, as well as directing music videos. www.alexgregory.net Cem Ersavci has based his series ‘The Edge’ on the much-photographed coastline of Southern England. Although it’s clear Ersavci has visited many of the same beaches on which Martin Parr made his series ‘Think of England’, their images almost totally oppose each other. Where Parr’s interest was more from the standpoint of social and somewhat satirical documentation of British holiday makers, Ersavci has chosen to focus on what he describes as the coast’s ability to ‘estrange people and constructions from history and time’, and in response has created a series of minimalistic, almost dream-like photographs. His primary interest is clearly with the landscape, and although his images do not lack people entirely, their inclusion is not intended to reference them as
46 Portfolio Review
individuals. They are present simply as a point of scale in his discussion of man’s relationship to nature. Where Parr filled the frame with the cluttered, bright colours of summertime holiday resorts, Ersavci creates distant and de-saturated panoramic images. He engineers a feeling of solitude by allowing occasional single individuals into the frame, but from such a great distance as to emphasise the negative space which surrounds them. His decision to photograph in the winter not only makes this process easier due to the lack of tourists, but ensures that the scenes feel bleak and unforgiving. The stormy sky and lashing wind in the image of the beachcomber for example, add real drama to the scene. Although admittedly the British coastline is hardly fresh subject matter, it’s certainly much more interesting to see it depicted out of season. Ersavci has done well to create some strong images which are the result of a considered minimalism in his approach to composition and a willingness to experiment with subtle digital colour correction.
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