In the 1980s, the Stuckist movement experimented with art, transposing images for ideas and injecting their work with full and frank emotions. Now, in a world where we have started questioning the value of modern and conceptual art, and whether it has any contribution to art history in general, those techniques are being replicated in photography to form images based on practical concepts. Josh Thornton puts his soul into his camera and tweaks its settings according to mood and feeling. TC12: Josh, firstly you must introduce yourself. How old are you, where do you live and what do you do? JT: I’m closer to thirty than I ever thought I would be, I live in North London, and I occupy my time with work mostly. TC12: And what inspired you to take your first foray into photography? JT: When I was a young boy, my father, took me into the city...no, not really. I was a bit of a precocious child and until I was 9 or 10, I thought that I could automatically do everything in the world, so I used to take charge of the family point-and-shoot and take weirdlycomposed shots of dogs and stuff. Shortly after that, I realised I couldn’t actually do everything in the world but, when I was about 17, I was hanging out in weird places and decided it was worth recording. So I got a Pentax K1000 from a discount camera place and enrolled at the local college. I got asked to leave not long
after I started, having discovered the delights of the subsidised teachers’ bar, but I’d built up enough to know my way around an SLR and off I went into the big, wide world to make a name for myself. TC12: So the drunk and bewildered style of your photograph was born into your work early on! What first interested you in that style, more specifically? JT: I think that a love for the more fractured and distorted aesthetic is something that’s been with me for a long while. I grew up buying and loving limited 7” records by bands who had to make the sleeves by hand, reading DIY fanzines, listening to a lot of scratchy and distorted guitar. One of the most important themes running through all of the imagery, and other creative outputs that I was immersing myself in, was that it didn’t matter if you weren’t producing commercially acceptable and immaculate ‘product’, that in fact there’s something far more emotively charged, and warm and beautiful to be found in the broken and the distorted, the accidental and unusual. In this wretched age we’re living in, we’re bombarded with airbrushed, sterile images which – by virtue of their ubiquity if nothing else – become redundant, devoid of any real resonance or emotional impact. Don’t get me started on HDR either, I can’t bear it. This never ending quest for the most intensely hyperreal, 50 billion megapixel representation of the world is rubbish, why would you want that? I want visceral response, emotional involvement, and these are things which can be conveyed far
more effectively if you employ a lo-fi approach. TC12: Certainly and that’s specifically why Colour Twelve exists. Approach aside, what other techniques do you employ? JT: I really like expired film and I love the results of cross-processing, although I don’t do it as much as I’d like. I like to leave film canisters on radiators and just anything that seems cool at the time, really. I want to get a darkroom soon, I miss getting my fingers wet. TC12: And when you’re out there shooting, does the subject play as big a part as the emotion? JT: Sometimes I like to shoot blind, just randomly running off shots without looking in the viewfinder or adjusting my settings; other times I’ll think long and hard about the composition and come up with something different. Sometimes composition is gifted to you through the ether somehow, other times you have to force composition onto things, just depends on the situation really. It’s all about the composition or the lack thereof, both are sides of the same coin really. TC12: What are you working on: old techniques or new techniques? JT: I read the Felix Williams article in the second issue of Colour Twelve, about Chembellisment, with a great deal of interest. I’m going to start messing around with that sort of thing for sure. More cross-processing and just
really trying to think of new things to do with negatives, or any camera mods that spring to mind. I think the time has come to get physical. TC12: Thanks Josh. I’ve had Phil Collins’s ‘Sussudio’ stuck in my head for days and now I have an image of Olivia Newton John dancing around in short-shorts. Any projects for the future? JT: I proper love Colour Twelve, might try and get a bit involved with you behind the scenes, and I’m also trying to maintain my own zine – Diet Cola – although time constraints are always an issue. Other than that I’m trying to push my own work more towards projects rather than just shooting endlessly, like I have been for a while; think I’ve got to the stage where a bit of structure could make a difference. Oh! And exhibitions actually! That’s my main project for this year, there’s a few people I know who I really want to set up exhibitions with, but I’ve never set one up before so I need to figure out how that works, how hard can it be? --Josh selected four photographs for us to display as representations of his techniques.
01 - Steeeve Messer 31 - davidboysoncooper 02 - Mika Ha 32 - Suffering Astrid 03 - anastasia hailes 33 - S I A N 04 - Julia Fjelddalen 34 - sknives 05 - extra fingered. 35 - iveneverbeenazombie 06 - Julia Fjelddalen 36 - slumbernaut 07 - John_Brite 37 - maybe elizabeth 08 - Pomeroy Gigantic 38 - sarak hellas 09 - sasha cresdee 39 - myrtillis 10 - Adam.Levy 40 - canovix 11 - Dave Mello 41 - djbartsimpsonbacktatto2 12 - ? 42 - evanSparrow 13 - j thorn explains it all 43 - Anna Wergelius 14 - j thorn explains it all 44 - snowstice 15 - j thorn explains it all 45 - Soledad Bizarra 16 - j thorn explains it all 46 - White_Marlin 17 - teenage WITCHERY 47 - Mr. TRONA 18 - taylor doyle gillespie 48 - I, Timmy 19 - elizabeth sarah 49 - Straight Into Your Brain 20 - mum, i am gay! 50 - Sid Black 21 - dreamofstreets 51 - koniksalami 22 - Elizaveta Porodina 52 - wesleyrobert. 23 - jeff phaner 53 - joanna.galuszka. 24 - vanda ferreira 54 - yltsahg 25 - (dot) nurra 55 - Trobis 26 - bertwootton 56 - Samantha Casolari 27 - cookieVV 57 - magnifik 2.0 28 - cluttered sea 58 - koniksalami 29 - plastic palace alice 59 - Jamie...T 30 - Monkey Tennis 60 - herodmchugh Many thanks to the contributors, who can all be found on Flickr by searching for their names as listed above. The featured photographs can also be found in our Flickr group, at http://www.flickr.com/groups/thecolourtwelve/
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Colour Twelve is published by Steeeve Messer. cargocollective.com/colourtwelve email@example.com Issue Five - 02.2011 This Document and the contents thereof are protected worldwide by copyright and related intellectual property rights. Users are free to download, use and redistribute this file, provided that it is not modified and that the copyright and disclaimer notice are not removed. This file or its content â€“ as such or in whatever way combined â€“ may not be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents without the written permission of the copyright holder. Unauthorized inclusion of single pages, graphics or other components of this document in other web sites, print products or electronic media is prohibited. All contents ÂŠ the respective artists.