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Exhibition catalogue includes an interview with photographers

Miriam Baez Christine Santa Ana Joanna Stanford


Photographs by: Miriam Baez Miriam.baez.1984@googlemail.com

Design by: Mandana Ahmadvazir designer@viewfinder.org.uk

Christine Santa Ana Chrisitine.santa.ana@gmail.com

Also available as a colour, e-publication: www.viewfinder.org.uk/shop

Joanna Stanford Joannastanford@hotmail.co.uk Curated by: Kathleen Brey kathleen@viewfinder.org.uk

Published by: Viewfinder Photography Gallery 52 Brixton Village London SW9 8PS www.viewfinder.org.uk

Interviews by: Kathleen Sadler kmgsadler@live.com

First published March 2011

Edited by: Kathleen Brey kathleen@viewfinder.org.uk

Š The artists and authors. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views of the publisher or the editors.


Interview with: Miriam Baez (MB) Christine Santa Ana (CSA) Joanna Stanford (JS) by Kathleen Sadler • What got you started thinking about this photographic project? CSA: I was in a gallery and jovial gentleman called Ray started talking to me. He started telling me hilarious stories and antics and even showed me a picture of the Queen that he had taken that he had in his bag. He then showed me a picture of his living room, a tinsel filled emporium of Christmas, Halloween, Birthday and Easter decorations (and general shiny things such as tin foil) hanging from every inch of the ceiling. He said it was too much hassle taking them down each year so he left them up. I thought this was wonderful so Ray invited me round and I started a project. MB:This project started at first as a personal reflection of feelings and thoughts. The belief that the more we grow up the more we think of what we have left behind. “Childhood”is a relection of these ideas, and at the same time it is not. This dicotomy really attracted me, and it was the main reason why I started working on this project. I was asking myself questions such as: Is childhood really behind us? Childhood where exactly are you? This project made me understand that childhood is really something that surrounds us. Firstly as our past, as every adult has passed this stage. We all have memories of this wonderful time where we saw the world with other eyes. JS: This photographic project is part of my ongoing practice. My practice questions the 'other' and 'otherness' within the politico-socio context. I am interested in that which is different, excluded; forms of dislocation and fragility within culture. • In creating this project did you aim to portray a different side of something that we don't tend to notice? CSA: I aimed to tell you about Ray Peters and his personality. I think the younger generation don't realise how vivacious and irrepressibly full of spirit older people are. As I said in my statement, Ray is the absolute life and soul of the party and has an incredible zest for life. MB: The project tries to reflect upon childhood reminders that we all have in our minds. That is why I chose this vintage fair to shoot. It was the perfect place to be in the past and in the present at the same time. The main characteristic that this project is focused on is that we all have childhood in common, but also we know that there are no two alike. That

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is why I have used this old photographic technique, Liquid Emulsion, to produce the prints as you will never have two identical copies.

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This also provides a new value to modern photography: the value of a unique print. A significance mainly known in the past before the digital era began. Therefore, this project connects present and past, just as childhood does. Also, it is important to point out the fact that the prints are not perfectly reproduced. You can see the brush marks and some parts are clearer than others... just like childhood, where not everything is perfect. JS: Perhaps less something we don't tend to notice, more something we tend to ignore. • How does this project compare to your other work? Has this project developed from previous work that you have done? CSA: I discovered that Ray is a good opera singer! MB:I am mainly a street photographer: People, street atmosphere and trying to capture the perfect snapshot have been always my passion. This project is a continuation of this style but with a twist. I used an old technique to develop a whole project for the first time and I have produced all the prints by myself in the darkroom. As you can see, there are not two identical prints and they are not perfectly reproduced. These characteristics have made this project so special for me. It is a reflection of me as well. JS: I also make sculpture/objects which reflect similar concerns. This project has developed through my concerns and previous projects and interests. • Did you discover anything surprising about your subject matter whilst making this work? CSA: This project is very typical of my work. I am currently working on an ongoing social documentary series on my father. MB: As I have just said earlier, this project is so unique. I love the fact that the place of the shooting, the picture and the way of printing are all match together. All represent this connection between present and past that I was aiming for and all reflect differences and imperfections just as topic of the project. Also, I have discovered that we do not all look at childhood with the same eyes now. Everyone has a different perspective on childhood, despite their age. Some are really close to childhood, some are far and some are still living it. This is just magical. I know exactly where childhood is now: it is everywhere, just open your eyes. JS: The absolute fragility of culture and the human soul.


Miriam Baez Miriam.baez.1984@googlemail.com

Childhood... Where are you? Childhood is the period of time from birth to adolescence. Childhood is a period that everyone has gone through. Childhood is a stage that someone you know is going through. Childhood is controversy: Innocence and mischief. Fantasy and reality. Desire of growing up. Desire of never growing up. I took these pictures looking for a chance of being a child again within my everyday routine. Looking for a place next to our day-to-day life and at the same time far from it. I found this steam fair just magical. The photos were taken with an analogue 35mm reflex camera and developed using liquid emulsion coated on watercolour paper. The aim of this technique was to give the prints a vintage style and unique quality as the prints will have a different finish depending on the coating. Similar to childhood, no two prints are alike.

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Christine Santa Ana Chrisitine.santa.ana@gmail.com

These images are taken from a social documentary series on my friend, Dalston eccentric, Raymond Samuel Cheynoweth Peters. Ray’s house is a three-storey emporium of both madness and tranquillity. When you visit his house, Ray sometimes comes to the door in costume to greet his guests. In this portrait, Ray is in fancy dress. He is ‘Green Park Tube Station’. If you visit Ray in the summer, you may find him in his garden feeding the many cats he has befriended over the years or climbing from one tree to the next, trimming the branches. Ray has his next door neighbour’s ashes displayed on a wall. He said he felt sad that nobody wanted them so he gave them a home. You never go to Ray’s for a cup of tea and a chat. You go there for midday champagne and opera singing as Ray is the life and soul at 80 years old.

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Joanna Stanford Joannastanford@hotmail.co.uk

My practice explores that which is "other" in the social. "Other" as a form of perceived difference or alienation of the individual functioning within the nihilistic game that is our culture. "Other" as product of economics and social apparatus, as Hegel said, "like a play of masks and changeable surfaces - the constant dissolution and reconfiguration of identities with no anchor in a final self-presence". Observational, and at times confrontational, my practice investigates dislocations within the self and the social. Exploring the vertiginous, claustrophobic and fragile nature of the social to express the "otherness" of being. I use a variety of media to elaborate on my conceptual concerns. Photography is just one of the ways in which I reflect on a fragile culture.

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Viewfinder Photography Gallery 52 Brixton Village London SW9 8PS www.viewfinder.org.uk


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