Analogue/digital

I’ve used the time over the break to explore practically the analogue and digital dimensions of the project, and how I can visually, and in terms of process, explore both the ‘datafication’ of decision-making in regeneration, and the transition from chemical/material production/distribution to digital/symbolic production/distribution in this part of east London (and, of course, the residue of the former lies alongside, and acts and is acted upon, by the latter (I’ll post a project statement that encapsulates this later). So moving back and forth between chemical processing, handmade bookmaking, coding and image manipulation (whilst initiating three new projects, starting the London Creative Network intensive artist development programme, and preparing for two pop-up exhibitions in the coming month, and all the ongoing work).

The algorithmic manipulation of images is a new strand, but important as it addresses part of the overall project that I have been struggling with (particularly finding a way to relate the quantification of community characteristics, and use of that data in decision-making on housing and social policy, and the lived, and located, experiences of residents). Using the Processing language (see Reas and Fry, 2007) to automate, through the use of algorithms, the manipulation of images is promising. To explore this, I have used Kim Asendorf’s pixel sorting (a term coined by Asendorf in 2010, according to Hight, 2013) code (available for download here; see examples of Asendorf’s work here and here).

Kim Asendorf, Mountain Tour series, 2010

At this point, I am playing around with changing the thresholds in the programme to produce different treatments of some of my landscapes and portraits, as well as some archival material. Here’s a version of the Barking Harbour image featured in an earlier post.

Andrew Brown, Barking Harbour treatment, 2020

Each image is uploaded onto a surface as a bitmap and the procedure (sketch in Processing terms) runs along rows or columns (this can be set) to look for pixels in terms of darkness, lightness or brightness (this can be set). If set to search for ‘darkness’ along rows, the algorithm searches along each row for a pixel which lies within the thresholds set for ‘darkness’ and places these in order until it reaches a pixel that falls outside the defined limits. The number of iterations (loops) for this process can be set. The thresholds for each can be set to create different forms and levels of ‘mutilation’. This gives me an opportunity to contrast chemical degradation of images (using the immersion methods developed by Matthew Brandt) with these forms of digital degradation. I want to go beyond playful data-moshing, however, and see if I can feed in data (for instance, social progress indicator data) relating to the specific communities that I am working with.

Andrew Brown, Barking RIverside treatment, 2020

This raises again the question of how to present the outcomes of the manipulation. My intention here is to continue to move back and forth between the digital and the analogue, and the abstracted and the located. So printing these could take us back into the analogue, local/located and visceral. As with all this work, the question is what is gained and lost in each translation between forms, if translation is possible, of course, in any meaningful sense (see Apter, 2013).

References

Apter, E. 2013. Against World Literature: On the politics of untranslatability. London: Verso.

Hight, J. 2013. An introduction to Kim Asendorf. Unlikely Stories, Episode IV. Online https://www.unlikelystories.org/13/asendorf0913.shtml [accessed 23.01.2020]

Reas, C and Fry, B. Processing: A programming handbook for visual designers and artists. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Light, Paper, Process

In the approach I am taking to the project, photography is seen as a social, cultural and material practice, leading to the development of a range of distinct but related forms of photographic work. As a material practice, I am interested in exploring the impact of environmental factors in the settings I am exploring on the form taken by the images produced. In Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography (2015), produced to accompany the exhibition at the Getty Museum, Virginia Heckert explores the work of seven contemporary artists whose image making extends and expands the exploration by the founders of photography of the manner in which light and chemical processes act on photographic emulsions to produce images.

Light, Paper, Process at the Getty Museum, 2015, LA Review of Books

This relates closely to the analog aspects of my work, though one of the featured artists, James Welling, has been a key influence on the digital dimension of my practice. The work of the photographic artists featured in this collection resonates with my project not just in their emphasises on the materiality of photographic practice, but also the exploration of the natural world not through description or representation but through its inscription on photographic material.

The work by Alison Rossiter, Marco Breuer and James Welling featured focuses on the interrogation of the effect of chemical processes on light-sensitive materials. There is an environmental aspect to the work, for instance the Lisa Oppenheim’s series Smoke, in which found images of smoke are cropped to remove the source of the smoke (including volcanos and oil refinery fires), but fire is re-introduced in the darkroom as the light source for the exposure of negatives made from the images.

Lisa Oppenheim, A Handley Page Halifax of No. 4 Group flies over the suburbs of Caen, France, during a major daylight raid to assist the Normandy land battle. 467 aircraft took part in the attack, which was originally intended to have bombed German strongpoints north of Caen, but the bombing area was eventually shifted nearer the city because of the proximity of Allied troops to the original targets. The resulting bombing devastated the northern suburbs, 1944/2012 from the series Smoke. 2012 

Chris McCaw constructs cameras in which the trajectory of the sun is burned onto the film.

Chris McCaw, from Sunburned, 2010

Matthew Brandt explores the use of materials derived from the objects depicted in his photographs in the production of images, for instance in his Trees (2009-11) series using fallen branches from the trees photographed to make pulp for paper and burned to make pigment for ink which is then used to make prints of the trees.

Matthew Brandt, Tree 3, 2009-2011. Pigmented handmade paper made from wood gathered from George Bush Park, Houston, TX

In his Lakes and Reservoirs series, chromogenic prints of a lake are soaked for different periods of time in water from the lake, creating images in which the characteristics of the water have influenced how layers of the print are affected in the production of the final image.

Matthew Brandt, Nymph Lake, WY 4A, 2013. Chromogenic print soaked in Nymph Lake water
Matthew Brandt, Rainbow Lake WY G1, G2, 2013. C-print soaked in Rainbow Lake water, grid of twenty four 20 x 30 c-prints, 60 x 240 inches

Like my own work, these works are site specific, and entwined with the objects depicted. They also incorporate non-visual elements of the site in the production of the images. Given the interest in my work of features of the settings such as fire (relating, for instance to cladding of buildings), water (for instance, flooding and building on marshes and by rivers), infestation (for instance, mosquitos, ants and rats relating to the marshes and surrounding industries, such as waste processing) and pollution (both air pollution relating to neighbouring industry and major roads, and soil and water pollution relating to waste from power stations, chemical plants and dumping of pollutants such as asbestos), similar ways of inscribing, marking, modifying or making images could be explored. As a first step, I am exploring, through archival research and conversations with residents, characteristics of settings, and collecting materials that could be used in making or altering images (for instance, collection of marsh and river water from the Riverside development, which could be used to soak prints, or in the processing of film and prints). In earlier experiments, I collected organic material from sites and combined microscope images with Google Earth images of the area.

References

Heckert, V. 2015. Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography. Los Angeles: Getty Publications.

MOMA. 2013. Lisa Oppenheim discusses her series Smoke. Online.

Landscape, Portrait, Still Life

In the publication produced to accompany her three simultaneous London exhibitions in 2018, Landscape, Portrait, Still Life, Tacita Dean considers the extent to which Paul Nash’s watercolour Cumulus Head (c1944) can be considered to be a portrait (of Nash’s wife), a landscape (or more precisely, a cloudscape) and a still life (the head takes a sculptural form).

Paul Nash, Cumulus Head, c1944

As such, the work questions, and subverts, the established distinction between landscape, portrait and still life. Dean’s three exhibitions focus in turn on each of these forms, but, as with Nash’s work, the permeability and instability of these forms, over time and across contexts, and the manner in which Dean’s work is positioned in respect these categories of work (and others working in these genres), raise further questions.

One question, which resonates with my own work, is the extent to which her landscape work tends to focus on the landscape, or on elements in the landscape. My own work tends to be very much in the landscape, tending to focus on objects and artefacts rather than the larger features of the landscape (as do many other so called landscape artists, like Fay Godwin, who’s photographs draw us to what is in the landscape, which prompt out attention to flicker between landscape as context and landscape as content: what is in the landscape provokes us to think differently about the landscape itself). This, in turn, raises a question about the category of still life, the defining feature of which appears to be the decontextualisation, or rather recontextualisation of the object (from, for instance, the field to the studio). Artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long also question this distinction, creating works in and from the landscape.

Andy Goldsworthy, Japanese maple leaves stitched together to make a floating chain, Ouchiyama-Mura, Japan, 1987

This calls to mind the work of still life artists, such as John Crome, who work in the field, foregrounding particular aspects (for instance, Crome’s studies of flints, c1811, which, by focusing within the landscape, blurs the landscape/still life distinction).

Crome, John, Study of Flints, c1811

The distinction is further problematised by the question of whether a still life has to be of inanimate, or dead, artefacts. Can living plants, or animals, or people, be the subjects of still life? Ultimately, the photograph renders them still, and animation can only be implied or inferred. New materialism, and object orientated ontology, of course, re-animate these objects and artefacts, in de-centring humanist accounts. This focuses us on consideration of how the landscape, human activity and objects inscribe and mark each other in the process of co-production, which I aim to explore in my own photographic work.

The composites produced for my neuropolis series can be seen as combining the landscape (urban), portraits (street) and still life (flora) in the same setting, with accompanying connotations of, in turn, a future, present and past. Whilst I have explored the interaction between these elements, I haven’t thought about the work in terms of artistic forms or genres. Dean’s exhibitions produce resonances between forms and each raises questions about stability and integrity of the boundaries between forms and genres. My work mashes these forms together and, in a modest way, raises similar questions in a different way. In addition, I hope, the use of composites and juxtapositions creates a possibility space for exploration of the potential of photography in inter-disciplinary enquiry and practice.

Paul Nash, Landscape from a Dream, 1938

As a parenthetic thought, looking at Nash’s work in doing research for this post, there are other resonances with strands of my current work. In Landscape from a Dream (1938), for instance, Nash places frames and art works into the landscape, which is echoed in thoughts about exhibiting my work in non-gallery internal and external spaces, placing art work, and the structures that support it, in the landscape. I’ll follow this up in a future post.

Paul Nash, The Menin Road, 1919

His work held at the Imperial War Museum, for instance The Menin Road (1919), explores the manner in which war scars the landscape, in ways not dissimilar to the impact on the landscape of preparation for the large scale building development.

Interesting that entry to the AOP Student Awards 2020 has to be in one of three categories, people/places/things, that mirrors the long established, but clearly questionable, portraits/landscape/still life distinction considered here.

References

Harris, A., Hollinghurst, A. & Smith, A. 2018. Tacita Dean: Landscape, Portrait, Still Life. London: Royal Academy of Arts.

Reflection on Week 10 Tutorial

The purpose of the tutorial was to take stock and set a clear direction for production of the FMP outcomes. Whilst the individual projects are moving forward, I want to allow them to take their own course (with their own timescales) and to view them as a resource for my over-riding (clearly defined) FMP project, which by necessity has to be completed by May 2020. The diversity and complexity of the projects provides a rich set of possibilities in terms of the focus for the project. The challenge at this point in time is to clearly define the direction and outcomes of the project.

We discussed possible over-arching themes for the FMP project. The relationship between the natural and built environment and human activity (and, in particular, the ‘pushing back’ of the natural environment against human exploitation) appears to have most potential (for instance, in relation to the history of flooding of the marshland on which the Thames View, Thames Reach and Riverside estates are built, the recent fire on Riverside, the destruction of trees on the Gascoigne Estate, the pollution of land in the area by the coal-fired power station and other industrial units and so forth). This can be addressed through collaboration with selected participants in the micro-projects, and will involve archival work, environmental portraits, quotations, sound recordings, personal and official documents, photographs of the natural and built environment and of human activity relating to the place, developer and other images of current and future building, including CGIs. The work could focus on something like eight themes spanning both inter-twined environmental and human concerns (for instance, flood, fire, infestation, environment damage, mental health, migration, communication, isolation). Each theme could have a collaborator/informant, and would include material relating to their life world, trajectory and aspirations. The work could be presented as a multi-modal installation (see earlier discussion of the work of Edmund Clark and Janet Lawrence, for instance). The aim would be to invoke a sense of the relationships being explored, not a literal description. For that reason, and because of the complexity of the relationships, the exhibition (or other output) would not be explicitly themed (which raises the question of how to organise the work – do, for instance, I cluster the the biographical and archival material around the related composite image, what text is used and how, what is the relative scale of the images, and so on).

Specific issues raised in the tutorial:

  • I should use a sketchbook for exploration of both the images to be made and the layout of exhibitions and other public outputs;
  • I could create a zine mock-up or similar for each of the themes/clusters of work, to explore ways of editing, sequencing and presenting the material.
  • think about the ways in which the images will be presented, and experiment with alternatives (for instance, the use of projection). Need to take care over costs. Might think about a website, and other ways of creating resources for the online submission of the the final project.
  • of the exhibition spaces explored, the Warehouse looks most promising in terms of flexibility. Another possibility is the new block at Barking and Dagenham College, where the Photography programme is housed, and which is in the process of being fitted out and occupied. There are a number of places where a temporary exhibition might be possible.
Barking and Dagenham College, D Block.
Barking and Dagenham College, D Block.
  • check out work by Noemie Goudal (I saw her work in London last year). Particularly interesting is the scale of the work, and the use of frameworks and other structures for display. Her website includes lots of installation shots and is a good source of ideas.
Noemie Goudal, Satellite II, 2013
Noemie Goudal, Fotografiska, Stockholm, 2018
Noemie Goudal, Exhibition View, Station VI, Fotofestival Lodz, 2017
Noemie Goudal, Southern Light Stations, Installation View, Hayward Gallery, 2017
  • make more environmental images. Look at Gillian Wearing’s remaking of Durer’s weed paintings (for the video work Crowd, 2012) in relation to the exploration of plants and boundaries along Footpath 47.
Gillian Wearing, from Crowd (colour video for monitor 15 minutes, loop), 2012
  • explore portraiture further. I am doing this as part of the work with the TWCP Citizen Action Group.

Anthony Gormley Exhibition and Workshops

Royal Academy, 18th November 2019

Not primarily photography focused, but interesting in relation to my theme of community engagement with the arts. I accompanied a group of 50 Level 2 and 3 Art and Design students from Barking and Dagenham College on an evening visit to the Gormley exhibition. This included entry to the exhibition and a number of workshops exploring themes from the exhibition and from Gormley’s work more broadly.

Anthony Gormley, Clearing V, 2009

The exploration of the body in/as space/place relates to one aspect of my project. For Gormley, two dimensional work acts as a precursor to (but not studies for) his final three dimensional pieces. It was particularly interesting to see his sketchbooks, in which he has worked through and sketched out ideas for potential work (some of which is included in the exhibition).

Anthony Gormley, Sketchbooks, Royal Academy, 2019
Anthony Gormley, Sketchbooks, Royal Academy, 2019
Anthony Gormley, Sketchbooks, Royal Academy, 2019

These are displayed as four chronological periods, and there are distinct differences in form and content over time. The most recent notebooks are more dense, and contain schematics for exhibitions as well as exploratory drawings and text for new works. My own exploratory work tends to be in the form of photographs, and my notebooks (I am keeping a notebook specifically for the FMP) are predominantly textual. I am coming from photography and writing to visual arts, and therefore drawing is not a foundational practice (as it is for others on the course, who have had a more conventional arts education). This prompts me to explore more visual forms of exploration and preparation for photograph work (for instance, in understanding what makes particular combinations of images work in the channel mixing process, and how I might plan the production of images more effectively for this process – important in using large format film. Weirdly, this is on the shelf next to me in the library as I write this.

A message to get more visual: my notebooks should become sketchbooks. In a conversation today, a photographer friend (who followed the conventional art school route) observed that I was using the MA as a kind of foundation course, which I suppose I am.

Clay Workshop at Anthony Gormley Exhibition, Royal Academy, 2019

The workshops offered to the students were loosely structured and exploratory (using clay, exploring augmented reality, life drawing, making zines and 3D montages). The students were great, and really got involved, and seemed to enjoy the experience. It raised for me, though, the question about how to engage the public with art practice, in a way that gives greater access to the principles of production of artistic work (particularly important for those who, perhaps, don’t have the same degree of social and cultural capital as others who feel more at ease in these settings). The experience certainly seemed to make an institution like the RA more accessible. The scale of the education programme is remarkable, with workshops running every Monday and a target of 1000 participants per evening (it is sponsored by BNP Paribas, who cover the cost of transport and food, as well as the workshops). The group from the college that went on an earlier trip were fortunate to have a workshop run by Gormley himself.

Today I am exploring the possibility of exhibiting work and running a workshop at a local community arts and maker space. The challenge is to design the workshop in a way that engages participants in collaborative activity and also gives them confidence and agency as producers of artistic/photographic work, which requires a balance between guidance and autonomy, and a sharing of expertise.

Laser-scanning for PHX [X is for Xylonite]

UCL Institute of Making, 19th November 2019

‘The path of least resistance leads to elegant solutions’ Brian Eno, Oblique Strategies.

Seminar with Frances Scott, and showing/discussion of her film PHX [X is for Xylonite]. The film is the outcome of a collaborative project between UCL and Bow Arts focussing on plastics in the industrial heritage of the River Lea area. There was also an exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery and a publication (Vickers and Hill, 2019). The project provides a good example of a multi-disciplinary exploration of a theme (in this case plastics), spanning the arts, sciences and social sciences. It also focuses on a specific area of east London and explores the industrial history of the area around Hackney Wick (which includes buildings, now demolished, that I photographed in the first module). Frances works with a Bolex hand cranked camera and 100 ft reels of 16mm film, which she bucket processes. The use of film here is apposite as Xylonite (Ilford bought Xylonite for the process) came to be rebranded as celluloid, the material base for film. The film incorporates archival material and accounts. Objects from collections are incorporated by 3D laser scanning (fast scanning leads to degraded object images, mirroring the decaying of early plastic objects) and photogrammetry. The work is created by a process of ‘stitching together’. Frances tends to ‘let the material determine the process’.

Laser scanned image from PHX [X is for Xylonite]

Local people were involved in the steering group, and visits to archives and local sites were organised. Polymer chemists and other experts were involved in the process. An exhibition was organised around museum objects and artistic responses to these by Slade students.

References

Vickers, N. and Hill, S. (eds) 2019. Raw Materials: Plastics (Exploring the industrial heritage of the River Lea through a series of materials). London: Bow Arts.

Jack Latham – Sugar Paper Theories

RPS, Bristol, 16th November 2019

Very fortunate to have a tour of the exhibition with Curator Mark Rawlinson and then attend a panel discussion with Jack Latham, Erla Bolladóttir and Gísli Guðjónsson as part of the Falmouth MA meet-up in Bristol. There are a number of issues raised by the exhibition and discussion that are important for my own project.

The first relates to the relationship between Latham’s photographs, archival (including police) photographs, texts and artefacts. These are combined to suggest not just that that there are multiple conflicting accounts, but that accounts (and the place of photography in relation to these) are contingent, uncertain and unstable. Whilst some of Latham’s photographs revisit earlier archival images, they do not remake, or rephotograph, places and scenes, but rather revisit and re-present the place. In some cases, the places have undergone dramatic change, in other cases images of the people, and things, that now populate the landscape are presented. Images are presented out of sequence and in different forms and formats, to disorientate and disrupt in the manner of the forms of interrogation utilised. The materials provide a resource for, but don’t dictate, the construction of narratives. As Latham stated in discussion, he wants to thwart our tendency to ‘bend images to fit narratives’. Alongside each other the different forms of material prompt us to raise questions, rather than constitute a single narrative or an unambiguous description. In my own project I have to think carefully about the relationship between different elements, and the complex relationships between people, places, things and different accounts.

Jack Latham, Sugar Paper Theories, 2016

The second relates to the relationship between the different realisations of the project. The exhibition and the book are clearly very different ways of engaging with the work (and the discussion between the photographer and other participants in the project is yet another). Moving around the gallery makes the investigation of the narratives easier than the linear structure of the book. The scale of of the photographs and the juxtaposition in space are also to the fore in the gallery space (pictures are in clusters, next to each other, opposite each other, obscured and revealed by movement around the space. On the other hand, the book offers a tactile experience, accentuated by the use of different papers (including sugar-paper), gatefolds and french folds, loose images, text on transparent papers and so on. This mirrors my earlier discussion of the the relationship between film Island and the related installation.

Jack Latham, Sugar Paper Theories, 2016

The third aspect relates to the relationship between the photographer and the participants in the project (also raised in the guest lecture by Sebastian Bruno this week, who initially made his work with minimal engagement with the community, but latterly has adopted a more collaborative approach). The project required close collaboration with the people imprisoned and those involved in seeking justice. Latham mentioned that he sought the agreement of the people involved before the final edit of the book was approved (he arranged to have a meal with everyone and went through the edit with them). This emphasised the importance of engaging collaborators in deciding the form that are taken by the outcomes of the project.

The fourth relates to consideration of what it is possible for photography to achieve, and how it might contribute to a multi-disciplinary investigation (such as this project, which involves psychologists, forensic investigators, ‘conspiracy theorists’ and others). Latham is clear about the limitations of photography to tell stories, and raises questions, for me, about whether ‘telling stories’ should be a primary aspiration for photographers. Rawlinson refers to Allan Sekula’s advocacy of the use of sequences of photographs through which to create a narrative. Latham’s work operates in a different way. His aesthetically and technically accomplished images are woven into the other material to produce multiple narratives. Their contribution is distinct, and arguably could not have been achieved by any other form expression/(re)presentation. The images alone do not form a narrative, nor do they provide, in themselves, illumination or analysis. They do, though, draw us into engagement with the people and places depicted, and their part in the overall complex of narratives. They also disrupt assumptions about placed he passage of time. The success of this, for me, has its foundations in Latham’s modesty about what photography alone can achieve, and inquisitiveness about how these achievements can be enhanced within a multi-disciplinary, and multi-modal, project. This is at the heart of my own project, which seeks to explore what, distinctively, photography can contribute, both as a practice and outcomes, in multi- and inter-disciplinary work.

Valérie Belin: portraits and superimposition

Valérie Belin, Fox Chase Antiques, 2019

Belin’s recent commission for the V&A (for which she produced layered images using photographs from the V&A archive) has prompted me to revisit her work. My principal interest is to explore ways of incorporating portraits into my collaborative composites, layering them with built and natural environment images, artefacts, maps, archival images and so on. Whilst Belin’s practice is very different from my own (in most cases she uses professional models to pose for the portrait components, for instance, whereas I am working collaboratively with community members in the production of portraits and composites), it is instructive to explore her visual strategies and technical production processes.

Valérie Belin, Bravissimo, Stage Sets series, 2011

It is her earlier monochrome layering work that bears the closest resemblance to what I am doing. In Stage Sets (2011) she superimposes stage sets on urban street scenes, her first exploration of the landscape, also using solarisation in a similar way to her Interiors (2012) series (the process of conversion of channel mixed images to black and white produces a similar effect).

Valérie Belin, XXX Toys, Brides series, 2012

Brides (2012) combines earlier images of Moroccan Brides with street scenes, producing an interaction between the adornments of the brides with the complexity of shopfronts (with neon signs and text). Bob (2012) combines the human figure with theatrical prop store interiors and China Girls (2018) blends models with highly complex images of flowers and fruit, merging figure with background.

Valérie Belin, Bohemian Glass Cup, China Girls series, 2018

This work differs from my own not just in process and focus, but in the number of images combined (two in Belin’s case, three in my case) and the contrast (her images are high contrast, mine must lower in contrast). The size of her prints is also notable – each of the images in China Girls is 173 x 130 cm (in and edition of 6 with two artist’s prints). She is working with large format film, which is then scanned and manipulated.

Valérie Belin, Pieris Japonica Mountain Fire, Black-Eyed Susan II series, 2013

Of particular interest in the development of my own work is the production of colour prints in the series All Star (2016), Super Models (2015), Black-Eyed Susan II (2013) and Black-Eyed Susan I (2010). By following Welling’s channel mixing approach, colour in my images is an artefact (the initial images are black and white, which are fed into red, blue and green channels before being converted/manipulated to produce a final black and white image – the colour images thus bear no relation to the colour of the original objects).

Valérie Belin, Ishtar, Super Models series, 2015

To achieve her effect, Belin is clearly superimposing in this work, which produces a ‘natural’ colour image, but does not allow the interaction of tones and entanglement of images achieved in the process I am using. As I am not able to process colour film myself, adopting Belin’s process would require me to shoot digitally, which will limit the size of image I can ultimately produce. Something to explore: colour images would be more engaging, I think, for some of the community projects. I also want to explore ways in which Belin has drawn out the faces of the models in China Girls (compare this with the images from Brides, which more closely resemble my initial composites with portraits, but again without the tonal interaction/interruption).

Valérie Belin, Golden Girl, All Star series, 2016

Lots to be learned from this work, both in relation to similarity in the use of layering/superimposition and the the underlying rationale for this (bringing things together in the frame which don’t physically and temporally co-exist in a given place, but which psychologically, socially and culturally do interact with each other in the development of a sense of ‘locatedness’ and becoming). My process is, however, is very different, and the underlying intent (and theory) is distinct. There is, however, no clear rationale for producing black and white images (apart from the evocation of a fiction, rather than a representation), so exploration of ways of producing large colour images would be productive.

Resources

Valérie Belin, https://valeriebelin.com/ [accessed 01.11.19]

Warner, M (2019) Valérie Belin’s reflections of the real and imaginary, British Journal of Photography, 22.10.19. Online at https://www.bjp-online.com/2019/10/valerie-belins-va/ [accessed 01.11.19]

Reflection on FMP Proposal Feedback

Heartening to get positive feedback and pointers for development from Wendy and Jessie. The main issues to think about were:

  • getting the scale of the project right, and making sure it is achievable in the time available. For me, that means that I might not include the work done in all the micro-projects. Whilst they will all contribute to the development of the process, the images produced may not feature in the final edit.
Wendy Ewald, Christian, Born 1995, Democratic Republic of Congo; arrived in Margate 2004. Resettled in Scotland, 2003-06
  • thinking carefully about the audiences for the final images and how best to disseminate and present the work. We discussed Wendy Ewald’s use of posters and billboards in the ‘Towards the Promised Land’ project, and similar forms of public engagement. One example of this form of presentation are the images that have been displayed on the hoardings around the Ford plant in Dagenham while it is being demolished. These prints of the car plant interior are printed on plastic and screwed to the hoarding inside a frame. A similar form of display could be used for the Shed Life work.
  • making sure that full consent has been obtained, and that participants are fully aware of their part in the project and what will happen to the outcomes. This requires me to produce a clear description of the project and to obtain signed permission to use the images. This has to make clear that the work will not be used for commercial purposes, but can otherwise be quite open in use of the images. It should be made clear that the images may be manipulated in some way, and links be given to some indicative work.
Grayson Perry, In Its Familiarity, Golden, 2015
  • the output could be a ‘fiction’ of some sort, like Grayson Perry’s Ballad of Julie Cope, and the accompanying tapestries (which bear resemblance to montage).
  • making connections for future practice and engaging with organisations that produce and commission similar types of work (for instance, Grain).

References

Grain https://grainphotographyhub.co.uk/

Grayson Perry, Julie Cope’s Grand Tour https://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/what-we-do/julie-copes-grand-tour/

Wendy Ewald, Towards a Promised Land http://wendyewald.com/portfolio/margate-towards-a-promised-land/

Moving between digital and analog

I’ve written earlier about post-digital practice, in which analog and digital forms of production and presentation are combined.

Michael Lundgren, Unseen, Amsterdam, 2019

I was fortunate to hear Michael Lundgren present his current work at Unseen, and to talk to him afterwards about his practice. Lundgren studied under Mark Klett, and worked as a printer with Klett for a number of years. Whilst his early work included rephotography in Phoenix and San Francisco (with Klett), his more recent work is ‘concerned with making images that make you feel something you can’t quite understand’. These are in the form of large gelatin silver prints (24 by 30 inches, in editions of seven with one artist’s print) and books based on series of images (the latest being Geomancy, a large format book of 80 photographs taken in the desert, produced as a special edition of 30 and a trade edition of 800 by publisher Stanley/Barker).

Michael Lundgren, from Geomancy series, 2019

In his talk, Michael stated that the books were the primary outcome of his practice. He produces just small editions of the prints so that he does not have to hold high levels of stock. It also has the advantage of enabling him to move quickly on from one series to the next, without having to go back to printing earlier work. In terms of process, he now makes the initial image with a Sony full-frame digital camera, and sends the file to Chicago Albumen Works to produce a large format silver halide negative using the LVT (Light Valve Technology) process. He then produces a gelatin silver print from the negative (this is the process that Salgado now uses, with negatives produced on Ilford FP4 using the LVT process). Analogue Arts in London offers this service (producing 4×5 or 8×10 negatives from digital files).