SQUARE MILE INITIAL PHOTOGRAPHER RESEARCH
‘I was beginning to become aware of the unreliability of photographic evidence and began to play with that feature. I felt that what a photograph could not tell or show might be just as significant as what it could.’ (Roberts, 1997)
‘Walking the Dog’ is a series of black and white photographs of people standing with their dogs. Whilst the locations vary in the photographs they are all of a single owner, full-length in the centre of the image facing the camera with a dog at their feet.
The photographs were taken around Arnatt’s home in Tintern in the late 1970’s. Arnatt took over two hundred pictures whilst walking in the area, but selected forty for the series. The way in which the photographs are repetitive and consistent in composition and in cropping highlight the subject’s unique differences and expressions.
I was particularly interested in ‘Boredom’ as it is based on youth, memories and a sense of place. This seems to be where my own thought process is taking me for my ‘Square mile’. I also like the addition of a written piece to tie the work together. The work is based around the town in which Barnard grew up and a yearly event of wildfire burning. Barnard says
‘The landscape of youth is laden with memories, my photography draws on the overlapping cycles as young people discover and grow through the background to their lives, how they react to it and what they do within the space can have a profound effect on how we view ourselves in relation to the surrounding world. Our place of youth, our ‘home’ and the memories created during this period, for better or worse can create an embedded sense of place and can go some way in self-defining our later life attitudes’
Barnard goes on to suggest that the photographs speak of the areas industrial past and how the perception of memories and past change over time. The memories of the youth in the same area for example would be represented differently 50 years previously . The blackened landscape evokes reckless youth for Barnard but would evoke life and work for her grandfather who was of a different place in time.
Barneys work appears to be more of a social landscape style, capturing friends and families in their immediate surroundings to document society. Her photos define family bonds in typical family celebrations yet some photographs appear to be staged, I think this feeling comes from the subjects posing directly for the camera, in most of the photos Barney has managed to capture a scene or a moment in time without anyone reacting to the camera.
Dearden’s work appears to offer an insight into surroundings and the ties and relationships within them. The photos depict a way of life or a ‘day in the life of’ and blend to form a cohesive series. ‘Somerset Stories Five Penny Dreams’ is a perfect example of people and place together, it appears to an honest portrayal. In ‘Glastonbury Another Stage’ there is a divide between the images of the landscape / event and the portraiture of the people who ,I presume, were at the event but taken within a studio like setting.
Engstrom appears to fall in love with places and his photographs record the places he loves as a document of the moment. Paris looks to be his main love affair perhaps because it was a pivotal place and time for him in his youth. It seems his obsession with places was a way of coping with moving around between places such as Paris and Stockholm as a child. His photos are diarist in style, cataloguing people and places in everyday life, the ordinary passing of time. He recognises that places change but life is forever entwined.
Horn’s photographs are mostly abstract photos of Iceland, or bodies of water, although her work entitled ‘You are the weather’ interestingly explores the minute changes in expression over a period of time which when placed side by side magnifys the effect.
Hunter explores and photographs themes within his local area of East London but stages his photos to reference historical art. The photos border on satirical in some instances by replicating past masters in the modern world around him. He engages his subjects within their surroundings and the landscapes around them skilfully.
Knorr’s photographs depict the English class system which she was a part of in an artistic style.
Peter Mansell’s photographs are interesting as he has captured the space and world around him from a unique view-point. He has taken the images from a wheelchair users view and as an observer we become part of the image by being forced to see the scene from the height dictated by the wheelchair. You understand the series of photographs and can place the knocked paint and roadside view without explanation, it opens the viewers eyes to the world from the photographers perspective.
Marc Rees founded Rees International Project Enterprise (R.I.P.E) Which provides solo and collaborative performance projects. Rees has based his work on the ‘Square mile’ concept and explores his sexual awakening, the intimate relationship to a child’s landscape and its future influence.
Jodi Taylor has tried to evoke the nostalgia of her youth from the images which is interesting as it mirrors some of my own ideas although I particularly like the idea of presenting her work in a style that suited the decade. This may be an idea I could explore after my initial project, it is strange how the images closely resemble the images I have listed from my own area, obviously too many childhoods wherever you grew up were spent in alleys or by the back of garages! I wonder, as an alternative to this, what would be the images captured from today’s childhoods to evoke nostalgia in the future?