Paul Shambroom

website

Shambroom is conducting a long-term investigation of power. This started with series on nuclear weapons, factories and corporate offices. He then focused on homeland security training and preparation. His images are influenced by painting traditions, including Dutch landscape painting.

Meetings Series

These photographs emphasize the theatrical aspects of meetings: There is a “cast”, a “set”, an “audience” (sometimes) and a “program” (the agenda). Seating arrangements, clothing and body language all provide clues to local cultural traits and political dynamics. The subjects play dual roles as private individuals and (sometimes reluctant) public leaders. Power may be relative, but the mayor of a town of 200 has much in common with the President of the United States. We see ourselves reflected (either positively or negatively) in our leaders, exemplifying both the highest ideals and lowest depths of the human spirit. Our reactions to them help define our perceptions of our own place in society, as insiders or outsiders, haves or have-nots

Homeland Security

This work examines issues of fear, safety and liberty in post-9/11 America. From 2003 – 2007 I am photographed facilities, equipment and personnel involved in the massive government and private sector efforts to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks within the nation’s borders. First responders and law enforcement officers train in large-scale simulated environments such as “Disaster City” in Texas and “Terror Town”, an abandoned mining community in New Mexico purchased with funds from the Department of Homeland Security. Training scenarios, by necessity, involve simulated environments and threats. This blurring of fiction and truth mirrors the difficulty we have discerning between legitimate safety concerns and hyped-up fear.

Treasure: Landscapes of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Shambroom photographs the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) – emphasising the way that this is hidden – as ‘critical assets’ public attention is discouraged although access is not illegal. The Department of Energy agreed to let him photograph from outside the sites without hindrance and allowed me to visit inside one site, but only after lengthy negotiations.

How does one photograph something that can’t be seen? My approach was to work from a distance to incorporate the land and water over the storage caverns, and include lots of sky. I took inspiration from 17th century Dutch landscape paintings, whose fluffy clouds and bucolic countryside spoke of that nation’s prosperity. For a while back in the twentieth century the United States enjoyed similar prosperity, with a seemingly limitless supply of petroleum to power industry and automobiles. The oil supply was truly “out of sight, out of mind”.

Today it is very much on our minds. The hundreds of millions of barrels of oil beneath these idyllic landscapes offer a very thin veneer of protection to our economy and way of life. By government estimates, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve could replace foreign oil imports for 59 days. Then the tap would be empty.

Lost

“Lost” is a series of photographs derived from missing pet posters placed by owners in public places. These images have been degraded by environmental factors or printer malfunctions, resulting in serendipitous and unexpected color and texture. The additional partial loss (of the image) mirrors the ambiguous loss of a beloved family pet. The incorporation of short selections of text from the posters introduces unintentional humor and beauty in the form of found poetry. The words and images combine to transcend the particular family dramas represented in each image, and address more universal themes of loss and uncertainty.

Richard Misrach

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Source: Draft edited and extended from Wikipedia

Richard Misrach (born in Los Angeles, California in 1949) is an American photographer “firmly identified with the introduction of color to ‘fine’ [art] photography in the 1970s, and with the use of large-format traditional cameras” (Nancy Princenthal, Art in America). He is perhaps best known for his depictions of the deserts of the American west, and for his series documenting the changes brought to bear on the environment by various man-made factors such as urban sprawl, tourism, industrialization, floods, fires,petrochemical manufacturing, and the testing of explosives and nuclear weapons by the military.

The Desert Cantos

Misrach’s longest-running and most ambitious project, the Desert Cantos, is an ongoing series of photographs of deserts. Begun in 1979 with a Deardorff 8×10” view camera, the series is ongoing and numbers 33 cantos as of 2013.

Misrach’s use of the term “canto” was inspired in part by the cantos of Ezra Pound. The Italian term “canto” was used to denote that the vast enterprise has been broken down into individual thematic essays or “cantos,” which together make up the whole work, or “song cycle.” Some of these cantos consist of only a few images, while others run into hundreds. Some may be regarded as “documentary” in mode, some more metaphorical. Some may be considered aesthetic in intent, some “political” – though as an ambitious and intelligent photographer, aesthetics are never pursued at the expense of politics, or vice versa. Misrach’s goal may be said to be a search for the photographic Holy Grail, to fuse reportage with poetry. To progress – as he put it – “from the descriptive and the informative to a metaphorical resolution.” (1989 article in Creative Camera, Gerry Badger)

Beginning with “The Terrain,” in which images of apparently untouched wilderness are punctuated by human elements such as a lone telephone pole or a train, theCantos include spectacles like the space shuttle landing (“The Event”) and car racing (“The Salt Flats”), man-made fires and floods like the Salton Sea (“The Flood”) and desert seas created by the damming of rivers, as well ascolor-field studies of empty skies (“The Skies”). Images of military training and testing sites feature extensively in the Cantos and the series’ corresponding publications: “The War” resulted in the 1991 book Bravo 20: The Bombing of the America West, co-authored by Myriam Weisang Misrach, and nuclear testing was addressed in Violent Legacies, published in 1992. “The Pit” documented mass graves of dead animals in the Nevada desert while “Pictures of Paintings” focused on the representation of the western landscape in museums across the American West. “The Playboys” depicted issues of Playboy, discovered by the photographer at a military site, that had been used for target practice.

The Los Angeles Times quotes Misrach regarding the Cantos:

The desert … may serve better as the backdrop for the problematic relationship between man and the environment. The human struggle, the successes … both noble and foolish, are readily apparent in the desert. Symbols and relationships seem to arise that stand for the human condition itself.

Border Cantos

Misrach’s Border Cantos series comprises photographs of the border between the U.S. and Mexico taken since 2004, and most extensively since 2009. In 2012 he began a collaboration with composer Guillermo Galindo, who manufactures playable instruments from objects found along the border. Misrach and Galindo have recovered artifacts from the border zone including water bottles, clothing, back-packs, Border Patrol “drag” tires, spent shotgun shells, ladders, and sections of the border wall itself, all of which have been transformed by Galindo into instrumental sculptures. The pair’s collaborative project will be featured in a museum exhibit in 2016 which will tour the United States through 2018.

The Oakland–Berkeley fire and Hurricane Katrina

In October 1991, a firestorm raged in the Oakland–Berkeley hills, killing 25 people, wounding 150 and destroying over 3,500 dwellings. This fire – one of the worst in California’s history – happened a few miles from Misrach’s studio and the photographer visited the site a few weeks later, taking hundreds of pictures. However, out of respect for the victims of the fire, he put the work away for two decades. “1991: The Oakland–Berkeley Fire Aftermath: Photographs by Richard Misrach,” an exhibition of Misrach’s photographs of the firestorm’s aftermath, was finally shown for the first time concurrently by the Berkeley Art Museum and the Oakland Museum of California in 2011. These exhibits included handcrafted elegy books in which visitors shared their recollections, a video story booth for recording memories, and an open-microphone meetings. The collected responses from local residents, as well as the prints — sets of which Misrach donated to the museums — were kept in the collections.

To date, the majority of Misrach’s large-format documentary images of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast taken immediately after Hurricane Katrina have not been shown, with the exception of Destroy this Memory, a book published five years after the disaster, consisting entirely of pocket-camera pictures of messages left on houses, cars, and trees by survivors of the hurricane. A Los Angeles Times review called the book “a raw testament, shot between October and December 2005, just after the waters began to recede but the emotions had certainly not. Without captions or a contextual introduction to detract from the potency of the photographs themselves, the book is a powerful document allowing survivors to speak eloquently for themselves — even in absentia.” Proceeds from Destroy this Memory were donated to the Make It Right Foundation to help rebuild the city’s Lower Ninth Ward. Complete sets of the photographs were also donated to five museums—the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Golden Gate Bridge and Petrochemical America

When Misrach moved to a house in the Berkeley hills in 1997, he was inspired by the spectacle of weather and light surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge (see images) , which sat only seven miles from his front porch. For four years he photographed the bridge from the same location and with the same vantage point under different climate conditions. These images are conventionally visually stunning in their horizontal bands of sunset colours using very low horizons.

Concurrently, Misrach was working in Louisiana, following a commission he received from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. In 1998, he began documenting “Cancer Alley,” (see images) a stretch along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that is home to over 135 plants and refineries. The resulting images were exhibited as part of the “Picturing the South” series at the High Museum. He resumed photographing the area in 2010 and completed the series in 2012 with another exhibition at the High Museum, “Revisiting the South,” and the publication of Petrochemical America, a book pairing Misrach’s images with an “ecological atlas” by architect and Columbia University professor Kate Orff. Orff’s writing and infographic-style work in the book articulate the complex industrial, economic, ecological, and historical problems that inevitably gave rise to the places featured in Misrach’s photographs.

On the Beach and On the Beach 2.0

In January 2002, following an exploratory trip in November 2001, Misrach started his On the Beach project, consisting of serial photographs taken from the same building overlooking a beach in Hawaii. The project’s title refers to the Cold War-era Nevil Shute book and subsequent 1959 sci-fi movie, On the Beach, in which a nuclear disaster goes unnoticed by a group of happy beach-goers who suddenly find themselves the only survivors. According to Smithsonian magazine, the series was “deeply influenced by the events of September 11, 2001;” the aerial perspectives of figures suspended in the ocean or on the beach reminded Misrach of news photographs of people falling from the twin towers.

The resulting photographs were very large: Smithsonian reports that “the largest measure six by ten feet and are so detailed you can read the headlines on a beachgoer’s newspaper.” The beach images “seem much more beautiful, almost in a way more soft than some of his other work,” writes Sarah Greenough, photography curator at the National Gallery of Art: “After you look at them for a while, though, they are hardly soft at all. There really is something very ominous going on.” Misrach also captured people in action – a man tossing a woman through the air or someone doing a headstand in the water – which was especially noteworthy given the time-consuming and cumbersome view camera used. The photographer has said that the work is of a piece with his usual focus on humanity and the environment, but “it is much more about our relationship to the bigger, sublime picture of things.”

Misrach completed the series in 2005 and went on to publish a large-format book called On the Beach in 2007, voted by Photo District News readers as one of the most influential books of the decade.

Returning to the same beach while on vacation in late 2011 with a new digital camera, he began working at the same location but with a different intent and mood: the artist says he was becoming “more comfortable with metaphysical questions,” and the subjects of his 2011 images appear at play and in harmony with nature. The title of the series, On the Beach 2.0, alludes to the fact that the photographs are grounded in their technological moment in time – as do the individual titles, which refer to the date and exact minute of each shot.

Conversely, reviewer Allegra Kirkland points out that parts of this body of work are the closest Misrach has come to traditional portraiture since Telegraph 3 AM. The use of a digital camera and a telephoto lens introduced a new degree of speed and proximity to the artist’s shooting methods; although faces are often obscured by a towel or magazine, many of the images in On The Beach 2.0 might still be considered gestural portraits.

Kirkland writes: “The [On The Beach 2.0] series is about waiting and what happens when you do—the strange, small, secret moments that compose life… Ten years after the debut of the original project, Misrach seems to be affirming that man and nature do not always have to exist in opposition.”

Reverse photographs and iPhone images

Misrach has created a number of reverse images, essentially presenting large prints in their negative form. Another exhibit of this work was shown in 2011, consisting entirely of small-scale color prints taken with an iPhone camera. These revisit Bombay Beach, California, a flood zone where he [photographed] found objects and detritus – evidence of man’s presence in the landscape. These compositions were also manipulated: positive becomes negative and objects are transformed in a reversed color spectrum.”

Selected grants, awards, and commissions[edit]

Misrach’s book Desert Cantos received the 1988 Infinity Award from the International Center for Photography, and his Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West, co-authored with Myriam Weisang Misrach, was awarded the 1991 PEN Center West Award for a nonfiction book.[8] His Katrina monograph Destroy This Memory won Best Photobook of the Year 2011 at PhotoEspaña.[16]

He has received numerous awards including four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an International Center of Photography Infinity Award for a Publication, and the Distinguished Career in Photography Award from the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. In 2002 he was given the Kulturpreis for Lifetime Achievement in Photography by the German Society for Photography, and in 2008 he received the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art Photography.[14]

In 2010, Apple licensed Misrach’s 2004 image Pyramid Lake (at Night) as the inaugural wallpaper for the first iPad.[26] The opening credits of the 2014 HBO series True Detective featured a montage of images from Misrach’sPetrochemical America.[27]

Background and education[edit]

In 1967, Misrach left Los Angeles for the University of California, Berkeley, where he obtained a B.A. in Psychology after briefly pursuing a degree in Mathematics. While on campus he was confronted with the anti-war riots and began photographing the events around him;[7] he also learned the rudiments of photography with Paul Herzoff, Roger Minick, and Steve Fitch at the ASUC Berkeley Studio.[5]

Misrach’s first major photography project, completed in 1974, depicted homeless residents of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California. This suite of photographs was shown at the International Center of Photography and published as a book, Telegraph 3 AM,[8] which won a Western Book Award in 1975.

Early work

Having hoped that Telegraph 3 AM would help improve life on the streets, Misrach was frustrated by the book’s minimal impact and retreated to the deserts of Southern California, Arizona, and Baja, California, where he took photographs devoid of human figures entirely.[5] Working at night with a strobe that illuminated the landscape around him, he experimented with unusual printing techniques in the university darkroom and created richly hued, split-toned silver prints. A resulting 1979 book was published without a title or a single word of accompanying text besides nominal identifying information on the book’s spine. In 1976 he traveled to Stonehenge to continue his split-toned night studies, and in 1978 he began working in color on journeys to Greece, Louisiana, and Hawaii.[5][7]

Paul Seawright

Paul Seawright is best known for his ‘late photography’ of battle-sites and minefields. He often uses vintage technology and a much older approaches to conflict photography. But rather than reportage, his images are made for museum-going audiences and gallery patrons by people who call themselves ‘artists’.

website

If it is too explicit it becomes journalistic. If it is too ambiguous, it becomes meaningless…The constriction of meaning is done by the person looking at it. The artist has to leave space for that’

‘Paul Seawright, Voice Our Concern Artist’s Lecture 2010’ is a 40 minute illustrated artists lecture by the artist photographer Paul Seawright given in the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in November 2010. Paul talks about the use of photography in conflict situations as often being unreliable and how his work as a photographic artist is a response to this. He presents photographs from the Crimean war and discusses the influence of photographer Paul Graham on his work. He describes the difference between photo journalism and art in the context of artists defining their subjects and in the construction of meaning. He goes on to discuss and present examples of his Sectarian Murder Work series. This Voice Our Concern lecture was a joint project organised by IMMA and Amnesty International Ireland.

The Forest 2001

17 photographs of desolate roadside lay-bys, ditches and car parks shot at night and lit by what we assume to be streetlights. By day they would probably be ordinary, but at night with the lighting they take on a sinister tone (like images we are used to seeing in detective TV series). ‘Because there is such a division between what we can see and what we cannot see (the fall off of the light does not allow for much penetration into the forest edge) what belongs there (the trees, underbrush and roadside curbs) and what doesn’t belong there (us), these are photographs that place the viewer into the shoes of the vulnerable’ (Paul Seawright’s website)

Hidden (2002)

In 2002 Seawright was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum London to undertake a war art commission in Afghanistan.In spite of the climate in which they were made, have a cool, Becher-like objectivity to them. Tension is created by concealing as much as is revealed in the photographs and their caption. Through unorthodox framing, selective focusing in places, and at times seemingly banal viewpoints, there is a palpable sense of unease in this landscape that is strewn with concealed lethal hazards. For example another image shows recently dug up mines – done by hand because they cannot be identified with mine detectors against the rest of the iron in the land., as well as America’s most wanted outlaw, who would take a further nine years to track down. His photograph of shells in Afghanistan explicitly echoes Fenton’s famous image from the Crimea.

For some of the main images and reviews (eg John Stathatos) see: http://www.paulseawright.com/hidden/

Invisible Cities 2007   

after Italo Calvino book.

Seawright travelled to major cities in sub-Saharan Africa, exploring communities on the edge of conurbations, both geographically and socially. Comprises varied photographs, some of which are recognisable as landscape pictures, or environmental portraiture. None of the titles of the photographs refer to specific locations or people, which emphasises the indistinct nature and anonymity of these places and their inhabitants.

Bridge (2006) the road bridge, presumably an interchange of major roads on the edge of the city, cleanly divides the frame in two. A yellow bus heads along the road towards the city from, we suppose, the sanctuary of the suburbs, taking children to school or their parents to work. The sky is empty and bleak, echoed by the detritus that sprawls below, shielded by the flyover from the view of the bus’s passengers.

Things Left Unsaid

Biography

Paul Seawright is Professor of Photography and Head of Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster. His photographic work is held in many museum collections including The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Tate, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, International Centre of Photography New York, Arts Councils of Ireland, England and N.Ireland, UK Government Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art Rome. They have also been exhibited in Spain, France, Germany, Korea, Japan and China.  In 2003 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale of Art and in 1997 won the Irish Museum of Modern Art/Glen Dimplex Prize. He is represented by the Kerlin Gallery Dublin.

Ian Brown

Walking and mapping are also central to Ian Brown’s series Walking the Land (2007).

Exhibition images

In this collection of 10 images, Brown digitally layered a large number of sets of photographs, each set made on different walks. The resulting images resemble abstract impressionist paintings and provide a peculiar overview of the journey and the terrain Brown travelled through. The final images rendered by the layering technique are limited in terms of their actual pictorial detail, yet manage to convey a sense of the particular topography of each landscape.This process is akin to a method of mapping the particular route Brown walked.

An interesting aspect of Walking the Land is that some of Brown’s walks were made a considerable time ago, before he had access to a film scanner and Photoshop.

Source Jesse Alexander 2013 p68.

No further information found on Google.

Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky (born January 15, 1955) is a German photographer and Professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. Gursky shares a studio with Laurenz Berges, Thomas Ruff and Axel Hutte on the Hansaallee, in Düsseldorf. The building, a former electricity station, was transformed into an artists studio and living quarters, in 2001, by architects Herzog & de Meuron, of Tate Modern fame. In 2010-11, the architects worked again on the building, designing a gallery in the basement.

He is known for his large format architecture and landscape colour photographs, often employing a high point of view. Before the 1990s, Gursky did not digitally manipulate his images. In the years since, Gursky has been frank about his reliance on computers to edit and enhance his pictures, creating an art of spaces larger than the subjects photographed.

The perspective in many of Gursky’s photographs is drawn from an elevated vantage point. This position enables the viewer to encounter scenes, encompassing both centre and periphery, which are ordinarily beyond reach. Visually, Gursky is drawn to large, anonymous, man-made spaces—high-rise facades at night, office lobbies, stock exchanges, the interiors of big box retailers (See his print 99 Cent II Diptychon).

Gursky’s style is enigmatic and deadpan. There is little to no explanation or manipulation on the works. His photography is straightforward.

Gursky’s Dance Valley festival photograph, taken near Amsterdam in 1995, depicts attendees facing a DJ stand in a large arena, beneath strobe lighting effects. The pouring smoke resembles a human hand, holding the crowd in stasis. After completing the print, Gursky explained the only music he now listens to is the anonymous, beat-heavy style known as Trance, as its symmetry and simplicity echoes his own work—while playing towards a deeper, more visceral emotion.

The photograph 99 Cent (1999) was taken at a 99 Cents Only store on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and depicts its interior as a stretched horizontal composition of parallel shelves, intersected by vertical white columns, in which the abundance of “neatly labeled packets are transformed into fields of colour, generated by endless arrays of identical products, reflecting off the shiny ceiling” (Wyatt Mason).

The Rhine II (1999), depicts a stretch of the river Rhine outside Düsseldorf, immediately legible as a view of a straight stretch of water, but also as an abstract configuration of horizontal bands of colour of varying widths.]

In his six-part series Ocean I-VI (2009-2010), Gursky used high-definition satellite photographs which he augmented from various picture sources on the Internet.

 

 

Fay Godwin

Fay Godwin (17 February 1931 – 27 May 2005) was a British photographer known for her black-and-white landscapes of the British countryside and coast.

Official website

British Library archive:  including approximately 11,000 exhibition prints, the entire contents of her studio, and correspondence with some of her subjects.

Google images

 detailed overview of her work from her books still to be done

Landscape

 

Rebecca the Lurcher (1973)

The Oldest Road: An Exploration of the Ridgeway (1975), co-authored with J.R.L. Anderson—working mainly in the landscape tradition she aimed to communicate the sense of ecological crisis present in late 1970s and 1980s England.

Remains of Elmet: A Pennine Sequence (1979, with Ted Hughes). Hughes called the 1994 Elmet the “definitive” edition. Godwin also said, in a 2001 interview, that this was the book she would like to be most remembered for.

Land (1985, with John Fowles and designed by Ken Garland) described by The Guardian art critic Ian Jeffrey  the “book for which she will be most remembered”. What sets Land apart is the care that Fay gave to the combining and sequencing of its pictures. Working with contact prints on a board, she put together a picture of Britain as ancient terrain—stony, windswept and generally worn down by the elements….[a work] in the neo-romantic tradition…[that] gives an oddly desolate account of Britain, as if reporting on a long abandoned country.  A retrospective book, Landmarks, was published by Dewi Lewis in 2002.

Glassworks & Secret Lives (1999) She also began taking close-ups of natural forms. A major exhibition of that work was toured by Warwick Arts Centre from 1995 to 1997  Glassworks & Secret Lives (ISBN 0953454517) is Godwin’s self-published  small book of that work  which was distributed from a small local bookshop in her adopted hometown of Hastings in East Sussex.

Our Forbidden Land

 Portraiture

Through her husband, Godwin was introduced to the London literary scene. She produced portraits of dozens of well-known writers, photographing almost every significant literary figure in 1970s and 1980s England, as well as numerous visiting foreign authors. Her subjects, typically photographed in the sitters’ own homes, included Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, Saul Bellow, Angela Carter, Margaret Drabble, Günter Grass, Ted Hughes, Clive James, Philip Larkin, Doris Lessing, Edna O’Brien, Anthony Powell, Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, and Tom Stoppard.

Life

1931 Born Berlin, Germany, father a British diplomat, mother an American artist, Stella MacLean. Educated at various schools all over the world.

1958 Settled down to live in London.

1961 married publisher Tony Godwin; the couple had two sons, Jeremy and Nicholas.

 

1966 Became interested in photography through photographing her young children. No training.

“ My way into photography was through family snaps in the mid-1960s. I had no formal training, but after the snaps came portraits, reportage, and finally, through my love of walking, landscape photography, all in black and white. A Fellowship with the National Museum of Photography in Bradford led to urban landscape in colour, and very personal close-up work in colour has followed. ”
—Fay Godwin, ca. 2000,

 

1975 Publication of first co-author book, The Oldest Road, with writer J.R.L. Anderson. Exhibitions from the series toured nationally.

1978 Recipient of major award from Arts Council of Great Britain to continue landscape work in British Isles, much of which is included in Land.

1984 Start of British Councils overseas tour of Landscape Photographs.

1985 Publication of Land. Major exhibition of Land at the Serpentine Gallery, London.

1986 South Bank Show their first full-length documentary to feature a photographer.

1986/7 Fellow at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford.

1987/90 President of the Ramblers’ Association, UK. Then life vice president. “long-running right-to-roam campaign was turned up to the full-strength pressure which ultimately resulted in the access provisions enshrined in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.”

1990 Awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

1990 six week lecture and workshop tour of New Zealand.

In the 1990s she was offered a Fellowship at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (now the National Media Museum) in Bradford, which pushed her work in the direction of colour and urban documentary.

 

Major retrospective at the Barbican Centre in London 2001, with accompanying publication, Landmarks.

Honorary Doctotorate of Arts at De Montfort University, 2002.

Godwin was less active in her final years; in a December 2004 interview for Practical Photography, she blamed “the NHS. They ruined my life by using some drugs with adverse affects that wrecked my heart. The result is that I haven’t the energy to walk very far.”

 

Died, May 2005 aged 74.

No Man’s Land – Fay Godwin’s last interview, from ePHOTOzine.com

 

Fay Godwin is a familiar name in British landscape photography, celebrated for her critical approach to the landscape genre (see Part Three) and for being one of the most successful female photographers of the twentieth century. Like Pollard, Godwin had – albeit in a very different way – a strained relationship with the British landscape. Whilst she was clearly quite at home trekking around the more remote parts of the countryside (e.g. the Lake District, Forest of Dean), throughout the 1970s and 80s Godwin became increasingly concerned with the degree to which access to the land was becoming restricted. She allied herself with the Ramblers Association, becoming president in 1987. Fences, wire and cautionary signposts (some polite and others less so) are familiar motifs within Godwin’s photographs. Her image Stonehenge Summer Solstice (1988), in which the stones are obscured by barbed wire more typical of a military base than a heritage site, is a visual expression of the frustration she felt at being unable to gain access to the site to make a more considered set of images than a few snapshots (see Taylor, 1994, pp.276–83). Like John Davies and others, Godwin paid careful attention to light conditions and ordered her compositions along traditional, pictorial conventions, which is one of the reasons why her photographs have remained so appealing. This stealth tactic allows the viewer to be taken in by the aesthetics of the image; once the viewer is engaged, Godwin is able to pose more challenging questions about the landscape.

Listen to Fay Godwin on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2002.

Hiroshi Sugimoto

website

Google images

from Wikipedia:

Sugimoto has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death. Sugimoto is also deeply influenced by the writings and works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dadaist and Surrealist movements as a whole. He has also expressed a great deal of interest in late 20th century modern architecture.

His use of an 8×10 large-format camera and extremely long exposures have given Sugimoto a reputation as a photographer of the highest technical ability. He is equally acclaimed for the conceptual and philosophical aspects of his work.

Exerpts from his description of selected works from his website:

Joe:  Like a work of architecture, this sculpture has to be experienced by walking around and through it… Joe is different according to the time of the day, the season, and the viewer’s position. It is in the visitor’s memory that the sculpture “takes shape” in the most complete way…Using a photographic technique involving areas of extremely soft light and blurred darkness, he sculpted views that seem like aspects of visual memory: the arts of photography and sculpture overlap and memories of the two-and the three-dimensional mix.

Revolution: For a long time it was my job to stand on cliffs and gaze at the sea, the horizon where it touches the sky. The horizon is not a straight line, but a segment of a great arc. One day, standing atop a lone island peak in a remote sea, the horizon encompassing my entire field of vision, for a moment I was floating in the centre of a vast basin. But then, as I viewed the horizon encircle me, I had a distinct sensation of the earth as a watery globe, a clear vision of the horizon not as an endless expanse but the edge of an oceanic sphere…There remains… a great divide between comprehending (i.e.explaining) the world and being able to explain what we ourselves are. And even then, what we can explain of the world is far less than what we cannot ― though people tend be more attracted by the unexplained. In all this, I somehow feel we are nearing an era when religion and art will once again cast doubts upon science, or else an era when things better seen through to a scientific conclusion will bow to religious judgement.

Seascapes:  Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention―and yet they vouchsafe our very existence…Let’s just say that there happened to be a planet with water and air in our solar system, and moreover at precisely the right distance from the sun for the temperatures required to coax forth life. While hardly inconceivable that at least one such planet should exist in the vast reaches of universe, we search in vain for another similar example. Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.

Lightning sheets: The idea of observing the effects of electrical discharges on photographic dry plates reflects my desire to re-create the major discoveries of these scientific pioneers in the darkroom and verify them with my own eyes.

Architecture: I decided to trace the beginnings of our age via architecture. Pushing my old large-format camera’s focal length out to twice-infinity―with no stops on the bellows rail, the view through the lens was an utter blur―I discovered that superlative architecture survives, however dissolved, the onslaught of blurred photography. Thus I began erosion-testing architecture for durability, completely melting away many of the buildings in the process.

Chamber of Horrors: People in olden times were apparently less fearful and grievous of death than we are today. To some it was even an honor to be chosen by the gods as a sacrificial victim, a liberation from the sufferings and strife of this life…Must we moderns be so sheltered from death?

Justin Partyka

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Summer Days in the Stour Valley

Wander the path of a winding river and it will take you deeply into the experience of landscape. Through the summer days I walked the footpaths, fields, meadows and farm tracks of this bucolic river valley. The Stour Valley remains a timeless landscape that continues to be rooted to its past. In places it has remained relatively unchanged for centuries by escaping the impact of industrial agriculture. Of course, this is “Constable Country:” the heart of English landscape art. People come to this part of East Anglia to literally step into the scenes of Constable’s paintings, but I set out to find my own way of seeing the Stour Valley. I discovered it can be a place of wonderful afternoon light and this inspired the photographs I made. These photographs largely reject the celebrated grand vistas of the Stour Valley and instead offer an alternative way of looking at this landscape. They bring attention to the particular, the peculiar, and the poetic – highlighting the hidden places and scenes that are so often overlooked. But as I worked, the spirit of Constable was always there, lingering behind me in the fields.

[These photographs were made during the summer months of 2012-2013.]

Some Country

“When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods….”
(Henry David Thoreau, ‘Walking,’ 1862)

Some Country continues my commitment to photographing rural East Anglia. Following the decade long work photographing the agrarian farmers of the region (Field Work), this new ongoing series explores the contemporary rural agricultural landscape of Norfolk and Suffolk. Moving beyond the farmer’s connection to the landscape, Some Country is reveals my own connection to rural East Anglia and includes photographs from the same fields and farm tracks that I explored during childhood. Once again, these photographs show my fascination with how man shapes the landscape, but they are also photographs about memory, personal experience, and how a prolonged connection to the landscape around us, makes us and shapes us.

Some Trees

As I have wandered the East Anglian landscape making the photographs for Some Country occasionally I have encountered trees that are so particular in their diginity and presence in the landscape that they suggest something beyond the country and become themselves the subject of a photograph.

Fieldwork

Gallery

One of England’s most rural and agricultural regions, East Anglia is a place with a long history of people working the land. Here the Romans grew their wheat and barley, and a culture of family owned agrarian farms developed and flourished, continuing an agricultural tradition with a lineage extending back to the region’s peasant farmers of the early Middle Ages. But during the last 50 years things have changed. Most of the small farms are now gone.

These photographs are from the East Anglian counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. They tell the story of those that remain – the stoical small-time farmers who continue to work the fields because it is all they know. They are the forgotten people of the flatlands, whose identity is intimately shaped by the landscape that surrounds them. Theirs is a way of life that is deeply rooted in the past. Traditional methods and knowledge are still very much depended upon. How best to plough, sow, hoe, and harvest a field to reap the best from it. The detailed histories and biographies of the local landscape. Farmers who have come and gone, from what direction the fox will come to steal a chicken, and who planted a particular oak tree and when. The old ways continue to work, so there is no need to change.

For ten years Justin Partyka has been photographing throughout the East Anglian counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, exploring a world of rabbit catchers, reed cutters, and the region’s small-scale agrarian farmers. He calls them “the forgotten people of the flatlands,” who have an intimate relationship with the landscape that surrounds them. It is a way of life that is deeply rooted to the past and its traditional methods and knowledge. These photographs tell the story of these farmers and the fields they work, and clearly illustrate Partyka’s dedicated immersion into their world. His painterly use of colour and the unique qualities of the East Anglian light beautifully captures this timeless way of rural life.

Field Work: Photographs from East Anglia is published in a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered books. Each book comes with a specially embossed slipcase and a 10 x 12

Black Fen

Black fen they call it round here. Black — for the peaty soil; black — for the mood of the area, for its history and for its future.
— Mary Chamberlain, Fenwomen, 1975

Black Fen is an ongoing series of photographs exploring the mysterious flatlands of the Fens. To drive across this landscape feels like crossing a great sea. The road undulates from the ever-shifting land, tossing the car like a small boat. Occasionally an unpaved drove branches off providing access to a house, farm buildings or fields deep in the middle of the fen. The presence of water is constant. A complex network of dykes and drains criss-crosses the fields, the murky waters rising and falling as the fenland locks and pumping stations work to prevent the water from taking back the land. All around is an abundance of crops which fight for space with an encroaching wildness of weeds and bushes that grow thick and fast out of the fertile earth. Once a place of swamps and marshes, this landscape exists because of the pioneering work of Cornelius Vermuyden and his fellow Dutch engineers, who in 1626 began draining the fens with the support of King Charles I. Today covering an area of almost 1,500 square miles in Eastern England, the Fens are one of the world’s largest areas of reclaimed land.

Fen Women

Fenwomen by Mary Chamberlain is a classic work of oral history. It was the first book by the feminist publisher Virago Press in 1975. Fenwomen is a unique documentary of women’s lives in the village of Isleham in the Cambridgeshire Fens. It tells the story of “women as labourers and labourers’ wives, whose daily toil for the survival of themselves and their families had never been acknowledged, much less lauded.”

This new edition of the book by Full Circle Editions features 23 new photographs by Justin Partyka specially commissioned for this publication. Taken in and around Isleham during 2010, these photographs present a portrait of the village over thirty years since the oral history was originally collected. Much has changed in the village, but as these photographs reveal, Isleham’s strong sense of place is still intimately shaped by the mysterious flat fenlands that surround it.

Saskatchewan

Covering an area of 251, 700 square miles, the province of Saskatchewan is almost three times the size of Great Britain, yet it has a population of only 1, 010, 146. For such a big place, the rest of the world seems to know very little about Saskatchewan, if anything at all. Even in Canada, the majority of Canadians asked about Saskatchewan have never been there and have no desire to go. Those that have driven through the province say that, “there is nothing there, just endless wheat fields.”
Saskatchewan is the place you pass through to get somewhere else. But hidden amongst the wheat fields is a rich and diverse, deeply traditional prairie culture. It is an eclectic mix of Hutterite colonies, Indian reservations, stock car racing, and cowboys; towns and cities which rise out of the landscape with their seductive names like Moose Jaw, Big Beaver, and Buffalo Gap, along with the main industry of grain farming.
In 2005 Saskatchewan celebrated its centennial year. But as the pioneering spirit of the province’s founders is remembered, rural life is experiencing a major decline. The many abandoned farms which scar the landscape are a testimony to this. Although Saskatchewan is still predominately agricultural, today seventy percent of the population live in towns and cities. Many years of poor grain prices, along with the dominance of corporate agribusiness are destroying the cultural landscape of the province, where 20,000 small farms have closed since 1986 alone. As DeNeen Brown highlights in a story in the Washington Post (Oct 25, 2003): ‘Towns throughout Canada’s prairies are dying slow deaths. All along the highways of Saskatchewan abandoned buildings lean against the prairie wind, which blows through the cracked windows of houses deserted by the families who traded them for a few thousand dollars or for the cars they drove away.’

However, the people that remain and call Saskatchewan home express a deep passion for and understanding of prairie life: an acceptance of the endless space and the loneliness it brings, but also the importance of community in a world of rural isolation. And underlying it all is a deep sense of place–an intimate relationship with the inescapable open landscape which surrounds everything and everyone.

[This project has developed into a collaboration with the Saskatchewan writer Ken Mitchell, taking the form of an image and word performance and a future book. In 2015 – 2016 Justin will be returning to Saskatchewan to make new photographs.]