John Darwell

John Darwell is an independent photographer working on long-term projects that reflect his interest in social and industrial change, concern for the environment and issues around the depiction of mental health.

He has produced many series around issues of pollution and degradation of the human environment around Manchester and Sheffield and other parts of the North of England. Some of these are in Black and White, other series are in colour.

He has a comprehensive website of images.

His work has been exhibited, and published, widely both nationally and internationally, including numerous exhibitions in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, the USA, (Houston Foto Fest, New York and San Francisco) Mexico, South America and the Canary Islands, and is featured in a number of important collections including the National Museum of Media/Sun Life Collection, Bradford; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In 2008 he gained his PhD for research into the visualisation of depression for his work entitled ‘A Black Dog Came Calling’. He is currently Reader in Photography at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle.

‘Things Seen Whilst Wandering Around Attercliffe’ (Cafe Royal 2014),

‘Desert States’, images from the South West United States (the Velvet Cell 2014)

‘Grangemouth and the Forth Estuary’ (Cafe Royal Books 2014). ‘Sheffield: Hyde Park, Meadowhall and Ponds Forge (Cafe Royal Books 2013) ‘DDSBs’ (mynewtpress 2013) ‘Sheffield: Tinsley Viaduct’ (Cafe Royal Books 2013).  

‘Dark Days’ (Dewi Lewis Publishing 2007) documenting the impact of foot and mouth disease around his home in north Cumbria, and

‘Committed to Memory’ (Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery 2007)a twenty five year retrospective.

‘Legacy’ (Dewi Lewis 2001) an exploration of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. ‘Chernobyl’ volumes 1 and 2 (the Velvet Cell 2014)

‘Jimmy Jock, Albert & the Six Sided Clock’ on the Port of Liverpool (Cornerhouse 1993).

 

Clive Landen

Clive Landen is a British wildlife photographer concerned with our relationship with animals. His pictures are quite explicit and upsetting to view, but he photographs horror with profound sensitivity and an almost painterly quality that makes us really look at the subject matter.

The Abyss  series about the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak (only one photograph now available on line?). Landen began this project because restrictions meant that he couldn’t pursue his work on the relationship between the land and hunting. The impetus also came from childhood memories of the foot and mouth outbreak of 1967. Whilst the body of work is a pertinent historical document, it is also a personal one. Landen collaborated with the military and was seconded to a regiment, which allowed him free rein to access the sites where cattle were being burned and buried. He describes a photograph of one dead sheep amongst many as a “portrait of the sheep which looks benign, at peace.” (Landen (2007) in Source no. 51.)   His landscape containing a row of dead dairy cows and skeletons of trees is one of the most moving of the series. The pall of smoke that clung to these sites is visible, providing an almost painterly, pictorialist quality.

Familiar British Wildlife series of images of roadkills. Article Source magazine  Camera Club images

 

Assignment 4: Critical Review preparation

BRIEF

Write a 2,000-word essay (excluding any quotes) on one of the areas of landscape practice you have encountered during this course so far.

The critical review is an opportunity for you to gain a greater insight into an area, theme, debate or other issue relating to landscape photography that is of particular interest to you.

You must choose a topic that’s relevant to your own practice in some way, in order to help you to contextualise your practice and to show that your understanding of landscape photography is informed by relevant practitioners. You should include an in-depth evaluation of the work of key practitioners that you reference in your essay. Where appropriate, also reference your own individual images, bodies of work and ongoing or forthcoming projects.

Your written work should clearly show that you have engaged with theoretical, historical and cultural debates around landscape practice within photography and visual culture, and demonstrate that you have developed academically as well as creatively.
To sum up, your critical review should demonstrate that you can:
• understand relevant topics and issues around landscape practice
• use research skills competently
• analyse appropriate resources
• articulate your own, informed ideas at a level commensurate with HE5 level study.

Remember to include:
• correctly cited references and quotations (Harvard referencing system)
• referenced illustrations
• word counts, both excluding and including quotations.

Finally, make sure that your essay is critical rather than narrative. This means that you should focus your efforts on evaluating, comparing, contrasting and questioning the work and theoretical ideas, and not on recounting biographical or historical information, unless it has a significant relation to practice.

Preparation: Assignment 2

My proposal is to do this around the idea of ‘safari’ – the way that African landscapes have been photographed and promoted, not only by Western tourists, but also African photographers.

– Background to views of Africa in terms of exotic other – from anthropology and colonial accounts. Linked to discussions of the picturesque, but also beautiful and sublime ‘darkest Africa’

– How this image has been and currently is promoted by both private and government-sponsored tourism. Equation of ‘Africa’ with animals and the ‘exotic primitive’ is even more pronounced than for most other regions.

– How have African photographers responded. Many have followed the same trend as urban outsiders in the same way as urban populations in the UK idealise the British countryside. Particularly eg South Africa. Others have been more in the documentary tradition.

– What are the implications for my own photographic practice in my work in Africa – different types of images for different markets? but what are the ethical issues.

– What difference does it make if I ask people from the communities with which I work how they would want their lives and environment to be portrayed?

Working method?

Kander: working method: he does not plan everything in advance. But uses the photographic process as a means of discovering more and more what resonates with him. He went back to China 5 times, taking fewer but more focused pictures each time.

I have started to review internet sites with ‘safari’ pictures, African photographers and my own earlier images of journey through Africa.

Tutor response

Your thoughts for your Critical Review are very interesting – looking at the safari and colonialism. In your notes, there is a lot to examine in the list of things you mention. I suggest that you might be trying to pack too much into the essay, so getting a tighter focus would be better and would allow you to enter into greater critical depth. I would suggest your essay first addresses the topic fairly broadly – proposing the problems / criticisms, and then look at an example of work that fits into the traditionally ‘problematic’ approach, followed by a critique of a practitioner who is making a ‘better’ effort – or perhaps might actually not be making as good an effort as they might think, or their critics might think.

(Sontag mentions safaris fairly near the beginning of On Photography – worth having a look.)

There is also a good book, Photography and Africa by Erin Haney which might be worth looking at

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Photography-Africa-Exposures-Erin-Haney/dp/1861893825

Further thoughts Assignment 3

My tutor thought that my first proposal is too broad (a lot of work!). Re-reading the task instructions I see the possibility of looking at and reviewing bodies of my own work. I would now like to focus much more narrowly on some of the challenges for my own practice, whether and how other photographers may have addressed them and/or any other ideas I myself could propose after this reflection. I want to focus on some issues I became interested in Assignment 2 ‘journeys’ but were left pending. Comparing the ways I might approach ‘journeys’ in UK (supposedly my ‘own’ society’) compared to the way I photograph journeys in Africa. This does raise some of the issues about ‘colonial gaze’ and travel photography in general, but I want to focus more on the challenges of photographing ‘journeys’ revisiting specific sets of images I have taken on journeys in Africa. Drawing on the way contemporary African and non-African photographers have depicted similar landscapes both as studied landscapes and as journeys/journey narratives.

The word ‘safari’ means journey in Swahili from the Arabic root ‘safar’ travel. It was used by colonial powers to refer to game hunts. This is now being changed by African governments and tour companies to refer more to eco-travel to photograph national parks, but also African tourism more generally. I travel a lot for work, but unlike professional photographers am employed to do a job. I do increasingly have opportunities to do documentary portraits – now my photography skills are better. But, like a tourist, I have fleeting opportunities to do more contextual landscape or environmental work. I have a number of series of images taken on journeys from different perspectives taken before, during and since Assignment 2. These include:

  • Journey through Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda – taken before Assignment 2 and the closest to common understandings of ‘safari’ though taken as we travelled along the main road rather than paying to go through the national park itself – the normal everyday ‘safari’.
  • Journeys to communities in Rwanda and Tanzania (3-5 series) as examples of a more documentary approach to landscape. I was with both local NGO staff and/or local drivers and had more opportunity to stop, get out and consider ‘shots’ and also to travel off the normal tourist routes and see things more from the local perspective. Including one journey with local people to select what they considered the best photo spot for a picture for a calendar they had asked me to produce. And one journey where I focused on the contrast between my transport and they way local people travelled. One other journey for Gesture and Meaning Assignment 1 I used manual focus to speed up the camera reaction time.
  • Journeys as ‘urban voyeurism’ taken from the car as I returned from rural areas back to the capital city through peri-urban areas in Kenya and Ivory Coast. Looking at how far this type of photography can say something about African urban life – compared to eg Paul Seawright’s Invisible Cities.

This review is partly a way of really taking stock of the photographs I have and how they can be made more meaningful through selection, processing and narrative sequencing. Partly a way of comparing my images to those of professional photographers who have dealt with the same types of images. In order to draw implications for possibilities for my own practice in future. The questions that really interest me in order to make the best of the opportunities I have is:

  • what can one learn from this type of ‘safari’ – are there things that one can do with the idea of journey in terms of understanding and contextualising images that cannot be done through staying and studying one place (as I am doing for example in ‘space to place’ and ‘transitions’.
  • what can these fleeting impressions on the move show? are the issues of photographing journeys in Africa necessarily different from in UK? is one necessarily any more an ‘outsider’ – in UK I am often travelling through new or forgotten places. In Africa there is always the driver to consult and I often travel with NGO staff some of whom are local. Bearing in mind much of the colonial conditioning we all have.
  • what are the implications for different approaches and different techniques? what does this mean for planning my trip?

This means getting less bound up with all the academic literature on colonialism and photography (which I started to read but seems a bit done to death) and focusing more on further investigation of ideas I had in Assignment 2 but applying these to my photography in Africa.

Tim Simmons

From Out West

website: http://www.timsimmons.co.uk

Simmons creates his nocturnal landscapes using fluorescent lamps and a range of post-production techniques. His images might be described as ‘hyper real’; they have an aesthetic that somehow seems to transcend photo-realism. They look almost artificial, like video game graphics.

Tim Simmons established a successful career within the field of motor photography. Simmons’s innovative lighting methods that brought him to the attention of advertising agencies, who wanted to place cars within his out-of-this-world landscapes.

His recent projects are more tightly cropped ‘vignettes’ or almost meditative viewpoints. Simmons locates his practice within a fine art context and has installed his images in temporary open-air exhibitions across the world, some of which, ironically, have been presented on billboards.

See: http://www.timsimmons.co.uk/showkase/ulp-billboards-2011/

Luc Delahaye

!!To be done

Luc Delahaye (born France 1962) also describes history painting as a point of reference to his practice, although his process is very different to Wall’s. Delahaye, whose earlier career was in photojournalism, continues to make work around current, ‘newsworthy’ stories across the globe. Throughout his ongoing History series, Delahaye has attended political ceremonies and meetings, as well as recent and current war zones. Instead of using high-end digital equipment
and hurrying to transmit his images to agencies before his competitors in the field, Delahaye uses large format analogue cameras to make large-scale gallery prints. His approach goes very much against the grain of modern photojournalism. While his images are not typically as sparse of people as the work of ‘late photographers’ working with similar equipment, they all have the
presence and communicate the gravitas of the scenarios he depicts. Unlike photojournalism, there is no conspicuous attempt to reveal a ‘decisive moment’. Delahaye photographs at a discrete, but not disengaged, distance:
“As Delahaye points out, his pictures highlight ‘the insignificance of my
own position.’ They also entail a reversal of the history paintings they
call upon, where the grandeur, spectacle and glory of war and figures
of power were celebrated. There is little that is glorious here. Instead, his
views show up the scale of things, very often putting them in perspective.”
(Mark Durden ‘Global Documentary’ (2005) in Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2005. London: The Photographers’ Gallery, p.13)

Mishka Henner

No Man’s Land (2011) by Mishka Henner is one body of work that has faced particularly hostile criticism. In his series of Street View images, Henner has singled out prostitutes soliciting clients along the sides of roads on the outskirts of cities in Italy and Spain, which Google’s cameras have happened to pick up. The work also exists as a video, which animates the action of a driver appearing to ‘hone in’ and turn their head towards the women as he drives past them. Although Henner reconstructs a view from within the driving seat and passes this experience on to the viewer, he was not the actual driver. Those who interpret Henner’s images as exploitative and
voyeuristic overlook the point that through this work he draws to our attention the relentless, indiscriminate and inescapable eye of the Street View camera, and the power that is wielded by Google. The title of the work refers to the irony that, despite these women’s apparent wish to attract men, there are no men to be found within Henner’s views. But there is surely also a reference to ideas about territory and ownership, which is perhaps infringed upon by the Street View camera.

Lee Friedlander

Lee Friedlander (born July 14, 1934) is an American photographer and artist. Friedlander studied photography at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he moved to New York City where he photographed jazzmusicians for record covers. In 1960, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Friedlander a grant to focus on his art and made subsequent grants in 1962 and 1977.

1960s and 70s: black and white social landscape

His early work was influenced by Eugène Atget, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans.

Working primarily with Leica 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander evolved an influential and often imitated visual language of urban “social landscape,” with many of the photographs including fragments of store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, posters and street-signs.

He also experimented with use of his own shadow as an extra element in the image – giving many of them a more haunted eerie feel of an obvious onlooker to the scene.

1960s social landscape images

1970s images

In 1963, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House mounted Friedlander’s first solo museum show. Friedlander was then a key figure in curator John Szarkowski‘s 1967 “New Documents” exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus. In 1973, his work was honored in Rencontres d’Arles festival (France) with the screening “Soirée américaine : Judy Dater, Jack Welpott, Jerry Uelsmann, Lee Friedlander” présentée par Jean-Claude Lemagny.

1980s – present

Friedlander now works primarily with medium format cameras (e.g. Hasselblad Superwide). While suffering from arthritis and housebound, he focused on photographing his surroundings. His book, Stems, reflects his life during the time of his knee replacement surgery. He has said that his “limbs” reminded him of plant stems. These images display textures which were not a feature of his earlier work. In this sense, the images are similar to those of Josef Sudek who also photographed the confines of his home and studio.

Stems Images

Some of his most famous photographs appeared in the September 1985 Playboy, black and white nude photographs of Madonna from the late 1970s. A student at the time, she was paid only $25 for her 1979 set. In 2009, one of the images fetched $37,500 at a Christie’s Art House auction.

In 1990, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Friedlander a MacArthur Fellowship.

He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003. In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of Friedlander’s career, including nearly 400 photographs from the 1950s to the present. In the same year he received a Hasselblad International Award. The retrospective exhibition was presented again in 2008 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

Lee Friedlander monograph America by Car (2010)

Images

All the images in the series are taken from the driver’s point of view, incorporating into the viewfinder all of the familiar architecture of the cockpit (dashboard, rear-view mirror, views from side windows and wing mirrors and so on). This claustrophobia presents an American landscape at odds with the car and its driver; the windscreen forms a barrier between the individual and the landscape beyond. The car can only take you so far into the wilderness. The vast majority of the images in Friedlander’s book were made after 2001, and several images hint towards the international concerns of the past decade and beyond. The road – or, rather, whatever passing motorists will notice – is where political voices are articulated in loud, upper case letters: “WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”, declares Little Millers diner in Alaska (p. 89). A campaign vehicle covered with pro-Obama stickers (p.104) is a prime example of using a vehicle as a legitimate extension of ideology and identity. [See Martin Parr’s From A to B (1994)].

Endless gas stations, a ubiquitous motif of the road trip narrative, inevitably contribute to the collection.

Concurrent to this retrospective, a more contemporary body of his work, America By Car, was displayed at the Fraenkel Gallery not far from SFMOMA. “America By Car” was on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in late 2010.

Mark Power

26 Different Endings by Mark Power often employs a specific strategy to take him to particular locations and make photographs. This series began as a response to the once ubiquitous – but perhaps soon to be a thing of the past – A–Z London Street Atlas. Power describes the work as a ‘system of edges’ and a tribute to the ‘unfortunate places’ that are excluded from the current version of the street atlas, which is an arbitrary decision taken by somebody from year to year. Power obviously had an infinite number of potential views to choose from each page, spreading outwards from the map’s edges, and his photographic responses to the places that he arrived at were of course subjective.

Landscape and the City

!!To be developed with documentary

Since the very beginning of photography, the city has provided opportunities for the photographer: landscape and other subject matter.

Detachment

Daguerre’s. ‘View boulevard du temple’. First example of photograph of a person. Only rendered because he must have remained relatively still to have his shoes shined.

Talbot’s views of Paris.

“The images of Paris remain passive and mute, and establish not so much the tourist eye-view, hungry for sights to record, as one that was looking for things to record… his London images, for example Nelson’s Column (1843), keep the city at a distance and follow the eye in its way within the urban world.”
(Clarke, 1997, p.77)

Eugene Atget

Social documentary

John Thomson Street Life in London

Jacob Riis How the other half lives.

Brassai

Cities within cities

A recurring line of investigation is that of the city, not just as one complete interconnecting  unit, but layers of different cities within cities. Sometimes these elements are briefly exposed to one another, but often they are designed to restrain their inhabitants from uncomfortable contact with each other. Eg film In Time.

Paul Seawright.    Invisible Cities.

 

1.9: Visual research and analysis – social contrasts