Tag Archives: Part Four: Photography

Project 2: It’s about time ~ Exercise 1 Photographs of Movement

In the first post based on this exercise I wrote about some professional photographers work capturing movement. I’ve been doing my best to have a go at capturing some shots of movement or motion using my own camera across the past few weeks.

I’ll be honest the results aren’t spectacular, they reveal that I am still very much learning about practical photography. But it was fun to give these tasks a go, and I learnt more about my camera, ways to use it as I went.

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Project 3: Exercise 2 ~ Holiday Photos

This exercise asks us to focus on Holiday photos, specifically the motivation for taking them, the extent to which we considered;lighting, viewpoint and composition. It also asks us to pick out examples of images which are more than just a record of place, things that take us back to that moment. To consider what makes these images special.

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Project 3: A sense of place – Ian Berry’s photographs

Project 3 considers place through the medium of landscape photography. Beginning with considering a series of photographs taken in Whitby, Yorkshire in 1974 by Ian Berry.

Asked to consider: Imagine the same images without the people. How would this affect your sense of Whitby as a place?

England. Whitby. A sunny Sunday afternoon brings tourists and residents on to the hill overlooking Whitby harbour to relax and dream. 1974, Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum photos.

England. Whitby. A sunny Sunday afternoon brings tourists and residents on to the hill overlooking Whitby harbor to relax and dream. 1974, Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum photos.

In the image left there’s a sense of parallel between the large numbers of people compactly filling an area and the density of the houses below them. In a strange way they compliment each other, I think without the people there the houses would look a little redundant. Having the seated man and woman laying in the grass in the foreground allows the eye to gradually move further into the image and take in the detail bit by bit.

 

 

If there were no people in the above image the scene could be interpreted differently, Whitby might appear to be an abandoned or poor seaside town, rather than a popular tourist spot.

G.B. ENGLAND. Yorkshire. Whitby. 1974. Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum Photos

G.B. ENGLAND. Yorkshire. Whitby. 1974. Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum Photos

The photograph left, I think would be very different without people in the frame. The man in the foreground, helps with a sense of perspective, and the figures seen walking behind him give the impression that it might be a place people regularly pass through. Without these figures, the eye would probably be drawn to the ruins or remains of the church or building in the right hand corner of the image. The church and the gravestones alone would give a more somber perhaps even, Gothic tone to the scene, enhancing any sense of loneliness inferred by the absence of human figures.

G.B. ENGLAND. Yorkshire. Whitby. 1974. Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum Photos.

G.B. ENGLAND. Yorkshire. Whitby. 1974. Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum Photos.

I think the scene left relies heavily on the figures within it. The catch of fish in the foreground adds a non human interest or focal point, but really my eye is drawn to the figure towards the background of the image, who is semi framed between the two moving figures. Given the nature of the subject of the piece, fishermen working, the absence of people here could imply a struggling industry, lack of work, an area of hit by economic hardship.

 

 

 

 

G.B. ENGLAND. North Yorkshire. A couple hold a discussion whilst paddling in Whitby. 1974. Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum Photos.

G.B. ENGLAND. North Yorkshire. A couple hold a discussion whilst paddling in Whitby. 1974. Copyright: Ian Berry/Magnum Photos.

I think this photograph might be the most stark of the images, if the people were removed from the image. The dominant focal point without the people is clearly the edge of the pier or walkway in the top right hand corner. As it is the figures in the foreground and the dark peer in the background seem to contend for attention – perhaps because of the darkness of the peer it stands out, the figures are softer in comparison.

Perhaps the photography would appear more like  a tourist snapshot or a token photograph as without the figures the peer becomes the focal point – which might be more of a tourist landmark. In such a scenario Whitby becomes seen as a tourist destination rather than a place where people live their lives, work against the backdrop of the sea.

 

 

What is the effect of an absence of familiar subjects in Jesse Alexanders, Cathedral Box Freestone Quarry, Wiltshire, 2008, from Threshold Zone?

For me the most dramatic effect here is the sense of endlessness, you don’t know how far the drop is, are we looking at a steep drop or a shallow one, there’s no familiar object to gauge depth or distance from. There’s also the effect of the isolation, even entrapment, partly I think this is due to the darkness in most of the photograph, but also because there’s very little visible matter to guess where we are looking at. Obviously the name suggests a quarry or building, but we can’t see the sides of the building, any walls, there’s no framework to come to any conclusions about the construction, just rubble. The absence also of a visible skyline I think also adds to the sense of disorientation. We get a sense of where we are partly from looking up,the sky is such a huge part of everyday frame work, having it removed is confusing. The ground is also in darkness too, another familiar point of reference, we can’t see where the photographers feet are, are they stood in a cave, are they on solid ground, the effect here is a sense of uncertainty and questioning. These are my thoughts before reading the caption in the workbook, we’ll see if my thoughts make any sense!

Exercise 4: Reflections on Photography and time.

Reflecting on interplay between Photography and time:

Is the photography simply providing an authentic record of the artwork – photography as evidence – or is it part of the artwork itself? 

There seem to be a range of interactions with and use of Photography in regard to Land art. In the case of the different artists researched over this project, their approaches sometime differ. For that reason I’ll reflect on their different approaches by referencing particular works of art which are captured through photographs or are contained within the photograph’s themselves.

Northern France/Southern England 1977 Hamish Fulton born 1946 Purchased 1979 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07350

Northern France/Southern England 1977 Hamish Fulton born 1946 Purchased 1979 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07350

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above piece, Nothern France/Southern England , by Fulton is I think an example of photography as artwork. I may be wrong but it seems strange to go to the effort of printing it professionally and mounting it for display in a gallery if it’s not actually the art work. Fulton’s work is often concerned with walking, and he has been said to have considered the walk art work in itself. But here I think the physical presence of the photographs in an exhibition must be evidence of the artist considering the photographs as an art form.

Andy Goldsworthy, Japanese maple/leaves stiched togehter to make a foating chain/the next day it became a hole supported underneath by a woven briar ring, Ouchiyama-Mura, Japan (1987)

Andy Goldsworthy, Japanese maple/leaves stitched together to make a floating chain/the next day it became a hole supported underneath by a woven briar ring, Ouchiyama-Mura, Japan (1987)

The piece opposite, Japanese Maple Leaves, by Andy Goldsworthy, is a complex example. On the one hand Goldsworthy’s work is known for being ephemeral, he deliberately seems to create works in nature that are fragile and will last temporarily. Knowing that makes me think that he considers the physical piece the art work, and the Photograph as a form of documentation. But from my perspective the photograph is my only way of accessing the artwork, for the viewer that is the artwork because we can’t go and see that piece in situ, it simply wont be there.

 

 

 

A Line Made by Walking 1967 Richard Long born 1945 Purchased 1976 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07149

A Line Made by Walking 1967 Richard Long born 1945 Purchased 1976 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07149

Another example of Photography as evidence is Richard Longs, A Line Made by Walking, a piece so fragile and tied to the landscape it can only be fully seen through a photograph. But in my research, I discovered Long had a process of shifting from seeing Photography as a documentation tool to seeing it as an art work itself. I’m not sure which pieces he would consider as evidence of this shift, but I know it happened over the 1960’s/1970’s.

For artworks which are temporary, in exhibition spaces, or the natural world, the taking of a photograph seems to be used by Long as an extension of the artwork. I’m thinking of one of his more recent sculptures in the Tate; Cornish Slate Eclipse (see image below).

 

Cornish Slate Ellipse 2009 Richard Long born 1945 ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/AR00703

Cornish Slate Ellipse 2009 Richard Long born 1945 ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/AR00703

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keith Arnatt’s, Self Burial (see image below), is a bit of a crossover between art and documentation. Clearly the piece documents an unfolding event or process. It captures the artist disappearing frame by frame. The pictures were subsequently inserted as individual pictures interrupting a normal television broadcast of WDR a German Television station. The pictures disrupted programmes, twice a day from the 11th of October 1969.

In a commentary on the piece written in the; The Tate Gallery Report 1972-1974 , [accessed 2/06/2016]. Arnatt clearly saw the photographs as integral to the piece, ‘the ‘burial’ was done in order to arrive at the photographic sequence – the photographs are not merely a record’. Of their latter use in television the Artist said ‘Self burial was not conceived with television in mind. Nor did the artist have a particular exhibition in view’.

Arnatt later in the piece seems to point to the photographs having dual purpose by saying that ‘it was intended that the photographs that the photo- graphs should convey the impression that something was happening to me, they really record— stage by stage— the product of a quite elaborate, uncomfortable and lengthy behaviour pattern.’ His interest was in capturing a physical act and the photography was a part of documenting that whilst simultaneously becoming the artwork itself.

 

Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969 Keith Arnatt 1930-2008 Presented by Westdeutsches Fernsehen 1973 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01747

Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969 Keith Arnatt 1930-2008 Presented by Westdeutsches Fernsehen 1973 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01747

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll leave my thoughts here, and move on to the next section…