Blog Archive

20 10 2020

Lewis Bush

For this writing commission Lewis Bush looked at the way in which Covid-19 reveals several very significant limitations in the way most photographers think about the medium and what it can and should do. One of these being the idea that proximity produces insight and also the notion that showing something goes any way towards explaining its causes and consequences.

His new writing looks at the visual tropes emerging in the converge of the pandemic and these ideas and highlights what we can and should learn from this crisis as photographers.

Invisible Chains: Photography’s Ingrained Assumptions
by Lewis Bush

In his allegory of the cave, Plato describes a group of prisoners living their entire lives chained in the darkness. Shadowy outlines play on rocky walls, providing the prisoners with their only sense of reality, and they remain entirely unaware of the world outside which created these flickering forms. For Plato, a philosopher was someone who broke their chains and departed from the cave forever.

Whenever photography has been a witness to a prolonged and major news event, it has tended to generate a set of visual motifs specific to that story. The global ‘war on terror’ for example gave us the ever-repeating tropes of the aftermaths of terrorist attacks, soldiers enshrouded in clouds of sand and dust, hooded figures kneeling in orange, flag draped coffins, and so on. The creation of these tropes was evidently the result of many factors, choices and filters,[1] but two were particularly important amongst them. One was the specific visual aspects of that conflict, for example it’s locales, belligerents and tactics, and the other one was the particular possibilities for photography in the context of the event, possibilities partly dictated by specific practices like the military system of journalistic embedding and the intentional targeting of journalists by insurgent groups. The images that define the ‘war on terror’ were, in other words, as much a representation of what was photographically possible, as they were the a matter of the best way of visually representing, much less explaining, the subject that was being recorded.

Continue reading here

Read more about the writer here

www.lewisbush.com

Image Credit: Saving the World in 1944 / Saving the World in 2020

20 10 2020

Jamila Prowse

For this writing commission Jamila Prowse asks the question – In these isolating, politically rife times how can photography and moving image be used as a source of hope, as a way of collectivising Black communities, as a way to hold each other digitally and create space for both each other and ourselves? Her new essay analyses theories around the rifeness of images of Anti-black violence, situating the creation of images of Black joy and abundance within this context as a way to question how Black artists envision and imagine new potentialities for a world in which Black lives are not only valued but celebrated.

Moving towards rupture, resistance, and refusal in Black moving image works
by Jamila Prowse

On 25th May 2020 a forty-six year-old man by the name of George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. The graphic video showing the moment Floyd’s life was taken from him was subsequently shared online, sparking a resurgence in public support for the Black Lives Matter movement. What the video reveals is something that is maddening and heartbreaking, but unsurprising to Black communities the world over: what Tina Campt terms the ‘statistical probability of Black death’. The viral quality of the video documenting George Floyd’s murder exposes that Black people are not afforded sanctity in life nor in death. For many, the denial and avoidance of the positioning of Black people throughout the world was brought to a head. Here, along with the racially motivated killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah Milton and countless others during 2020 and beyond, provided stark and undeniable evidence of the devaluing and disposability of Black life. Yet, this is a lived reality which cannot be denied, buried or avoided for Black communities.

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Read more about the writer here

www.jamilaprowse.onfabrik.com

Photo Credit:  ‘TAKE UR FOOT OFF MY NECK’ video (still) by Kai Isaiah Jamal

19 10 2020

Anneka French

For this writing commission Anneka French has used the phrase ‘I am reaching out to you’ as its title and starting point . The text is a blend of critical reflection, and creative fictional and autobiographical writing. The critical element of her text analyses photographic works by Carrie Mae Weems and Elinor Carucci and reflects on a selection of intimate and domestic from Weems’ ‘Family Pictures and Stories’ (1981-2) and ‘The Kitchen Table Series’ (1990), alongside Carucci’s ‘Closer’ (1990s-2000s) series.

The research and text resonates during the Covid crisis as it is a multi layered meditation on the pandemic period as the writer has experienced it, from an acknowledged place of personal privilege, from home and through photographs. The text is interwoven with memories, new poems and diary- like entries and is a commentary on isolation, intimacy, parenthood, domesticity and family.

Read more about the writer here

www.annekafrench.wordpress.com

Image Credit: I am reaching out to you, Anneka French

13 10 2020

Anna Souter

For this writing commission, Anna Souter produced a new piece of creative fiction which explores the relationship between light and dark in photography and the lives of plants. It follows a photographer who turns to her garden for inspiration during quarantine.

Photosynthesis
by Anna Souter

Ayra wakes to another day of shielding. It’s hot even though it’s still early. She gets up to pour herself a glass of water and the morning sunlight gleams on the dirty glass. She talks to herself as she puts in her contact lenses. She’s not sure why she doesn’t just wear her glasses when there’s no one there to see her.

Here we go again, she says.

Her reflection stares back at her, its shadowed contours made unfamiliar by the harsh shaving light above the mirror. There are no windows in the bathroom, so she’s turned it into a makeshift darkroom, swapping out the old yellow lightbulb for a red one. There’s a roll of masking tape on top of the toilet cistern for sealing the door later. She takes one small white pill from the packet under the sink. The foil is labelled with the days of the week, an edible diary.

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Read more about the writer here

www.annasouter.net

Image Credit: Quarantine Herbarium, Alice Mahoney

13 07 2020

Andrea G Artz

Andrea G Artz is an artist that pushes the boundaries of photography into sculptural forms and moving image. Her commissioned work focusses on travel after Covid, those who need to travel by public transport for their work and families, and the situations they find themselves in emotionally and environmentally as they attempt to travel safely.  Andrea makes sculptural forms from her photographs of people, collects audio and uses sound and animation to invite the viewer to understand the photographic image in a contemporary setting such as virtual realities.

Pandemia to Pandemia
by Andrea G Artz

Artist Statement here

Read more about the artist here

www.andreagartz.co.uk

Image Credit: Andrea G Artz

13 07 2020

Lydia Goldblatt

Lydia Goldblatt considers themes of origins, transience and emotional experience. Her quietly powerful and beautifully crafted prints creatively fuse the approaches of both documentary and constructed photography. Tenderly observed portraits and details of the human form are combined with enigmatic still lifes and abstract constructions suggestive of elemental forces. Her work for this commission entitled Fugue, made during and post lockdown, focuses on the family, private and close public spaces and intimacy as she looks at questions of mothering, community, love, loss and time. The work is made in the family home, the community of nearby streets and shot on film. The work shown is an extract from a larger body of work.

Fugue
by Lydia Goldblatt

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Artist Statement here

Read more about the artist here

www.lydiagoldblatt.com

Image Credit: Lydia Goldblatt

13 07 2020

Jaskirt Boora

Jaskirt Boora is a British Indian photographer based in Birmingham. She is interested in the
representation of gender, ethnicity and place. She has made work documenting her family life and
community during Covid 19 focusing on themes of togetherness and how communities have come
together to offer support and Care. The work includes audio and text and is shot on film.

Birmingham Lockdown Stories
by Jaskirt Boora

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13 07 2020

Chris Hoare

Chris Hoare photographed the undervalued workforces that kept our society going, not those that were applauded from doorsteps, but those that went unnoticed focusing on the street cleaners. Through the act of photographing, this body of work sets out to shine a rare spotlight on this overlooked workforce, in the hope that those who view the work will adjust the value they place upon these unsung heroes, those that wear PPE and high vis and keep our cities and streets clean during a pandemic.

Street Cleaners
by Chris Hoare

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Artist Statement here

Read more about the artist here

www.chrishoare.org

Image Credit: Chris Hoare.

13 07 2020

Daniel Dale

Daniel Dale is an artist and publisher based in Bristol. Much of his work is made on the theme of ‘happiness’. During and post lockdown Daniel created HAPPINESS’ as an online project that explores individual happiness through a publicly sourced photo collection. He invited people to upload images that represent their idea of happiness testing if happiness may have changed and if we found more importance in the smaller things during the crisis. The collection of photographs may not explicitly answer these questions but invites us to consider and re-evaluate to understand what makes us happy.

HAPPINESS
by Dan Dale

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www.whatishappiness.co.uk

Artist Statement here

Read more about the artist here

www.danieldale.co.uk

13 07 2020

Freddy Griffiths

Freddy Griffiths is an artist working with and around photography, using the photographic image to further non-hierarchical methodologies in contemporary art and everyday scenarios. His ongoing exploration has resulted in the formation of a photographic archive. For this opportunity Freddy made a short film using still images from his archive. The film deals with the economic fallout of Covid-19, focussing on perceived notions of a populous ‘addicted to furlough’, as coined by a leak from Whitehall to The Times.

A Slippery Slope
by Freddy Griffiths

Artist Statement here

Film Transcript here

Read more about the artist here


www.freddygriffiths.com

Image Credit: Freddy Griffiths


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