16/09/17 Time Out

I want to take a couple of minutes to write this out, more for my own record than of anything else.

It’s about change. Change in me and how I look feel and respond to images. There are times when I listen to classical music that all I can hear is the technical prowess of the player, Beethoven is a good example of this. Sometimes his music sounds like a technical exercise and the music gets lost behind the intricate playing of the instrument, typically a piano, and, while this is good for someone who relishes the ability to play the emotion behind the music gets lost.

So when in the past I looked at some images they may feel very well taken and exposed technically perfect but lacking in anything that grabbed me. However, over the past few weeks, I have noticed a distinct change in this pattern.

I have the thought that this may, in part, be a response to looking at more images and more detail within the image, understanding some of the theory behind it, moving away from single “impact images” not trying so hard to create something, taking time, could be any one of these or a combination of all of these factors, or it could be something else entirely different, what I am aware of is that to understand these image we have to ask questions of them. They are my questions not what someone else says but with enough goading I can see where some of the other commentators come from, although I do find some of their writing a little over the top and not really reflecting on the images. A case in point would be with Soth and the comments by Anne Wilks Tucker, regardless of this, however, it is a quantum shift in what I see and how I relate to them. I have always been aware of the messages and stories I have to get out now I understand a little clearer the idea of concept and the small building block within an image that allow a viewer to look at the image their eyes wander around it while they build up their own picture within the one I have created, form their own questions and responses rather than trying to give them all the entire story in one go. I am not even sure that last point is possible.

Like good music, the viewer has to have space to move and ponder the image, create their own stories and relate to it in their own way. This is true of documentary, where it is easier to transmit exactly what is going on, to abstract where the spaces have to be huge but with an underlying theme.

What does this piece of music mean to you



15/09/17 Sleeping By The Mississippi

Some time ago I looked at these images and just wondered why they were there. Why were they so good. This thought crosses my mind on a number of occasions. I could not see the logical link between the Mississippi and the images that I saw. I was expecting the Mississippi.

However, on this viewing, I saw something different. I saw the stream of the river running through peoples lives. How they lived their lives. The images were only loosely connected to the river it was more of an investigation of those people that dwelt alongside the river. The property they lived in. What they did with their time. The images became a story of that time and place and the people in it.

It gives us a sense of place from the motorhome with insulation wrapped around it to the discarded mattress, is this what America is really like? Do the people really live like that? or am I just putting my own set of values onto the images rather than accepting them.

I also find my self-asking what are these people like? Are they happy where they are, can they see a way out? do they want to? I can see them all living around that same area being born, growing up, meeting partners, having their own children, and dying all in time with the soft flow of the river.

The images on Soths web site can be found here




10/09/17 Exercise 5.2 Everything You can see

Choose a viewpoint, perhaps looking out of a window or a cafe in the central square, and write down everything you can see no matter how boring it seems or how detailed, just write it down.

Having spent the morning inside I decided to walk into the local town and sat on the quay next to the river for 45 minutes and compiled the following list. There is no particular order just what I saw,

Chapel bridge, Chapel, Riverview House, New Flats, Blue Boat, White Boat,ThandarBuilding, Jetties, Trees, Bushes, Lock Weir, Bypass Bridge, Willow Tree, Field,Bungalow, Masonic Lodge, Jetty for Electric Boat, Flags, Signs, Litterbins, chairs, people, Roofs, Roofing Tikes, Windows, Curtains,Tarpaulins, Tyes On Ropes,Small tender, Archway, Buoys,Boat with Green top, Life saving rings, Steps to river, Seagulls, Ducks, Swans, benches, Apple,Hats, Coats,Long brown hair, Water, Waves,Sky, Clouds, Mooring Bollards,Drain cover, Drain, Leafs, Pigeons, ConcretePavoir bricks, Lines, Green, Blue, Red, Yellow, Brown, Grey, Weather Vane,Doors, Flowers, Balconies, Push Bike, Green Boatf, Reflections, Hanging Baskets,Padlock, Ugg Boots,Skirt, Black Tights, Jeans, Grey Jumper, Wind on Water, Movement in trees, Lollipop Stick, Litter, Flower petals, Restaurant, Water faucet, Dog, Dog Lead, Street light, Wings, Feathers, Bills, Eyes , Legs, Black shoes,Couple laughing, Chimney, Chimney pot, Ripples on Water, Children, Bread, Someone feeding the ducks, Flying Gulls, Hi Vis Coat, Cyclists, Stone bench, pergola, Girl Luaging, Coot, Cygnet, Wind blowing the flags, Water Butt, Flood Lights, Wooden Chairs, Lead in windows, Child sitting on side of river, Chimenea,Plant Pots, TV Aerials, Car, Reeds, Brambles,Old railway bridge, Plastic Chair,Blue bag, Floating feathers, Directional signs, River Height markings,Canopy, Coffee cup on sign, Rope, Roof box on Car, Blue plant pots, man Eating, Push Chair, Silver Mudguard, Nuts and Bolts, Screws, Ornate Mouldings, Nobile Phone, Cigarette, Cigarette stub, Plastic Drain, Bricks in wall, Concrete wall, Stone Blocks, Dormer windows, Rendered side of House, Front of house, Roses, Red Climbing Plant,  Micro Scooter, Sandwich, Iron Railings, Decorative ridge tiles, Outboard Motor, Blue fenders, White fenders,Chains, Brass Door Handles,Wooden steps, Water Butt, Red light, Small Buggy, Pink Shoes, Orange top, Glasses, Black Coat, yellow bag, Yellow Coat, Blue Socks.

In terms of putting this into a photograph, it would be possible, there are a lot of aspects to cover so, it may be worth thinking in terms of  breaking these down into specific areas, The river, steet, wildlife, architecture, absract, depending on which aspect you concentrated on would determine the equipment used, For street and small hand held camera would be good. For the architecture might have a tripod with a tilt and shift lens. It would also depend on the sort of thing / mood you were looking to create as well.

I think I were doing this I might look at a longer term project spanning several months and just take images of people using the quay. I suspect I would set up in one position and go back constantly so people would get used to seeing me there, that way I could document the life of the quay. This could be at different times of the day so I could get the full range of activities.  Not a great fan of tripods so probably would not use one until it became difficult to hand hold. (Note to this, I do use a tripod on landscape work)

One of the key aspects would be reducing the clutter that is on the quay in terms of benches and other road furniture, not sure about colour or black and white it might be a mixture although I am aware the series of images work best in one or the other.

Would  nott include a list as the final project would be a development of the initial list made, I do not think it would add anything to the project as it would be in the artists statement that I produce to explain what the series is about.


10/09/17 Reflection point

I thought I had done this but apparently not.

How often do you see people walking and reading their texts or on the train and reading their tablet rather than enjoying the view? What are they missing?

One of the biggest issues to me that has come up recently is people with mobile phones at concerts. They stand and record the concert watching the performers through their screen rather than the stage. They are not seeing the performance they are seeing a snapshot of this. They are missing something else on the stage. not to mention upsetting the performers.

The issue I have with smartphones and tablets is exactly one of this missing out. Put simply we live in a marvellous world with stuff all around us and the instant communication we have with friends relatives and others remove us from this world. It makes us more insular. Our lives become our technology.

As I drive I point stuff out to my wife. The birds of prey that hover by the roadside, interesting buildings while she sits and tries to see once she has pulled herself away from her phone. I find this absence of thought for the world outside of the device frustrating because we do, they do, miss so much of the world they are in.

It is not so much a case of what are they missing, but why do they find the latest posting from someone more interesting than where they are. What are they missing? The world, in all its glorious beauty shape and form. They are missing life.

10/09/17 Robert Frank Stephen Shore

I have discussed Robert Frank and the work Americans in other parts of this blog.

I obtained the work Uncommon places by Shore it arrived 2 days ago, I have had a brief look through it and find the images inside intriguing they were taken in the early to mid 70″s a time that I remember well. What struck me is how the USA is structured around cars. Big roads. The images had a feel of run down in them but I suppose that was the same in the UK as well.

The images are of ordinary places, the sort of place you would not expect to see in images, certainly not eye candy, but day to day life within places that do not normally get seen, hence the title. Hotel rooms and parking lots in one of the parking lots I counted 15 VW beetles, a very popular car.

In one aspect, looking at it now it is a sign of how far we have come from that time on the other it is a sign of how far we have not come. There are still deprived areas in both the USA and UK and the images in this book only serve to highlight these areas.

They make me feel a little sad that we have not come further.

Having been influenced by Warhol and how he worked everything in Shores images is an intentional decision. The placement of items within the frames. this changed further when he started using a 4 x 5 and then an 8 x 10 he was able to see all the components within the frame more clearly and see what effect each item was having in the others within the frame to complete a whole image.

I know that Shore is often compared with Frank and Evans. The Frank comparison I don’t really understand. Franks images were more of a divided nation and were the first to show the true disunity and “gritty” nature of the USA, they showed a dysfunctional nation. Shores work shows how that dysfunction has somewhat come together. The growing pains of a nation is how I would best describe it.

The course notes suggest that we may not recognise the places when considered as a whole work. I think that this may be a little dated. We are bombarded with American culture from films to ads, in some of the films we get to see these images.

They are not clean and structured as Walls film set style images but they are not supposed to be, This comes from Shores more documentary beginnings.


Shore Stephen Uncommon places the complete works



09/09/17 Robert harding PItman.

Born to a German mother and American father Pitman gained an MFA from California Institute of arts. In 1998 he began documenting urban sprawl. This sprawl was seen to be like the urban sprawl in the USA and has since spread world wide. With a growing population, they spring up as a green area and similar housing the world over, as a blight on the landscape.

In the same way that we can see, there is a uniformity of politicians these days we can see there is a uniformity of architecture and in methods of construction.

I see the properties within these images as being soulless boxes built to a need for housing. No character for the fore seeable future they would equally be at home in  Pickering’s public order series. The other aspect of this is the use of land and how these developments impact both on the local culture and infrastructure. In the town where I live we are faced with a huge development which would put an unnecessary burden on the local road which would not be upgraded. We are essentially a dormitory town for London and i expect a huge renage of similar houses being built squashe dinto ever decreasing space.