Banned … A detail from Isis Threaten Sylvania by the artist Mimsy. From the Guardian website
Artwork showing Sylvanian Families terrorised by Isis banned from free speech exhibitionIsis Threaten Sylvania by the artist Mimsy is removed from Passion for Freedom exhibition at London’s Mall Galleries, after police raise security concerns.Visitors to a London exhibition celebrating freedom of expression this week found plenty of familiar taboo-busting work, from Jamie McCartney’s The Great Wall of Vagina, an eight-foot long cast featuring the genitals of 400 women, to Kubra Khademi’s video of an eight-minute walk she made through Kabul in Afganistan, dressed in lushly contoured body armour. But they will have looked in vain for one work detailed in the catalogue by an artist known only as Mimsy.
Wolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jun 2014
Wolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [composite]
For me, it feels like it's trying to be something it's not meant to be, or at least that it's trying to be something that I hadn't originally envisaged. I don't feel drawn to this at all. Perhaps this is because I've seen it a number of times, notably with the recent centenary remembrance of WW1, when historical images were layered onto modern images from GSV - I think this was on the Guardian website but I can't be sure and haven't gone back to check. Shore's image also feels lost in there, as it obfuscates the GSV image. All a bit messy I fear (not that I'm adverse to removing information, it's one of the things that drew me to Provoke).
Where to go then?
I recently started (re)reading Land Matters: Landscape, Photography, Culture and Identity by Liz Wells with the hope that it will inform my next trip over to France and the photography I make there for Le loup.... However, there was a quote at the head of chapter 5 from Lucy Lippard that went as follows:
Photographs are about memory - or perhaps about the absence of memory, providing pictures to fill voids, illustrating and sometimes falsifying our collective memory.
Wolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [void]
The immediate question now gets raised: "What is missing? What are we not allowed to see?" There's a niggle there. Will anyone recognise this hole is the size and position of Shore's image? I would doubt it. Other than in my choice of series name (assuming I keep it as it is), there is no obvious link.
Does the opposite image add anything?
Wolf Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [un-void]
Would these images make sense as a diptych? Is there any point in doing this? I really don't know... I suppose it brings back the lost information. Does it need to? Something to think about, to deliberate over...
Something else to consider will be the extent of what I can capture from GSV, this image was fairly straight forward in that it was approximately the same angle, etc. - the GSV image is taken from a similar (although not the same) location. This will not be the case with all of them. It shouldn't be a major cause for concern, but it's a factor.
Should the Shore rectangle be in the middle of the image? Purist design aesthetics might want to push in that direction, but does it being off-centre "do" anything?
I'll let this sit in my head for a while before I make any decisions on it.
Morris, E. 2011. Believing is Seeing (observations on the mysteries of photography). New York. The Penguin Press.
Wells, L. 2011. Land Matters: landscape photography, culture and identity. London. IB Tauris & Co Ltd
A: In what ways do you think your work interacts with and redefines the common spaces that you depict, particularly in abandoned spaces such as motels and strip malls?JB: Many of the motels I’ve chosen to photograph—older building stock representing the remnants of 1950s two-lane road culture—have seen better days. Instead of being overnight housing for a vacationing family as they once were, they are now sites of prostitution, drug dealing, or temporary shelter for society’s marginalised: the near-homeless, single mothers with children on government aid, or disabled veterans who are under-employed. This scenario is far from the road-trip ideal depicted in those happy road movies from the 1950s and 60s. These images, made in the late 1980 / early 1990s, don’t reflect the optimism of that prior era, but rather speak more about the failure of expectations, and the slow demise of “the dream” where something has gone awry (see Motel Drive, Fresno, 1992; Highway 395, Inyokern, California 1989; Moab, Utah 1992).Another motel image in the exhibition (Incursion V, Green River, Wyoming, 2014) deals with an entirely different issue: corporate America’s subjugation of the landscape and disregard for natural beauty. In this case a Hampton Inn gets built adjacent to historic landforms that once guided 19th century pioneering Americans travelling along the Oregon Trail. This aesthetic despoiling of the countryside is troubling to me. Instead of being sites of community, which the original developers hailed them as, we find alienated shoppers seeking solace by buying more “stuff” amidst a backdrop of stultifying, homogenous architecture, fluorescent lights, and garish display (see Franchised Landscapes #10, #20, #26, and Wal-Mart At Night). Hopefully my photographs highlight the discrepancies between diaphanous myth and concrete reality.
Images from osiris.co.jp
Vartanian, I. Kenekom, R. 2009. Japanese photobooks of the 1960s and ‘70s. New York. Aperture Foundation.
According to his online biography, artist Brandon Seidler grew up in a part of New Jersey "where the ocean and the mountains met," a place that taught him to see the beauty in imperfections. These days, those early imperfections take center stage in Seidler's career as a photographer. His hallucinatory series, "Impure," features landscapes that appear to be ripped straight from a vintage science-fiction film, with colors and shapes blending in ways both creepily familiar and altogether alien. But sci-fi they are not. Seidler captures real places, mostly lands in and around New Jersey and the Hudson River, that have been historically contaminated by various chemical pollutants. He then takes his photographic negatives and soaks them in the very same chemicals found to be befouling the bodies of water and land he's documenting. The results attempt to reveal the tainted realities of America's natural havens.
"I started this project my senior year at Ramapo College of New Jersey," Seidler explained to The Huffington Post. "Originally I was just taking pictures and finding ways to alter the camera or film with chemicals. After a few critiques I decided that I needed to add something to my images to help give them meaning, and that’s when I decided to research chemical spills in the area and pair those chemicals with the film negatives."
Source: Chemical-Soaked Photographs Explore The Wild Realities Of Polluted Places