Kroas ar Hars
There was talk of contemporary photographic practice. I spoke of specifically not wanting to produce work like David Chancellor’s Huntress with Buck – I’d rather not take photographs at all (as good as it may be, it’s simply not what I want to do). Alec Soth was mentioned, also something I do not wish to pursue, although closer than Chancellor. I spoke about the lack of people (and the reason), and a fear that it might end up looking like after the zombie apocalypse. I thought about John Darwell’s Chernobyl photographs – I need to look at these again.
Work by Sarah Pickering was mentioned in relation to An Uhelgoad, although I think this may have meant to have been Steffi Klenz’s Nonsuch in Poundbury. As was Peter Fraser’s Welsh Valley work and William Christenberry’s American houses (later posts will undoubtedly look at these).
Talking around the various words, “empty” “resistance” and “history” kept on coming to the fore, which then tied in with a possible thread of depopulation – approx. 30% of houses in a local village are owned as second houses (much as is mine), a place to go for holiday. There are photographs of graffitied signs: “Free Bzh” is clearly aimed at the English, but there are also attempts to reclaim Nantes from Loire Atlantique. It’s something to explore further. There are already several layers of politics (with a small “p”) that I’m aware of and undoubtedly subconsciously influencing my work.
The aesthetic was described as “melancholia”, which fits my personality and completely apt for me. This aesthetic might become more “interesting” because of the politics. There are transitory signs of disquiet. History might be seen as emptying out of a place, with something “other” taking that place.
Size was discussed; I personally don’t believe that, as of right now, there is any need for these images to be particularly large (many, not all, are photographed with a medium format digital camera, so could perhaps support larger prints). A book might be the primary goal, with a curated narrative and careful layout choices, but the gallery should also be considered.
This was an incredibly useful talk, helping to bring vague thoughts into the real world by having to voice them to someone else, and then to have that person, a photographic theorist, bounce other thoughts, threads and hooks around is great. I feel like I’ve taken much from it, lots hope it sinks in and I action the discussion too.
(Jan Verwoert, The Beauty of Latency, Exhaustion and Exuberance, Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform.)
“The decisions about how to start and conclude are choices that shape the very identity of a piece. It is only by concluding in a particular way that the piece establishes its own standards of completion and demonstrates why it had to be the way it is.”