Modern Myths and New Pastoral Paradigms

If photography is indexically tied to the present moment, the past presents something of a challenge.

Smith D (ed) 2016. Modern Myths. BJP #7849, p3

This quote from BJP is really something I will need to be thinking about as I move on with Le Loup... and it also formed part of the thread running through the OCA symposium New Pastoral Paradigms. Held at Bank Street Arts on the 23 July, the symposium featured 5 speakers, Jesse Alexander, John Umney, Christina Stohn, Michal Iwanowski and Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz. Jesse was my Landscape tutor back during the BA (he called my roundabout series “eccentric” see below), and he also wrote the recent book Perspectives on Place: Theory & Practice in Landscape Photography.

Pont de Vertou

This roundabout has precisely nothing to do with the symposium though.

Jesse kicked off the symposium with talk on two of his projects, Elementary Husbandry and The Nymph and the Shepherd. Here he wanted to present book rooted in rich ideas, open pieces of work not tied down to some pre-ordained narrative. What follows is the product of my own abbreviated note taking - more of a platform to research further than anything meaningful:

Whitchurch/dundry tractor in front of houses. Bristol at edge of green belt - edgelands luminal spaces
26 Different Endings by Mark Power
Oil by Ed Burtynsky
David Friedrich, Wanderer above the sea of fog, 1818 - romantic image of people in landscape
Potential to be critical space, not just pleasure - space to think and discuss
Relationship between urban and rural homes
Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Apollo guarding the herds of Admetus - mythological story
Pastoral Landscape, 1648 - generic landscape scene - golden light, fluffy clouds, structures and forms. Must have animals!!!! Near bottom of frame. Lovely!?!? Arcadian leanings...

Filling frame with figures - dignity in frame, not really seen before. Millet, John Ravilious, Albrecht Tubke - Dalliendorf. Realism in representations of the countryside
John Darwell, Dark Days
Andy Sewell, Something like a nest
(Luminal space between domestic and relations with agriculture)

Elementary husbandry
Work in vein of those above, finding realism in the landscape. Means to explore/ be nosy/ curious and to articulate relationship with space.
Wanted to go a little beyond that...

Keeping the countryside “the way it should be” is strong for many amateur photographers... No sign of present day life. By shooting signs of man made, becomes clear that things change quickly. - not as frenzied as street , but surprising
Incongruity of things that can be seen (plane in a field)
Birds - flight is recurring theme
Dead birds,,,

Upside down bin between neighbours. Little odd details...
Using the land as a critical statement

Layers to the pastoral

Nicholas poussin, et in Arcadia ego
Ambiguity in the age

Peter Kennard, Haywain with cruise missiles
Produced in time of countryside unrest. - missile bases and the Cold War...
Jo Spence & Terry Dennett. Remodelling Photo History
Fay Godwin, Our Forbidden Land
Ingrid Pollard, Pastoral Interlude - dislocation, Wordsworth

John Davies, Remembrance Sunday, Liverpool 13 Nov 2011 has a giant poster for Call of duty in the background!
Withnail &I _ classic pastoral themes - escape to the country

Simon Roberts Devil’s Dyke is a classic pastoral composition. Amorous themes. - shepherd with the shepherdess sort of thing, modern take...

The nymph and the shepherd draws from:
Christopher Marlowe - the passionate shepherd to his love
Sir Walter Raleigh- The nymph’s reply to her love

Taking a photo every week sending to gallery and being installed.
Not imagery to invoke romance. Diaristic.

John Umney came next. A fellow student from back when I did the BA with OCA.

Here, with I look for him he is using narratives with images to explore things from history...
Personal work (very!) - relationship with deceased father. Memory.
Set in the land.
Photography is a conversation with memory. Narrating the past, to construct new memories
Barthes - holding a photograph of a 5 year old girl, on a bridge. Essence of his mother... A construction of his own devices

Project is about a fight with father...
Can't remember it, nobody from family)can in real terms, but all could envisage it - it’s become a part of family folklore.

Landscapes in a place called Purgatory... Set up to take people away during the plague, it’s been unsettled since WW1.
Didn't want the burden of being called a landscape photographer. Didn't use tripod.
Photos of objects to start discourse
Mother never become involved narrative - she’s never even seen the work.
A reflection on the malleability of memory...

Christina Stohn spoke quietly, and with her German accent it caused me problems, hence extreme brevity...
Paradise Lost
The rumours are true

Baden Baden, Black Forest
Cultural identity


Xpansive and empty (sehnsucht)
Displacement from home/countryside
Lines- very “Gursky”

Storm damage
Death and renewal

Book - altered landscape (look for this)

Paradise lost
Visit to home town over time,
Idealised images of Black Forest
Countering traditions with contemporary view - broader narrative

Belgrade waterfront.
Displacement, gentrification

Uses books - outcome shapes the project.

Difficulty photographing own space until Been away...

Michal Iwanowski
Landscape as a place of sanctuary
I'm not a landscape photographer! (another to state this!)
Minus the mother
Personal defines the global
Study of death and grieving
Disappearing to nature

Colin Gray - worked with parents for years... Life and death
Cathartic, but will it work?
Personal. Bizarre concept - set in the landscape

Clear of People
Story of people taking journey in 1945
Poles walking from Russia - escaped...
Interested in what happened - war bad for every one

Small history, not the big story. Perspectives
(Kickstarted - I backed this, waiting with baited breath...)
Burden of national identity

Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz

I feel every stone of the road
Grandmother fought in the war during uprising. (Polish)
Travelled Germany/Poland visiting sites relevant to grandmother.

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