Photofusion SELECT/13: Artist Talks blog post
Yesterday evening saw the four artists in the current members show Photofusion SELECT/13 come together to talk about their work, answer any questions and hint at what they have planned for after this exhibition.
First to talk was…
Tim began speaking about his past photographic projects, explaining that he has always been interested in the social sciences. He has collaborated a couple of times with anthropologists and said that he finds not only the subjects more interesting, but also appreciates how in depth the subjects are researched.
Tim’s previous project was on global textile recycling. He collaborated with anthropologist Lucy Norris (www.thewasteoftheworld.com) to produce the project ‘Clothing Recycled’.
Through Lucy Norris, Tim was introduced to another anthropologist, Nicky Gregson, who was researching ship breaking in Liverpool (www.shipbreakingplatform.org).
From this commission and collaboration Tim witnessed the difficulties involved in ship breaking – the health hazards from the Asbestos and hydrocarbons, as well as the economic viability of these kind of projects. What initially was projected to take 6 months actually ended up being a 2 year job, at which point it became unprofitable.
Tim talked us through the image shown above, and how he had to be lowered in on ropes to photograph. It was the fuel tank of the ship, so potentially dangerous from residual chemicals, thus he did not have long to get the shot.
Tim got the group to watch the time-lapse included in the show.
He explained about how he had installed a ‘locked-off’ time-lapse camera in a secure, all-weather box before the arrival of the ship. This autonomous camera with a fixed viewpoint then took a photo every hour for the best part of 2 years, capturing The Grey Rover, a 5000ton Royal Naval Auxiliary Tanker, as it came into the Canada Docks, Liverpool and the progressive deconstruction that then took place.
It was not until he had brought together all the different elements that make up the project “A Fish Out of Water” (photography, time-lapse and physical element) did Tim feel that it was complete.
What Tim has planned for the future…
Tim is looking to start a new local project in London, possibly exploring the ports and the issues around shipping.
Carlotta started her portrait series from the North London Mod scene in September last year. Her first photograph of the project was taken at the Brighton Weekender. This was not a commissioned project, Carlotta is just interested in exploring contemporary issues of identity, belonging and community.
Having only moved to England around 5 years ago, what instantly caught Carlotta’s attention with her subjects was their distinct British look. She was intrigued by their attention to detail, and as the project developed, the combined personalties portrayed through a couple’s style.
Carlotta went on to explain that her portraits are not staged. She either finds her subjects or gets introduced to them from previous couples, and then asks them to choose a location to be photographed and come dressed how they want to be portrayed. Leaving all these styling options up to the subject allows Carlotta to capture, from an outsider’s point of view, this world that her subject’s have created for themselves.
Carlotta then began to tell us about how controversial her series of mods photographs has been since being exhibited and also published in Rolling Stone magazine and the Guardian Weekend. Her portraits have sparked up debates as to what classifies a true “Mod”. People have been extremely particular about the correct styles of shirts and hairstyles etc. Carlotta appreciates the high level of interest, and how this just shows how dedicated and particular Mods are to their style and culture.
Interesting facts she mentioned throughout her talk…
– Carlotta shot each couple on a Bronica 6×6, and only allowed herself 1 roll of film (12 frames) per couple/subject
– Allowing the subjects to choose their own locations did create some challenges for Carlotta. For example, ‘Ben & Haley’ chose a cafe which extremely busy and cramped, leaving Carlotta with very little room or time to prepare her shots. Luckily, Carlotta has come from an editorial photography background, so was prepared for the more tricky shoots.
– The umbrella in the shot of ‘Ben & Holly’ actually opens out into a seat!
What Carlotta has planned for the future…
This current project is not yet finished. Carlotta plans to continue shooting couples over the summer, and then bring it all together in a book publication.
Carlotta was asked if she would then go on to document other sub-cultures in our society, to which she replied saying that she does not plan on doing so, instead she wants to branch out to a different subject matter, but still continue exploring portraiture and issues of identity.
Ariadne Radi Cor
For Ariadne’s talk she bought the audience round to her section of the gallery. She then began by explaining that these projects were shot when she moved to London and started shooting on film. She also began experimenting with lomography red film and the haphazard outcomes these cameras produce, such as vibrant colouring and overlapping frames.
Ariadne uses photography as her visual diary, documenting everything from views out of window trains, the backs of people she walks down the street behind, to her coffee cups on the windowsill in her room.
This exhibition brings together Ariadne’s 4 most recent photographic projects: “13×13”, “Remote Control”, “London Seafloor” and “Lyon Skylight” from 2009.
“13×13” comprises a series of digital images that represent how Ariadne saw the world before being diagnosed with short-sighted vision. She took the photos through surfaces that added an additional layer/lens between the photographer and subject – such as through sunglasses or a car window.
Ariadne’s next project “Remote Control” began from the discovery of her father’s home movies from the 70s/early 80s. They had been recently transferred from film to DVD, yet still retained all the original technical film errors. Ari focussed on these errors, as well as experimenting with digital manipulation to symbolically represent her feelings when viewing these moments of family history taken before she was born.
Ariadne’s most recent 2 series “London Seafloor” and “Balloons” compliment each other in the sense of capturing the world around her, with one capturing quite literally the floor beneath her feet, and the other of the sky above.
A significant aspect of Ariadne’s work is in the way she has displayed it – her work is purposely very small. This is to encourage the viewer to engage more intimately with the images by getting up close – an action also common to those affected with short sightedness.
Dafna finished off the evening of talks. She began by describing her background, having studied fine-art at Goldsmiths and then on to do an MA in photography at the Royal College of Art.
Dafna has always been interested in spaces. She used to focus on interiors, showing us a past project where she photographed windows from inside, however with the scene outside the window either obstructed or overexposed. Her current project on display in the exhibition stemmed from her frustration with the limitations of interior spaces, and the freedom, which can also become daunting, of photographing outside landscapes.
At the core of Dafna’s project is the ‘element of obstruction’. Denying the viewer areas of the image, whilst at the same time giving them a space to project their own views in. She also described how she is interested in the act of photography giving you this element of control, and of being able to capture something that you wouldn’t be able to take with you otherwise.
Dafna’s project Constructed Landscapes references early pictorialist tendencies of combination printing as well as more modern experimental techniques such as montage and collage. Dafna explained her process in the darkroom of carefully cutting up and layering her negatives to transform a specific place – initially loaded with personal meaning, memories and connotations – into a space that has been emptied of subjectivity and becomes universal.
Dafna showed us her collection of contact sheets which are all that is left of her original negatives. She also showed images of the negatives carefully layered together, which are what she then takes to the printers.
A member of the audience asked Dafna, “Do you have a relationship with your original images?” as they were shocked that anyone could just slice up their own negatives. Dafna replied explaining that sometimes it is hard, as she her original landscape images do bare some significant memories for her, but she then went on to say that after she has merged her negs that she then develops a whole new connection with the photograph.
Dafna finishes by saying that “Photography is a very complex version of reality”. Dafna’s work addresses this and definitely gave the whole audience something to go away thinking about.
The Photofusion SELECT/13 exhibition is open until Friday 31 May 2013.