This set of images was inspired by Jan Dibbets’ The Shortest Day at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1970) in which he explored the ways in which light changes and how each photographs show the encounter between light and structure, more precisely the passage of dispersive light through the structuring influence of an architectural element, most frequently a window (MoMA, 2020). I am interested in the notion that only a photograph can capture that particular beam of light and if you miss it, you have to wait 24 hours, or even another year or…
I shot these on the Winter Solstice (22nd December 2019). They are presented as a contact sheets and were shot on colour film. It is getting harder to find processing houses that can process colour film and produce them as a traditional contact sheet.
The process was quite involved and keeping awake for so long (getting up every hour with the sound of an alarm was not fun) and reminds me of the series of images titled One Year Performance 1980–1981 by Tehching Hsieh that was on display until recently at the Tate Modern (Liverpool). One day was hard enough, never mind a whole year.
It would be interesting to see this set of images shot during the Summer Solstice, I will ask if the cats are up for another shoot (at least they got some sleep).
In yet another attempt to produce work alongside students, this was from a session that introduced them to 35mm analog (using centre point manual focus and exposing the image using the internal light meter - using the indisputable King of analog cameras the Pentax K1000, where it all started for me). The aim of the session was to investigate the following statement by Aleksander Rodchenko the Russian Constructivist Artist and Photographer who wrote in an open letter to Boris Kushner in which he claimed that, “the most interesting viewpoints, [are] from above down and from below up…. [and that photography] should surely undertake to show the world from all vantage points, and to develop people’s capacity to see from all sides.”
The session discussed if photography can be abstract or devoid of objectivity. The discussion continued from previous themes (from other sessions) that debated the notion that photography borrows from painting. The work discussed Abstract Expressionist Painters such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, alongside Rodchenko and other photographers including, Aaron Siskind, Edward Weston, Peter Keetman and Harry Callaghan.
The one observation about the ‘2020 Lockdown’ is that using a scanner is not as interesting as being in the darkroom producing silver-based images in the traditional manner, sorry for sounding like a Luddite, I’m not honest and this was only scanning in a contact sheet.
These images are presented as a contact sheet, for a number of reasons. The first is that the presentation adds to the abstract and (possible) disorientation nature of the images. I also like the idea that a photographic image is not three-demential object (although it may appear in this manner), and by including the edges (the sprocket holes and numbers) it defuncts the whole idea of purpose of photography perhaps untricking (if that is a word) the human eye (yes it is just a piece of paper)? The other most simple reason is that I can remember (a long time ago) producing a full contact sheet with 36 even exposure, oh, the sense of achievement…
I’ve been quiet in producing work over the past twelve months as I have been concentrating on a PhD application, which was (thankfully) successful. I enrol in September on the PhD in Art History and Visual Studies, at Manchester University. This has been quite a long journey, having spoken to several institutions and prospective supervisors, the ideas and concepts have shifted the focus of the research, but the subject matter has remained the same. The question is “Das Auto, the People’s Car: DIY heritage car restoration and wellbeing”; this combines my almost anorak obsession with old Volkswagens and my love of photography. The research aims to investigate the following:
- To what extent does DIY heritage restoration of cars contribute to restorers’ personal and community well-being?
- How do communities of practice support and impact on the aims, practices and outcomes of DIY heritage restoration?
- How does community engagement in relation to skills and craft support DIY heritage restoration?