Brighton Photo Biennial Study Weekend

 

This was another successful study event. Some time has passed since I returned from Brighton so my notes are reliant on my memory and the printed material I managed to pick up at the different events.

Saturday 18th October 2014

University of Brighton Gallery – Plane Materials

This installation looks at the agency and form of photography as art, it is the Afterimage series which was made by deconstructing photographs laminated onto aluminium sheets.  The viewer is asked to view the work and see his own interpretations or identify real or imagined remnants of the original work.

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This exhibit prompted a lively discussion with a variety of interpretations of the visible effects on the polished aluminium surfaces. This of course was the purpose of the work, ‘contemporary conversations around how photography is represented’

Real Britain 1974 – Co-optic and Documentary Photography

Forty years ago the Co-optic Group (including Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows, Nick Hedges, Fay Godwin and Gerry Badger) started the Real Britain postcard project. Although this was only a small show, I enjoyed the classic street photography, the quirky juxtapositions and the eccentricity of some of the images. These were politicised views reflecting the times.

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A range of work was on show as described above, including those shown in this link to a Guardian article about the show: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/oct/16/spacehoppers-enoch-powell-real-british-life-1970s-pictures

This exhibit covers a similar period and contains some work shown in the Only in England exhibition I saw earlier this year: http://rjdown-dpp-log.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Only%20in%20England

Ref. further discussions on this show in the Photoworks Annual 21 p42

Amore e Piombo – The Photography of extremes in 1970s Italy at the Brighton Museum.

Centring around the violent events of the kidnap and murder of Aldo Moro in 1978, this installation seems to move  historical photojournalism firmly into the realm of art photography. Apart from the historical significance and the violent nature of some of the images, the way in which these photographs were displayed using the existing furniture of what appeared to be a conference room, gave the collection more impact. Single images were displayed on shelves in niches, some horizontally on pedestals on the floor at different levels, some printed extremely large and in montages. All this had the effect of making the viewer look closely and making him move around the exhibition. A far cry from the series of wall hung frames at the same level found in most galleries.

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Vantage Point – 4th floor collective

There was an awful lot of work on show on this floor. One exhibit in particular caught my attention:

288 Days – Amelia Shepherd

This piece, presented as a montage of photocopied images with text, documents a pregnancy (something  I found relevant as my fourth grandchild is expected at the end of the year) “Shepherd looks to confront and negotiate a public gaze and its impact on one her own expectations and responses”  This was an interesting installation, again because of the way it was presented. The work consisted of text and montage pasted and pinned tot he wall. More here: http://ameliashepherd.com/

Amongst the rest I spotted Inhabit by Alison Bettles, Fergus Heron, Alison Stolwood. Prints included cascades of white sheets, a music stand & lemon tree, some plants with butterflies and three urban views with water. I managed to find this quote about the exhibit from the BPB Fringe website:

Inhabit brings together work by three artists exploring intersecting domestic and natural worlds. Each deals with questions of picturing domesticity and nature, referencing traditional genres of landscape, interior and still life. Collectively, the works propose contemporary, complex and interwoven interpretations, offering reflection upon photography as a medium and technology involved with depiction, trace and mimicry of nature within and around domestic environments.

I thought this was an interesting approach which has elements that could apply to reading I have been doing on Psychogeography.

More about Fergus Heron’s work can be found here: http://www.fergusheron.com/about/index.html

Alison Bettles’ website is here: http://www.alisonbettles.com/page2.htm

Alison Stolwood has information here: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/jun/27/alison-stolwood-best-photograph

and here: http://www.alisonstolwood.com/index.html

I thought that to bring the work of these three photographers into one exhibit was an interesting exercise.

Among the other exhibits was a series called “The Shot I Never Forgot” where various artists were asked for the shot which was significant for a particular reason. The images were widely varied as were the reasons that the photographers gave for their significance.

http://www.ourworldmyeye.com/category/posttopics/theshotineverforgot/

Similarly interesting were the series “Strawberries in December” and “Brighton Wasted” both of which can be viewed here: http://www.merge-collective.com/untitled-gallery.

“Strawberries in December” pictures the environmental impact of intensive fruit farming in Andalucía, whereas the series “Brighton Wasted” consists of a series of objects, natural and man made which are washed up on the shoreline. An indicator of the serious problem caused by pollution of the sea by oil-based  plastic waste. The images are produced by a scanner rather than a camera which gives them an interesting quality.

“Shot at Dawn”  Chloe Dewe-Matthews – a talk at the Jubilee Library about her project for  14-18 NOW. Unfortunately I arrived to late to get a seat in the library so taking notes was a problem. However, this link shows a video of Chloe talking about the project and a Guardian article by Sean O’Hagan which explains the historical background to the project.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jun/29/chloe-dewe-mathews-shot-at-dawn-moving-photographic-memorial-first-world-war

Sunday 19th October 2014

The day started with a portfolio review session at the Jubilee Library. Various students presented work and I received help from tutor Russell Squires in the selection of images for my Assignment 2 project “Remembering”.  I also made various notes for ideas on future projects.  I’ve Jotted down “using map locations to inform photographs”  and “Mark Power “. I looked at Mark Power’s website www.markpower.co.uk and got absorbed by “Shipping Forecast”, “A380” and “Black Country Stories” some of which have no doubt sown seeds in my mind for future work. Russell also mentioned using Geocaching as a source of images.

The name Ann Hardy was mentioned: http://anne-hardy.co.uk/ but it seems that her work involves major constructions which appear sculptural rather than photographic.

From the Jubilee Library we moved onto the Phoenix Brighton where there were a variety of exhibits, the most prominent being “Re-mapping the Flaneur” from the Collectives Encounter which was originally shown in Newcastle in 2011: https://collectivesencounter.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/remapping-the-flaneur/ explains what the project is and who contributed to it. It is significant perhaps that  the way the images were presented overshadowed the images themselves. It seemed as if the presentation was more important somehow as a lot of the pictures could not really be appreciated because of the position they occupied.

 

From here a group of us moved to the “Circus” to look at the Contemporary Collectives Exhibits. Among the most interesting was the “Return to Elsewhere” project by photographers Kalpesh Lathigra (UK) and Thabisco Sekgala (SA) which examined the links between Indian communities in Marabastad and Laudium in South Aftrica and Brighton. (It is sad to note that Thabisco Sekgala passed away in Johannesburg during October) There is a link to the webpages here: http://bpb.org.uk/2014/event/a-return-to-elsewhere/

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Overall this was a very informative and inspirational weekend. There was a lot that we didn’t see but I am sure the experience of attending my second BPB event has benefitted my studies as I make progress through the Documentary course.

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One thought on “Brighton Photo Biennial Study Weekend

  1. Pingback: Documentary 2 – Part 3 – A colour vision–Introduction | OCA Photography 2 Documentary

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