Notes for Assessor

This learning log / blog is my main submission for assessment supported by a presentation box containing:

  • The prints for each of assignments 1 through 5
  • Tutor’s feedback for each assignment
  • My written response to each assigment

This blog is organised so each assignment can be selected from the top menu. In each case, under the assignment number you will find :

  • The final reworked assignment
  • My response to the tutor’s comments and any further reflections arising
  • The tutor’s feedback (including links to follow up research)
  • My self assessment
  • The assignment as submitted
  • The specific research leading up to the assignment which usually provides an explanation of my thought and practical processes and relevant context in terms of other practitioners

Required exercises are filed under “Coursework”

There is a record of other, less specific, research throughout the blog and that is filed under the “Research and Reflection” category

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Assignment 5 Rework: Hanging On

Notes on Rework

Following a conversation with my tutor and after receiving his formal feedback (here) I have reworked this series.

It was pointed out that the series lacked a title; I had one or two different ideas in mind: a derivative of At Least in the City Someone Would Hear me Scream, the title of Wade Rouse’s book, was one option but it felt it needed the whole sentence to work and this was cumbersome and potentially plagiarism so I settled on Hanging On which not only neatly describes the status of small dairy farmers but references the Pink Floyd song Time which includes the line:

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way” (iii & 7)

Which by bring Englishness into the idea links these farmers to the stout yeoman of England and the agrarian heritage that is being rapidly lost.

Beyond that the only changes are a slight tightening of the series.

Background

In the late 18th century British painters began to turn their attention away from the classic and romantic cities of The Grand Tour (i) to breath new life into English landscape painting which, until this time, had been a lowly, but distinctly British, genre. (1) The birth of the Georgian landscape in art as typified by Turner, Constable and Gainsborough had far reaching effects, stimulating a domestic tourist industry as people travelled to the countryside to find picturesque views and establishing a romantic, pictorial representation of rural England that would become closely associated with our national identity. (ii)

Three-quarters of Britain is farmed so the Georgian painters not only romanticised the countryside in general but established a tradition of pastoral imagery that has been proliferated by both painting and photography ever since; an imagery that Jesse Alexander describes as a “performance of the countryside, a generally idealised representation of uncomplicated rural life” (3).  The myth of the British countryside is of a sparsely populated rural idyll where people, divorced from the economic and social challenges of the cities, pursue a simpler and, by inference, easier life.

(A more extensive discussion of the creation and perpetuation of the myth of the countryside idyll can be found here)

Introduction to the Series

My second assignment featured a father and son operating two West Country farms; on its completion I was left with a strong sense that the project was unresolved and pursued within my comfort zone. To work with the same subject for assignment 5 demanded a fresh approach, clearer intent and a more sophisticated outcome.

Researching practitioners who had focussed on farming highlighted the challenge of addressing this subject without resorting to the pictorial cliché of depicting a tough job in beautiful surroundings, a common critique of James Ravilious (here) or Denis Thorpe (here) despite both being serious documentarists of rural life. John Darwell (here) was able to avoid such a trap by focusing on the emotional and physical impact of the foot and mouth disaster whilst Colin Shaw (here) focussed attention on farm workers by generally excluding contextual background that might have softened the representation of their working environment. The common ground between Darwell and Shaw was their exploration, not of farming per se, but of the human condition within a framework of farming, the despair of foot and mouth or the harsh working conditions of harvesting winter crops by hand.

This thought became the broad theme of the Crackmoor Farm series and as over ten months, like Mark Neville in his Fancy Pictures series (here), I slowly became less of an outsider. The narratives that interested me were universal rather than specific to farming; the relationship between the father and his young son who at only twenty-one had been given the responsibility of his own farm to manage who struggles to find time for his hobbies; the daughter conflicted by a desire to remain at the heart of a tight-knit family unit in a rural community and the demanding job she loves eighty miles away in Surrey; the mother intent on pursing her career outside of farming but who, like most farmer’s wives, is the glue that holds the family together, facilitating the remorseless, dawn to dusk, seven day a week grind of managing two dairy herds.

I wanted to challenge the myth of the rural idyll without resorting to the muck and physicality that had been a strong feature of the earlier assignment and to this end I took inspiration from Scott Mcfarland (here) and Gregory Crewdson (here) who bring a physiological or atmospheric edge and narrative ambiguity to their work through staging, lighting and post production manipulation; the isolation of farming seemed better described by the herdsman in an cold industrial space than the farmer in a sunlit field.

Recognising that my comfort zone is straight documentary I challenged myself to question the veracity of this genre; in this I was again influenced by McFarland and to a lesser extent by Anna Fox to create my own realities by the introduction of infeasible lighting, composite printing and directed staging. By mixing these directed or manipulated images with straight photographs I am asking myself perhaps more than asking the viewer which is the true representation of my subject.

Assignment – Hanging On

Crackmoor Fig. 01 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 01 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 02 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 02 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 03 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 03 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 04 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 05 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 08 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 06 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 09 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 07 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 10 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 08 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 11 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 09 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 12 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Hanging On – Fig. 10 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Assignment Research

Henrik Duncker and Yrjö Tuunanen – Hay on the Highway

John Darwell – Dark Days

Denis Thorpe – A Shepherd’s Year

The Myth of the Countryside Idyll

Colin Shaw – Farmwork

Scott McFarland – A Layered Multiplicity of Time

Reflections on the Progression of a Project

Project Sketchbook

Notes on Text

(i) Between c.1550 and 1850 affluent Britons travelled a well trodden path through the great sites of Europe on what became known as The Grand Tour. According to Adam Matthew, who has established a significant digital resource on the subject, the Grand Tour was “a phenomenon which shaped the creative and intellectual sensibilities of some of the eighteenth century’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers” (2) Amongst these travellers were J.M.W. Turner and other artists who, inspired by the light and landscapes of the romantic cities of the tour went on to create a new era in British romantic landscape.

(ii) In his interesting paper on Englishness and the Countryside Julian Michi (5) argues that “The countryside is a central feature in national symbolism and rural images often serve as signs of the Nation”, a point that I have previously discussed here but further to that he points out that imagery of the home counties is not only used to represent national identity to residents of the South of England. “The symbolic imposition of one part of England as a symbol of English rural life and so of English identity is made that much more powerful as it tends to cover all of Britain, beyond just England” (5: p.4)

(iii) Time by Pink Floyd

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day 
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. 
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town 
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way. 

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. 
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. 
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. 
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun. 

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking 
Racing around to come up behind you again. 
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older, 
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death. 

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time. 
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines 
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way 
The time is gone, the song is over, 
Thought I’d something more to say. (7)

Sources

Books

(3) Alexander, J.A.P (2015) Perspectives on Place: Theory ad Practice in Landcape Photography. London: Bloomsbury.

(6) Rouse, Wade (2009) At Least in the City Someone Would Hear me Scream. New York: Three Rivers Press.

(7) Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour (1973) Time. From the Album dark Side of the Moon. EMI / EMI Music Distribution

Internet

(1) Prodger, Michael (2012) Constable, Turner, Gainsborough and the making of Landscape (accessed at the Guardian 7.10.16) – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/nov/23/constable-turner-gainsborough-making-landscape

(2) Layton-Jones, Katy (2009) The Grand Tour (accessed at Reviews in history 16.11.16) – http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/839

(5) Mischi, Julian (2009) Englishness and the Countryside: How British Rural Studies Address the Issue of National Identity (accessed at Dijon Cedex 16.11.16) – https://www2.dijon.inra.fr/cesaer/fichiers/pagesperso/mischi/EnglishnessMischi.pdf

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Assignment 5: Tutor Feedback

Feedback was provided during a telephone conversation on 5th December 2106.

As we discussed over the phone, I believe that you have produced an excellent project. The submission demonstrates both your technical and contextual skills. It’s clear that you have pushed your practice along with your conceptual understanding. This is demonstrated through all the hard work that you have applied right the way through the course. This final submission is a culmination of the learning that you have undertaken. You have evidenced that you were prepared to push your creativity and take yourself out of your comfort zone. The success though is really down to your ability to apply critical analysis to contemporary photographic practitioners and relate this to your own work. Throughout the course you have engaged in fantastic research resulting in considered and well informed reflections. These reflections and your willingness to critique alternative methodologies has developed your appreciation and understanding of the complexities of photography and ultimately pushed your personal practice.

The final images are very successful. Your commitment and enthusiasm is really impressive. The methodology that you have employed identifies your inspirations and references yet they are not pastiches, your personal vision is evident. Collaborating with your subjects has aided your concept and visual strategy. Overall the series is strong and works well as a coherent set of images. As I commented on though, you should reflect again on the relation of image 4 and 7 with the rest of the series. Essentially these images are repeating 3 and 8 and upset the rhythm slightly but it’s not a major issue, just an editing point to be aware of. Your composite skills appear to be sound but do review again once you have produced the final prints as visuals have a tendency of looking different in print form to digital.

I agree that images 4 and 7 are unnecessary and I will remove them at rework to make the series tighter. I have completed test prints for the composite photographs and at A3 they appear to still work well.

When we spoke on the phone we discussed at some length why I had used composite strategies. There were two aspects in my mind; firstly that I wanted throughout the series to challenge the documentary nature of the series and then, secondly, there were practical and logistical challenges to get the right combination of settings and subject. 

Clearly you are aware of the assessment process due to your previous submissions. Just make sure that all physical work is presented in an appropriate and professional form. Prints are produced to the best of your ability and uniformed and presented in a portfolio box with the relevant information. It’s a great idea to produce a document that explains in a coherent and minimal way were all the appropriate information can be found online and physically.

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Assignment 5: Self Assessment

Crackmoor Fig. 12 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 12 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Introduction

This assignment evolved from assignment 2, a fact that brought specific challenges to the project in that it was important to move forward both the overall subject narrative and my approach to the project.

Working with the same subjects in much the same locations over a period of ten months can easily lead to repetitiveness, or even what one might call the blindness of familiarity. To avoid this I took a step back from the project to visualise an end result that met the dual objectives of describing the subject more effectively than I had in March and to explore new perspectives that enabled me to develop my practice.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

There were two technical challenges; the lighting on location and the post processing to combine images and balance the natural and artificial light. I am reasonably satisfied with the approach to both these challenges. For the location lighting I used my knowledge of the site to preplan the shots and then carried out a series of test shots without the human subjects until I was satisfied with the balance and position of the flashguns. The exception was fig. 02 which being in the milking parlour left no scope for setting up lights and a tripod and where I used a handheld flashgun.

I have come to recognise that I am not a decisive moment photographer, I believe that my work is strengthened by a combination of subject knowledge and pre-planning so all but fig. 07 to 09 were to a greater or lesser extent pre-planned making this series the most “designed” that I have completed. I had visualised the basic concept for most of the shots and am satisfied that they generally met expectations. There are small details that disappoint me such as the lack of an interior light in the caravan shot – fig. 12 (no key) and the lack of depth in the interior of fig. 05 (too large a space for the number of flashguns).

Fig, 01, 02, 03 and 12 are manipulated to various degrees, fig. 12 being the most manipulated as a combination of three originals with the other three combining two originals. This gave me the scope to balance the background and, where relevant, the skies with the artificially lit subjects. My main concern is whether I should have warmed the flashgun light to imitate ambient artificial light rather than the bright whites that I settled on.

Quality of Outcome

Overall I am satisfied with the outcome. I believe that the relation between the subjects and their working spaces has given a dimension to the project that straight portraits would have failed to produce.

I believe that the concept of presenting farming without falling into the trap of presenting a rural idyll was strong and that the idea was carried thorough effectively. It is all about choices and I chose a route that presented the subjects’ environment as working spaces, economic entities, and then placed them into those spaces to highlight the isolation and uncomfortable, if not harsh, working environments.

Demonstration of Creativity

I felt that with this assignment more than any other that there was an imperative to create an approach that distinguished it from not just my previous work but also from the straight documentary style of some of my references. Although Colin Shaw, Denis Thorpe and John Darwell all influenced me in different ways it was the work of Scott McFarland that helped me devise a strategy that could introduce some much needed ambiguity into the final photographs and challenge my tendency towards a straight documentary style.

I also recognised that my relationship with the subject had evolved and that we understood each other far better than at the start of assignment 2. This allowed me to consider strategies that explored the use of a mixture of ambient and introduced light and the introduction of an element of staging. To achieve variety in the series I decided upon using both staged and un-staged photography and both natural and artificial light.

It is not exactly experimental to combine multiple images into a single image but to use these techniques for a final assignment felt as if I was developing my practice in a demonstrable way. I believe that by adopting a combination of pre-visualisation, careful planning, directed staging and post production manipulation I am finding an approach that extracts the most from my limited creativity, a kind of organised rather than spontaneous creativity. I found that I related to Scott McFarland’s words as much as to his photographs and saw in his approach a way of working that made sense and that allows me to pursue documentary subjects in a more contemporary manner.

Context

The series is strongly contextualised by reference to contemporary photographers and a few more traditional documentarists. At this point in the course the contextual links are perhaps less direct and many of the practitioners I looked at earlier in the course such as John Goto, Yrjö Tuunanen, Gregory Crewdson and Henrik Duncker have continued to influence my thinking.

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Assignment 5: Crackmoor Farm

Background

In the late 18th century British painters began to turn their attention away from the classic and romantic cities of The Grand Tour (i) to breath new life into English landscape painting which, until this time, had been a lowly, but distinctly British, genre. (1) The birth of the Georgian landscape in art as typified by Turner, Constable and Gainsborough had far reaching effects, stimulating a domestic tourist industry as people travelled to the countryside to find picturesque views and establishing a romantic, pictorial representation of rural England that would become closely associated with our national identity. (ii)

Three-quarters of Britain is farmed so the Georgian painters not only romanticised the countryside in general but established a tradition of pastoral imagery that has been proliferated by both painting and photography ever since; an imagery that Jesse Alexander describes as a “performance of the countryside, a generally idealised representation of uncomplicated rural life” (3).  The myth of the British countryside is of a sparsely populated rural idyll where people, divorced from the economic and social challenges of the cities, pursue a simpler and, by inference, easier life.

(A more extensive discussion of the creation and perpetuation of the myth of the countryside idyll can be found here)

Introduction to the Series

My second assignment featured a father and son operating two West Country farms; on its completion I was left with a strong sense that the project was unresolved and pursued within my comfort zone. To work with the same subject for assignment 5 demanded a fresh approach, clearer intent and a more sophisticated outcome.

Researching practitioners who had focussed on farming highlighted the challenge of addressing this subject without resorting to the pictorial cliché of depicting a tough job in beautiful surroundings, a common critique of James Ravilious (here) or Denis Thorpe (here) despite both being serious documentarists of rural life. John Darwell (here) was able to avoid such a trap by focusing on the emotional and physical impact of the foot and mouth disaster whilst Colin Shaw (here) focussed attention on farm workers by generally excluding contextual background that might have softened the representation of their working environment. The common ground between Darwell and Shaw was their exploration, not of farming per se, but of the human condition within a framework of farming, the despair of foot and mouth or the harsh working conditions of harvesting winter crops by hand.

This thought became the broad theme of the Crackmoor Farm series and as over ten months, like Mark Neville in his Fancy Pictures series (here), I slowly became less of an outsider. The narratives that interested me were universal rather than specific to farming; the relationship between the father and his young son who at only twenty-one had been given the responsibility of his own farm to manage who struggles to find time for his hobbies; the daughter conflicted by a desire to remain at the heart of a tight-knit family unit in a rural community and the demanding job she loves eighty miles away in Surrey; the mother intent on pursing her career outside of farming but who, like most farmer’s wives, is the glue that holds the family together, facilitating the remorseless, dawn to dusk, seven day a week grind of managing two dairy herds.

I wanted to challenge the myth of the rural idyll without resorting to the muck and physicality that had been a strong feature of the earlier assignment and to this end I took inspiration from Scott Mcfarland (here) and Gregory Crewdson (here) who bring a physiological or atmospheric edge and narrative ambiguity to their work through staging, lighting and post production manipulation; the isolation of farming seemed better described by the herdsman in an cold industrial space than the farmer in a sunlit field.

Recognising that my comfort zone is straight documentary I challenged myself to question the veracity of this genre; in this I was again influenced by McFarland and to a lesser extent by Anna Fox to create my own realities by the introduction of infeasible lighting, composite printing and directed staging. By mixing these directed or manipulated images with straight photographs I am asking myself perhaps more than asking the viewer which is the true representation of my subject.

Assignment

Crackmoor Fig. 01 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 01 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 02 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 02 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 03 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 03 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 04 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 04 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 05 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 07 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 07 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 08 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 08 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 09 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 09 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 10 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 10 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 11 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 11 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 12 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 12 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Assignment Research

Henrik Duncker and Yrjö Tuunanen – Hay on the Highway

John Darwell – Dark Days

Denis Thorpe – A Shepherd’s Year

The Myth of the Countryside Idyll

Colin Shaw – Farmwork

Scott McFarland – A Layered Multiplicity of Time

Reflections on the Progression of a Project

Project Sketchbook

Notes on Text

(i) Between c.1550 and 1850 affluent Britons travelled a well trodden path through the great sites of Europe on what became known as The Grand Tour. According to Adam Matthew, who has established a significant digital resource on the subject, the Grand Tour was “a phenomenon which shaped the creative and intellectual sensibilities of some of the eighteenth century’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers” (2) Amongst these travellers were J.M.W. Turner and other artists who, inspired by the light and landscapes of the romantic cities of the tour went on to create a new era in British romantic landscape.

(ii) In his interesting paper on Englishness and the Countryside Julian Michi (5) argues that “The countryside is a central feature in national symbolism and rural images often serve as signs of the Nation”, a point that I have previously discussed here but further to that he points out that imagery of the home counties is not only used to represent national identity to residents of the South of England. “The symbolic imposition of one part of England as a symbol of English rural life and so of English identity is made that much more powerful as it tends to cover all of Britain, beyond just England” (5: p.4)

Sources

Books

(3) Alexander, J.A.P (2015) Perspectives on Place: Theory ad Practice in Landcape Photography. London: Bloomsbury.

Internet

(1) Prodger, Michael (2012) Constable, Turner, Gainsborough and the making of Landscape (accessed at the Guardian 7.10.16) – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/nov/23/constable-turner-gainsborough-making-landscape

(2) Layton-Jones, Katy (2009) The Grand Tour (accessed at Reviews in history 16.11.16) – http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/839

(5) Mischi, Julian (2009) Englishness and the Countryside: How British Rural Studies Address the Issue of National Identity (accessed at Dijon Cedex 16.11.16) – https://www2.dijon.inra.fr/cesaer/fichiers/pagesperso/mischi/EnglishnessMischi.pdf

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A5 Preparation: Sketchbook

Trimming Hooves - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Trimming Hooves – Steve Middlehurst 2016

I am in the habit of using a sketchbook to collect ideas as I develop a project. The following are pages from assignment 5’s sketchbook roughing out ideas that were carried forward and a few that were not.

print-2016-018

print-2016-019

print-2016-020

print-2016-021

print-2016-023

print-2016-025

print-2016-026

print-2016-027

print-2016-024

print-2016-029

print-2016-028

print-2016-031

print-2016-030

print-2016-032

print-2016-033

 

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A5: Reflections on the Progression of a Project

Crackmoor Fig. 10 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Sometime around 2001 Mark Neville was in a bookshop in Glasgow looking at a large collection of social documentary style photo books when it struck him that “these books were not aimed at the kind of people who were in the pictures …… images of poverty and hardship made for comfortable people” (1: p.32). This thought was to initiate an approach to his practice that, if not unique, is highly unusual. Neville decided to challenge the status quo and embark on a project to create a photo book that only ended up in the hands of the community it represented as opposed to the coffee tables of “white, middle-class people” (1: p.32). Gerry Badger describes Port Glasgow, Neville’s first book, as an attempt to “confront one of the main problems of social documentary photography: that it is so often a matter of outsiders – however sympathetic they may be – taking a patronising view of those who are ‘other’.” (2: p.134).

With funding from the Scottish Arts Council and the Lottery Neville immersed himself in the area of Port Glasgow that had once been home to Britain’s busiest shipyards but was now “clinging to a post-industrial identity” (1: p.32). At the end of the project he printed 8,000 copies of the book which was then delivered by the local boys football club to every address in the community. Fancy Pictures (1), his first conventionally published work, is a monograph of six projects that focus on seemingly closed and isolated communities ranging from Port Glasgow to Helmand Province.

From the series Fancy Pictures - Mark Neville 2008

From the series Fancy Pictures – Mark Neville 2008

I was initially drawn to Neville’s work to look at his second project, also called Fancy Pictures, which documents a small, and in many ways feudal, farming community on the Isle of Bute. The first  impression of this series is well described by David Campany: “Wildly imaginative, technically sophisticated and visually intelligent.” (1: p.33) And, it would be easy enough to continue to review Neville’s work along these lines, indeed there his technical approach has influenced my own project, but it is potentially more important to recognise that the results he achieves come as a direct result of the depth of the relationships he builds with his subjects.

I started the Crackmoor Farm project in the early part of this year, assignment 2 Two Fortunate Men (here) was an early result but it now feels to be more of a premature spin-off than a coherent project. Neville’s interviews with David Campany have helped me to understand why, despite being of exactly the same subjects, assignment 2 and assignment 5 are, to my mind, so radically different.

Before starting to photograph the Kellaway family on their west country farms I had only met the main subjects once and then only very briefly. Over the course of several shoots I began to understand their world but, despite their hospitality and generous nature, I was very much an outsider looking in on their lives. The photographs reflect the subjects’ discomfort, eye contact was rare, poses uncomfortable and false and as a result the majority of the shots were captured when the subjects were preoccupied with their work. Quite obviously a significant proportion of objective documentary photography records a relationship between strangers, the photographer as an outsider, the subject being objectified. This in itself is not necessarily an issue if photographer has a real understanding of and sympathy towards the subject matter, neither Colin Shaw’s Farmwork nor John Darwell’s Dark Days are the result of the kind of immersion that marks out Neville’s work but in both cases the practitioners were not outsiders to the overall subject matter just to the specific subjects in their photographs and both projects were developed over an extended period of time.

Neville talks about going into his target communities to build relationships and eventually “negotiate some kind of performance from the people I’m with.” (1: p.31) This has also been my experience when working with the Kellaways; at first any kind of posed photograph was challenging and discomforting to them and left me feeling predatory but by the end of ten months they were willing participants in the creation of tableaux.

This changes the dynamics of the photographic process, the relationship between the photographer and the subject becomes collaborative, and because staged photography has a strong sense of theatre there is even a sense of being co-conspirators in creative subterfuge. By bring and element of staging into a documentary style project Neville challenges our expectations and express a scepticism towards the claim of truth in the photographic document but to achieve this he needed a level of cooperation from his subjects that could only be achieved by developing mutual understanding and trust.

Sources

Books

(1) Neville, Mark (2016) Fancy Pictures. Göttingen: Steidl

(2) Parr, Martin and Badger, Gerry (2014) The Photobook: A History volume III. London: Phaidon

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Assignment 5: Peer Group Critique and Feedback

This is my current selection of photographs for assignment 5, the self-directed project at the end of Identity and Place. My intent is to explore the relationship between a farming family and their environment whilst challenging two strongly embedded ideas: the myth of the countryside idyll and the veracity of documentary style photography.

My main references were John Darwell, Scott McFarland, Colin Shaw, Gregory Crewdson, Henrik Duncker and Mark Neville.

At this stage I am posting these pictures to seek peer group critique and feedback before finalising the series.

Crackmoor Fig. 01 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 01 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 01 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 02 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 01 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 03 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 03 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 04 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 04 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 05 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 05 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 07 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 06 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 08 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 08 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 09 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 10 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 10 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 11 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 11 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 12 - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Crackmoor Fig. 12 – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Responses

EP: Knowing that the calf in the kitchen is posed makes me wonder how much information you’re planning on giving the viewer? The challenge to the rural idyll is a very clear message, but despite the staging (particularly the indoor/outdoor shots with their clever lighting or montaging) my initial instinct was that the series is broadly “true”. Perhaps that’s your intention, but then how does the viewer know you’re actually challenging that assumption?

EP: Incidentally I can really see the crewdson influence, well done for working with what is a technically challenging style!

CB: Looks a very cohesive set and I can see how the compositional elements have been very carefully considered. I can see the challenge to the countryside idyll but not sure about the documentary reality aspect. Is that to do with the fact that some images are posed? I hope it isn’t the calf because I would love to think they actually fed it in the kitchen to keep it warm (me being romantic).
Re Scott McFarland – your view was so good that I bought the book! Maybe you should add book reviewer to your list of skills.

CW: I think the research aspects of the modules can encourage students to attempt to be too didactic in their image making. ‘Space’ needs to be left for the viewer to make up their own readings rather than have the photographer making an argument; better to make a suggestion. The images are convincing within a certain genre. They certainly wouldn’t look out of place both technically and stylistically in a Sunday colour supplement and I would mark them highly on that basis rather than them being some comment on the veracity of documentary photography; we know photography is partial anyway just by the pointing of the camera.

CW: Well I have sympathy with the basic premise, having come from a village in northwest Oxfordshire where my family have lived for generations. I’ve made two pieces of work about, motivated by the middle class flight to the country which began in the 70s, ultimately pricing the locals out of the village. One piece was as a photography student preserving locations in the village which had personal meaning for me and then again for my MA 25 years later when I went back and photographed the same locations again from the same spots as near as I could. Simply making a book pairing up the images created the narrative, i.e. the story of the fictionalisation of the village.

Professionally I’ve also colluded in that, needs must. 😀

I did the photography for a brochure for a multinational petrochemical company about delivering diesel to farms. My preferred solution would have been to have spent a few days travelling around in a tanker photographing what happened but it doesn’t work like that most of the time. The art director had designed a layout doing a thumbnail purely from his imaginings for each image required in order for it to be approved by the client. Then we went to fruit farm in Kent and recreated the thumbnails; son of the farmer offering the driver an apple and getting a pat on the head etc. The petrol company supplied their newest tanker and I remember the client insisting that the mud of the farm track be washed off the tyres. So I’ve seen it from both sides and what you have there is a sort of hybrid in that you’ve manipulated the situation in the service of a wider truth.

What impresses me most is how you’ve risen to the challenge of ‘making something happen’. Students rarely appreciate the pressure this creates. You turn up expensively to a location maybe with an entourage of five or six and they’re all looking to you for direction as to how to make something brilliant that’s going to justify your fee. I can’t fault you on that, you’ve made things happen and with an awkward technical solution too. It’s some of the most professionally polished work I’ve seen in my time at the OCA. There are also ways of suggesting that there’s more going on than there really is, often through uncomfortable and counter intuitive positioning of figures and there’s some of that going on too, perhaps unconsciously absorbed from your researches.

Finally a word about narrative, you can be mapping out an area rather than a line, which I believe you’re doing, in which case it may not matter what order the images are in as you’re not telling a chronological story you’re wanting to leave the audience with an overall feeling about what they’ve witnessed.

WR: 1-5 and 11 and 12 are my favourites. I have never critiqued and as I am only just starting out on this course I can give no compelling educated arguments, these are just my instinctive thoughts. Figure 6 is the one I am not sure on but I think with the others I am drawn into to picture but with this one I get stuck on the farmer and the way his looks like he is doing a Russian dance. I can’t undo that now I’ve seen it but my eyes don’t venture any further. I love the images where the person is inside the barns and I have to look in, I am forced to notice things such as the Halloween costume and I really like the farmer in the turquoise apron he almost looks like a mermaid which amuses me and intrigues me at the same time. I hope this helps

A O’N: 1 is great and original. 2, 11, 12 really strong as well especially 12 – can see the Crewdson influence – great control of light and composition. 3, 4, 5 really good as well 5 better than 4 or is it? 6-10 all decent but do 8,9,10 start to take the series in two directions? 10 for instance is a very straight forward image whereas 12 is full of mystery and surrealism. My advice would be – really be specific about the idea and concept of the series then be firm with yourself about what fits and what doesn’t.

I think I’d be basing the whole thing around 12 – It’s a brilliant brilliant image. Be bold. You could go 1,2,3 then either 4 or 5. 6,7 fine – is there enough light in 7 I’m sure there is, you’ll know better. You could drop 8,9,10, keeping 11, 12. Which ever way you go in the end you’ve got a great long-list well done!

How did you get that light onto the caravan? Is there additional lighting in the barn? Hope this is useful.

AO’N: Excellent Steve, this is a really great piece of work! Regards, Allan

MG: 2,4,11,12 are fantastic because of the mood and lighting of dusk and they all have variable gaze. Not keen on 8,9, 10 as they break the mood of the series and look more staged. The posed in the milking shed is excellent. 11 and 12 which are the best shots as they are Edward Hopper like in style and enigmatic. If this series is about the autumn of our farming industry and the farmer and his wife then let them be dark and moody.

AF: 3,5,6,7 I enjoy as a series; the proximity to the subjects and the darkness that surrounds them. The posed shots in an unlikely setting gives them a eye-catching surreality. Reminds me of the atmosphere in some of the Martin Parr, Rhubarb Triangle work …

LK: I like 1 (sets the stage), 2, 3, 5, 11 and 12. I really love 10, but it doesn’t have the same feel and mood as the others. I’d stick with the Crewdson effect you’ve got going here. Really good series as always Steve.

KA: Running out of day here, but great shots. My choices would be the ones that show both inside and outside spaces in the same shot, I love the contrast between the electric light and the outdoor light and the indoor/outdoor textures. Really like how you’ve done these, great modern take on farming.

PH: I like the first one very much because of the play with dimension and perspective, and the others are great as well, but a slightly different style. Only in 1 or 2 cases I think a little bit cropping would draw me more in. but of course it is about “place” as well, I think.

HW: Great set, Steve. I’d stick with the Crewdson vibe too. It works really well.

PH: Your image number one still resonates with me, it´s probably an image you could put on an exhibition or sell to a Texas millionaire… – I did wonder, because I follow your photography already since some time, when you pst it here, whether you also could experiment with a frame outside the image, in case of image 1 that would probably also look fantastic.

NF:  They are great shots i love the saturation and how you have divided some frames in two and others from the window if I can only say I feel the 8th image is the weakest aesthetically but I like how one many is looking at the other as if he is waiting on a reply to something. all the rest made me smile and want to know more about the people in it . I had a sense of the identity of the people in it.

AB: Sorry I’m too late for my comment to be of any help Steve. I love the whole set, particularly the posed shots. There is a strong narrative going on in all of them though, good luck with this assignment.

EF: As others have said, it is an interesting set. Purely on sequencing, I am not sure that no.1 works well as an opening image or a good link to 2. I don’t think you need both 4 and 5. I like 4 because it echoes a number of the other images where we are looking into lit spaces and also conscious of the unlit outside. It gives a sense of humans in a relatively isolated and at times lonely and vulnerable environment.

AO’N: Agree, a good set. I like the composition and lighting. I might add an action shot or two of the people working. I think the stand out shot of non-action is the one with the green machinery in the background, so it might be worthwhile replacing some of the other standing shots with action shots. Well done overall!

BC: To me 2, 3, 4 and 5 all have a very similar rhetorical meaning, they all seem to be talking about or referring to farming as an isolated and hard working occupation and I wonder should you include them all? 2 gives a good sense of the hard work and isolation involved in farming and I agree with Eileen on no 1, I’m not sure its a good opener but it is a strong image and might make a good counterfoil to No 10. Im not sure what no 11 is trying to say? I find no. 12 an very interesting image, theres an interesting narrative going on here and its interesting that this is a woman gazing into the shed while, for example 2,4 & 5 feature a man gazing out.

HW: Great set, Steve. I’d stick with the Crewdson vibe too. It works really well.

Posted in Assignment 5 - Self Directed, Research & Reflection | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Three Different Approaches: Drake, Ewald and Shaw

Uyghur laborers string electric lines across Taklamakan Desert - Carolyn Drake 2007

Uyghur laborers string electric lines across Taklamakan Desert – Carolyn Drake 2007

One of the interesting aspects of this course is the opportunity to discover how contemporary photographers have found new ways to address the age-old subject of breaking down the insider – outside dynamic to explore identity and place. This essay, which looks at Caroline Drake, Wendy Ewald and Chris Shaw follows on from reviews of John Goto (here), Henrik Duncker and Yrjö Tuunanen (here) who have each devised very personal approaches to their work.

I have a tendency towards straight photography, often in the documentary style, and one of the challenges of the Context and Narrative and Identity and Place courses has been to break out from the inherent conservatism of my practice and explore new approaches and new ways to present my work. If there is one feature that marks out contemporary photography in general from work in the 1970’s and earlier it would be the wide range of, often radical, approaches to, what would historically have been, straight documentary projects.

Carolyn Drake – Wild Pigeons

At one time, and not so long ago, a radically different approach to a photographic project might have marked out the photographer as a contemporary artist who uses photography rather than a documentarist so it is interesting to start by looking at a documentary project by a Magnum Photos nominee.

Carolyn Drake became a professional photographer at the age of 30 initially moving to Ukraine to “examine cultural partitions in a country pursuing a unified national identity” (1) and then between 2007 and 2013 basing herself in Turkey whilst traveling into Central Asia to progress two long term projects; Two Rivers, looking at the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers and Wild Pigeons which explores the status of the Moslem Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on China’s Western borders.

I have been unable to source a copy of Wild Pigeons (i) so this review is based on the various, and usually small, selections from the series that can been found on line. This is an inadequate method of review, understanding the flow of a book is as important as being able to see the printed photographers, and it is especially inadequate in this case having noted Ian Johnson’s comment that “This is a challenging book. It requires paging through and studying its sequences several times before its intentions unfold.” (4)

The region is in the midst of an enforced and dramatic drive for modernisation with historic neighbourhoods cleared for the construction of modern cities and a significant influx of Han Chinese workers. A ban on contact with the press and religious beliefs that oppose the depiction of living creatures in artwork were just two of the obstacles that needed to be overcome if Drake was to document the world of the Uyghur people.

“With this project I found myself trying to tell a story about people who are forbidden from describing themselves to the broader world in their own ways; who speak a different language than me and have different religious and intellectual experiences; and who live in a place that is changing rapidly, not by their own choice. I had to ask myself how to make meaningful work considering all of these conditions. The experiments were a response to these deliberations.” (3)

The book is organised into four sections that separate an intriguing mix of straight, dreamily atmospheric and subdued documentary style pictures, collaborative collages and sketches on photographs, straight portraits and manipulated postcard-style portraits.

The landscapes, both urban and rural, have a dusty, misty eeriness, somehow more Marco Polo than twenty first century. There is often great depth to the pictures even though the furthest points may dissolve into hazy horizons; they describe great spaces, grey skies and flat deserts bordering rivers and roads, human subjects are often dwarfed by the landscape. Sean O’Hagen summarises their atmosphere as a “sense of isolation and otherworldliness” (2) and it is this “otherworldliness” that sets these photographs apart from so much documentary photography. Reviewing these images provides an insight into how the public reacted to travel photography in the nineteenth and early twentieth century; this is a place that is not only far from any tourist destination but a truly forgotten corner of China’s sprawling empire. Everything from the landscape to the people and their architecture is novel and Drake’s pictures drawn us in to explore this remote and strange place.

China. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Hotan. A view in the mountains. - Carolyn Drake 2013

China. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Hotan. A view in the mountains. – Carolyn Drake 2013

Much has been made of the collaborative art works that form the second section of this book where Drake relinquished control of her photographs to allow people to collage or graffiti the originals and how in doing so gave a small number of Uyghurs a creative and political voice that they are otherwise denied. The available examples of these collaborations are intriguing and we must assume reveal an unique insight to the Uyghur mind. Darren Byler (5), an anthropologist who edits a collaborative blog focussed on Northwest China and Central Asia, showed the book to both Han Chinese and Uyghur photographers to gauge their reactions; the Han photographers were initially struck by the mixture of high quality photographs and the overwritten and poorly Photoshopped montages but after discussion recognised that by discarding aesthetic or quality goals Drake had found a way to express the suppressed ideas of her collaborators:

“Wow, this book really is about the dreams of people. The idea is not to achieve some high standard of beauty, but to understand the desires of people.” (5)

The Uyghur photographers reacted quite differently, relating very directly to the manipulated pictures and finding narratives that reflected their own experiences.

These responses better explain the collaborative sections of the book than any detached reviewer can hope to achieve. They suggest that these parts of the book are subversive, a message smuggled out of Xinjiang that communicates the fears and dreams of a subjugated people. If we accept that idea then the whole book acquires a political edge that the landscapes and portraits might have failed to achieve in their own right.

A Uyghur taxi driver waits for customers in front of a kebab stall at the night market in Kashgar - Carolyn drake 2008

A Uyghur taxi driver waits for customers in front of a kebab stall at the night market in Kashgar – Carolyn Drake 2008

It is frustrating not to have seen a copy of this publication as I sense the interrelationship between the different styles and approaches in the four sections is important in understanding Drake’s overall intent. However, based on the available photographs, I surmise that she has used the collaborative works as the key that unlocks the meaning of her straight documentary pictures which appear more dream-like as a result. In their own right the collaborative works do not hold the aesthetic appeal of the landscapes and portraits but by offering a tiny window into the minds of their authors they help us understand the overall, sad narrative of the Uyghurs. A narrative that is common to all minorities.

Wendy Ewald – American Alphabet

From the series An African American Alphabet, with sixth grade students from Cleveland Central Intermediate School - Wendy Ewald 2000

From the series An African American Alphabet, with sixth grade students from Cleveland Central Intermediate School – Wendy Ewald 2000

Wendy Ewald’s American Alphabet continues with the themes of alternative approaches and collaboration. This project which arose from a recognition by Ewald that, in American schools, children to whom English was a second language were being taught using primers that reflected white middle-class values based on motifs and educational concepts first devised in the fifties.

Ewald identified that far from being democratic language was a barrier to progress for children from non-English speaking homes and set out to create primers based on her photographs that were relatable to various ethnic groups. Initially photographing Spanish speaking migrants:

“I asked them to think of a word in their own language for each letter of the alphabet, and to assign these words visual signs specific to their culture. I photographed the signs, objects or scenes they selected. When the negatives were developed, the children altered them with Magic Markers, adding the letter and word they were illustrating.” (6)

After working with Latinos she was commissioned by the Cleveland Centre for Contemporary Art to develop a similar project with African American children. This evolved the project from one based on an internationally recognised language to the vernacular language or dialect of black American youths.

These projects are highly collaborative with the children designing the theatrical settings, poses, props and eventually over-writing the prints. It revealed not just the distance between these minority groups and the assumptions of the wider American population but also the huge creative resource that lies latent in schools in deprived areas not just in the United States but in any developed society. Ewald has tapped into this resource to make an educational, political, cultural and artistic statement of real merit

Normal, adj. Typically describing something that is usual or conforms to the standard. From the series American Alphabet: White Girls - Wendy Ewald

Normal, adj. Typically describing something that is usual or conforms to the standard. From the series American Alphabet: White Girls – Wendy Ewald

Ewald might easily have left it there or continued to work with ethic minorities but to explore contrasts and similarities she then evolved the project by working with the students at Philips Academy, an exclusive boarding school in Massachusetts, where she had been a student in the 1960s. The most interesting feature of this series which clearly concentrates on the white middle class that “owns” the American-English language was the choice of words by the teenage female students. They selected words like “tearful”, “sentimental” and “orgasmic” to describe themselves which Ewald says revealed a “sad portrait” and an obsession with sexuality. (6)

From the series American Alphabets - Wendy Ewald

From the series American Alphabets – Wendy Ewald

In 2002 Ewald took the project to Queens in New York City to enable her to work with Arabic-speaking students. To put this in context the so-called Patriot Act had been passed into law in 2001 (ii), the Iraq war was about to start and Ewald found school principals highly protective of their Arab American students but one school cooperated and connected Ewald to a group of children from the Middle Eastern immigrant families.

This project was significantly different from those which proceeded it as Ewald set-out to create an Arabic language as opposed to English primer. To that end the students chose words to represent the Arabic alphabet. In the same way that Ewald saw the Latino, African American and White Girl’s choices revealing cultural and social under currents she  was surprised by the sophisticated choices made by the Arab American children; jar (neighbour) for the letter jim to represent “something like kindness, which is what people must show in the world” (6), fekr (thinking) for the letter fa because “It’s a good symbol. It represents me. I’m a good man because I’m smart” (6).

In hindsight and now understanding the long term impact The War on Terror had on relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in America and Europe we can understand that this project was revealing the underlying fears of young Arab Americans as they saw themselves becoming demonised by ill-thought-through government policies and media attention that verged upon hysteria.

In many ways it is the Arabic series that is the most moving, the strange script and language emphasises the isolation of these young people; their faces, attitudes, poses and clothing mark out their similarities with any group of students but their otherness is highlighted by the foreign script of their language, a language that Ewald points out many of them do not even speak.

Chris Shaw – Retrospecting Sandy Hill

From the series Retrospecting Sandy Hill - Chris Shaw 1986 - 89

From the series Retrospecting Sandy Hill – Chris Shaw 1986 – 89

With no disrespect intended to any of the parties involved Chris Shaw is the antithesis to Ewald and Drake. Instead of being a white, middle-class, college educated American he is a British Northerner who felt so alienated by the “rich kids at college” he lost his way, turning to alcohol and becoming a disruptive element in the late 1980’s at what is now UCA Farnham.

He found his release valve documenting the Sandy Hill housing estate in nearby Aldershot. As a long term resident of the area I can confirm that Sandy Hill was never a pretty place but it was here that Shaw was able to engage with what he describes as “normal people” (7) This project was collaborative only to the extent that Shaw gave away photographs as a way of connecting with people, which, of course, led to more photographs. He created a scrap book of the pictures but lost it on a train to London and it is only recently that he has recreated the scrap book and published it as Retrospecting Sandy Hill.

It took me some time to connect to this series. The scrapbook aesthetic, which Shaw calls “anti-aesthetic” (8), initially looks a little clichéd, although not forced or contrived but it slowly reveals itself as a illuminating way of describing a run-down post war housing estate with its low-rise sixties architecture clustered around urban wasteland originally conceived as an amenity but now scarred by neglect. Shaw’s felt tip graffiti captions and edge-torn prints capture a moment in time, perhaps a mood, where political correctness was far in the future. His captions are often insinuating and suggestive of socially unacceptable behaviour but he avoids patronising or ridiculing his subjects.

As a documentary diary it held my interest, partly no doubt because of the local connection, but were the eighties a period when we were so obsessed with cars? or was this just Shaw’s connection with the residents. At one level it is pure documentary but the informal presentation, casual compositions and printing defuse any political or social messages. He likes his subjects and they are relaxed in his presence, they relate to each other, ordinary working class people pictured without the intellectual smirk that we sometimes think lies behind Martin Parr’s work or the political statement that is inherent in so much British documentary from that same period. I find this refreshing and it allows me to absorb the series without searching for the subliminal message.

From the series Retrospecting Sandy Hill - Chris Shaw 1986 - 89

From the series Retrospecting Sandy Hill – Chris Shaw 1986 – 89

So, given all the differences, where is the connection between Drake, Ewald and Shaw? The answer lies in the most fundamental challenge of documentary photography; on the one hand we ask for objectivity but that suggests detachment and staying firmly in the position of an outsider but we also require a commentary, a subjective statement from the photographer and that only comes with empathy for the subject which in turn demands a breakdown of the insider-outside dynamic.

Despite their quite different intents and motivations Ewald and Drake have found ways to break down the barrier that exists between the documentary photographer and their subjects. Objectivity exaggerates the photographer’s status as an outsider and to move beyond photo journalism in Drake’s case or an art project in Ewald’s they needed to bring themselves and their subjects together, to create a shared intent. They have achieved this through sensitive and meaningful collaboration.

For Shaw, the relationship he developed with his subjects was part therapeutic, perhaps, as he talks of the similarities with the estates he knew in Toxteth (9), even nostalgic but this project is not truly collaborative, there is no relinquishing of authorship or editorial control. Instead he used the sharing of free prints and a common interest in cars as a way to break down barriers and become friends with his subjects, to become a partial insider. There is, in that regard, some similarity to Mark Neville’s (here) various series where his work was directed at his subjects as the audience. It is perhaps telling that Shaw only published Sandy Hill in 2015, thirty years after taking the pictures.

Notes on Text

(i) After completing this review I did find a copy of Wild Pigeon which at time of writing is on order, I may therefore update this review at a later date.

(ii) The Patriot Act or to give it its full title – Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 – was a piece of rushed, some might say “knee-jerk” legislation as a reaction to September 11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks. It gave law enforcement agencies the power to detain immigrants for indefinite periods and search premises without the normal processes of law.

Sources

Books

Internet

(1) Drake, Carolyn (ND) Carolyn Drake (accessed at the photographer’s website 29.11.16) – http://carolyndrake.com/About-2

(2) O’Hagen, Sean (2014) China’s Wild West: Photographing a Vanishing way of Life (accessed at The Guardian 29.11.16) – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/10/china-west-photograph-wild-pigeon-carolyn-drake

(3) Tototazo (2014) Interview Carolyn Drake (accessed at Tototazo 30.11.16) – http://www.fototazo.com/2014/11/interview-carolyn-drake.html

(4) Johnson, Ian (2015) China: What the Uighurs See (accessed at The New York Review of Books 29.11.16) – http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2015/04/13/wild-pigeon-what-uighurs-see/

(5) Byler, Darren (2015) Xinjiang Thoughts on Carolyn Drake’s New Book Wild Pigeon (accessed at Beigewind 29.11.16) – https://beigewind.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/xinjiang-thoughts-on-carolyn-drakes-new-book-wild-pigeon/

(6) Open Democracy (2006) American Alphabets (accessed at Open Democracy 30.11.16) – https://www.opendemocracy.net/arts/ewald_3346.jsp

(7) Farnham Herald (2016) Paris Photographers Love Affair with Sandy Hill Estate (accessed at the Farnham Herald 30.11.16) – http://www.farnhamherald.com/article.cfm?id=105909&headline=Paris%20photographer’s%20love%20affair%20with%20Sandy%20Hill%20Estate&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2016

(8) L’Oeil de la Photographie (Chris Shaw at Garlerie di Jour Agnés b. (accessed at L’Oeil de la Photographie 30.11.16) – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2016/02/01/article/159888556/chris-shaw-at-galerie-du-jour-agnes-b/

(9) O’Hagen, Sean (2015) Chris Shaw” Art college was full of rich kids so I used my camera to speak to normal people (accessed at The Guardian 30.11.16) – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/29/chris-shaw-photographs-normal-people-retrospecting-sandy-hill-interview

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Homage to Colin Shaw

Greg Kellaway, Crackmoor Farm - Steve Middlehurst 2016

Greg Kellaway, Crackmoor Farm – Steve Middlehurst 2016

Despite being particularly interested in post-war British documentary photography I rarely work in black and white. However, this picture was inspired by Colin Shaw’s 1988 series Farmwork (see here) so it seemed only appropriate to process it in monochrome.

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