Friday, 27 May 2016

art fairs.....on telling stories, working in series and ways to show art

Photo London at Somerset House 2016 © Caroline Fraser

One week, two photography shows, a book fair and plenty of food for thought.

First up, Photo London at Somerset House.

Bigger than last year, and so much busier. Expensive too.

So much to see that people got tired, and had to have a little sit down under some scrumpled up photos.

I started in the portacabins and found a work that instantly caught my eye.

A varnished photographic collage made by twin brothers.

Right up my street. So much so that I asked the price.

Only £42,000.

I resisted.

doug and mike starn 'the no mind not thinks no things'

I reckon I'll make my own.

For size,  execution of an original idea and emotional impact it was hard to resist Nick Brandt's series of 100inch and larger monochrome prints from his series 'Inherit the Dust'.

The series highlights the loss of animal habitat in Africa.

I found them very moving and of extraordinary quality.

Nick Brandt 'inherit the dust'

Nick Brandt 'inherit the dust'

Which got me to thinking about the strength of work in series. Something I have been aiming towards for a while.

There were several series on show....

Photographs of highly respected physicists' (working on quantum mechanics) blackboards around the world from the series 'Momentum' by Alessandro Guijarro.

.....'bridging the gap between science and art'

from Momentum by Alejandro Guijarro

Or what about children's playgrounds around the world.

James Mollison 'playgrounds'

Described further on James Mollison's website....

'Various scenes of laughter, tears, and games demonstrate the intense experiences which happen in the playground. For each picture, Mollison sets up his camera during school break time, making multiple frames and then composing each final photograph from several scenes, in which he finds revealing “play” narratives.'

Not as simple as it might first appear, and I didn't pick up on the constructed play narratives in the way intended, but found the series fascinating none the less.

So what I need now is a brilliant idea for a series that takes me around the world at someone else's expense. Ideas on a postcard please.....

And talking of postcards, I do struggle a bit with some of the statements about artists' work.

For example, the text below

He could have just written;

' I really like clouds and rocks'

'they show that nature is much more powerful than humankind'

Add caption

The stand out, most interesting piece of work for me was the reworking of a true story of a group of failed Arctic adventurers by Christina de Middel. 

Jan Mayen  is about a group of scientists who didn't wish to lose face after a failed adventure, so they constructed a photographic record of a fake 'landing' on an Icelandic beach , pretending that it was the island of Jan Mayen that they never reached. Christina has used sound found imagery and combined it with her own work to tell a story of her own, blurring further the line between fiction and reality.

Jan Mayen by Christina de Middel

detail from Jan Mayen by Christina de Middel

It reads more like a book, and got me thinking about storytelling with photography.

In fact the more I got thinking the more I felt that I need to try harder.

Stories, series, books.....

there is nothing like an overwhelment of images to get the creative juices going.

I haven't even got you to the book fair or FixPhoto

but I have created a new collective noun (I think).

Time for some lunch.

Martin Parr sandwiches

Monday, 9 May 2016

the new sea wall at camber which I discover a plentiful supply of textures for my photography

sea wall © caroline fraser 2016

The new sea wall at camber Sands is almost finished.

Men in orange are putting finishing touches to the railings so that dogs and people don't fall off.

A building project costing millions of pounds is almost done.

Rocks from Norway are settled into their new home.

I have 1999 photos documenting the building process ready to make into the movie, the book and the t-shirt.

sea wall camber sands © caroline fraser

 Cyclists have space to ride alongside the dog walkers and the kite surfers.

sea wall camber sands © caroline fraser

Cones are few and far between.

Shiny new life rings are taking their place.

And a wrapped blue thing  awaits unveiling.

sea wall camber sands © caroline fraser

Children have a new place to play.

sea wall camber sands © caroline fraser

Grown ups have a new place to hide.

Charlie Rock is long gone, and his rocks are all tidy behind the wall.

charlie rock © caroline fraser

charlie's rocks

The surveyors have finished their calculations.

And the numbered pieces are all slotted into place.

The joins are joined.

The car park is large and fully equipped.

disabled parking

and footprints are preserved for posterity.

Helpful signs are up

And sculptures adorn the view across the marsh.

The concrete is smooth and tempting.

Textures and markings catch my eye ; they will be useful for composite images, but also as a record of how it all looks before wind, rain and sand take their toll.

The seagulls will also do their bit.

This wall could keep me busy for ever.

I mustn't let it keep me from the beach....

The view from the other side is quite stunning.

Camber Sands