This is a poem about me. I went to my first Liverpool F.C game in 1987 and my first Widnes R.L.F.C game in 1983. So aged 3 and 7 them memories etch into your brain. A right of passage what ever you go onto. Know one can take your teams away from you. I was lucky enough to spend time in a recent exhibition in Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno. I the presence of a Box used by artist Gareth Griffiths to take his son’s to match at Anfield. The power of ‘The Box’ moved me…
The English born Mavrick of the photo essay documenting style for me was the greatest. Im not sure if its the color that adds to work even more. Photographers like Tim Page also shot in color but not to the standard of Larry Burrows. He went to Vietnam as a pro war hawk and soon started documenting the unfolding disaster. The shots of Yankee papa 13 and its helicopter machine gunman i am sure is an influcance on the scene in Full metal Jacket that shows the wired jock gunman shooting inocent people in the fields. I can only try to understand how it must have felt to be out there from the images. However the jounrney from bravado to adrenaline to death that burrows shows makes the viwer feel close to the action.
The recent pleasure i gained from viewing the Tim Hetherington book inferdel spark a massive resemblance to Burrows work. Both lost tragically early in career but that sence of empathy and honesty that they show the Batallinons is unique. The Frontline is were wars are fought. sadly we still cover this up with spin and public guilt and there unataineable sacrifice of the soliders greatest asset life…
So today was the day…
I got my hands on the book I’ve dreamt about for a long time. No more will I have to look it images on-line. I got hold of the legend that is An Aperture Monograph by Diane Arbus, my first lady of photography. The minute I bought the book I thought I want to write about it. I want to understand it. So I started reading through the Severn or so pages put together from various Arbus interviews before her untimely death.
The front cover of the two twins is the story of the next 50 or so images. Life is the same thing but everything is different. We judge on the discrepancy rather than happiness. They transpose sadness into our own grief and our lack of understanding of the situation we structure around our opinions.
I don’t think you can say the book is to show anything specific as it was never put together by the artist. However you get a feel of image impact, isolation, turmoil and confrontation. Arbus captures eyes so well they haunt in every image. The much talked about boy in the park image taken in central park in 1970
Is one of my favourite images of all time. What i love more is this image captures the essence of the decisive moment invented by Henri Cartier-Bresson and the fine line of Stadium and Punctum devised by Roland Barthes
what he terms, the stadium and the punctum. The Studium refers to the range of meanings available and obvious to everyone; it is unary and coded, the former term implying that the image is a unified and self-contained whole whose meaning can be taken in at a glance (without effort, or ‘thinking’)
The Punctum is a detail or “partial object” that attracts and holds the viewer’s (the Spectator’s) gaze; it pricks or wounds the observer.
We see the stadium in the image of the alleged psychopath child, the posed image. The image without information has a second world war germanic feel to it again you are caught by the eyes. What really pull’s you in creating the Punctum of image is the grenade which sends a cold shudder down your spine.
This is also the decisive moment as described by Bresson
“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression”.
This is shown by the selection of contact images from the central park image
Depicting the sweet child at play. I’m not sure what Arbus said to her subjects but her befriending of subjects resulting in lasting looks. I think in a time when it may have been frowned upon to capture transvestite, dwarfs and people with disability. Arbus skill to control the image and get the subject to pull the face we least expect. The down syndrome children laughing and joking. The cross dressing entertainer looking sad and troubled something people would never have seen and been challenged by.
The images that have had the most influence on my work are the empty spaces. loveless and striking
The Swan lake image I see as Arbus on her travels to new unvisited places that she would venture to photographing the people who inhabit them.
Maybe I see Arbus in the wrong way to me she is strength and reason to take on and photograph the mundane.
The work of Roberts Adams is iconic in visual or written text. I’m not trying to push my work in the direction of New-typography. The power Adams commands with capturing of large space is very important. It is critical to the way you approach you work. In time I have come to understand this. For example the two churches I was recently on reviewing the situation after. I didn’t attempt to take a picture in the second empty church. Although it been an empty space and the stronger of the two buildings it felt cluttered. Adams use of space was bold covering what some may see a mundane.
The image of the house with all its procession is beautiful in its perfect composition. A plain picture to most we are given various things to read.We have a House, Garden, door, sky, window, shadows, roof, path and grass.The viewer is almost pulled into to tell the story of what is depicted. Your eyes lead up the path to the door into the lady in the living room. However its not a lady it’s a vase perfectly positioned. The viewer is not clear if any human is present inside the house. The reason I picked the image is that the human form gives it a totally different feel. Your focal point is totally different. There is always a clean crisp feel to Adams work. The dark light, which dominates the image gives it a negative feel overall. The viewer dose not feel invited into the house as well as having little knowledge of what is going on inside the house. Is it empty, is it occupied?
This image by Robert Adams offers a lot less in the way of information but what it does offer is critical. In the image, we have the black building, window, lights, paintings, tops of hedges, blurred trees and the roof. The blurred tree tells us the image is taken in low light with a longer exposure. The bright light peering out of the darkness gives the feel of a family environment. Again Adams places the light and pictures perfect on the divides between the windows. Your eyes are pulled into the shot from left to right to the warm glow of the window.
Concluding on the two images that I have looked at shows the relevant signs that life have on an image. It tot tally changes the viewers opinion of the image. The light been on in the house creates a visual syntax of safety in the darkness. The closed door on the house creates a vision of un-welcomness.
Diane Arbus said “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know” I think this body of work documents well. I think this is a nice way to describe them. ‘Its like opening the curtains in the morning, you know that they are there but until you open them you do not know what the day is like…’
The work by Chris Capozziello documents his brother Nick who is a sufferer of Cerebral palsy. It was covered in the november 2011 feature in British Journal of Photography. The above image was the lead in the story which caught my eye. I thought it looked cool and it made me think of Robert Mapplethorpe era work when he did the cover for Patti Smith‘s album Horses. It also made me think of the George Michael Album Listen without Prejudice. Nick Comments how he has had the images for some time but didn’t want pity for Nicks struggle. So taking the image on first impression, face value. I question with only the information the image provides why i think its cool. It’s the old chestnut Smoking and the leather jacket. The classic James DeanRebel Without a cause look.
The second Image again makes you think of Music and long hours sat in the recording studio. When in fact we Know Nick may well be waiting for his pain to pass. The passage with his work talks about his faith. The the cross in the window shows Chris looking for hope and belief to carry on.
I can’t really find to words for this image as i find the pain so graphic in it. I feel I must show these with the questions I have brought with the musical element I saw. This image show of the face that indoors we never see…
The eyes… Chris post operation
Im touched by the plight of Nick Capozziello. I feel the images are justified in that they give normal old me an insight into other people struggle. so beautifully documented
The 1863 the first tube opened in London, the District and circle line. Now it runs like an artery through length and breadth of London. The above Dictionary description describes it well ‘conveying or containing liquids or Gases‘ A smell and special dirt all of it own and a heating system all of it own. Artists have often taken influence in the underground Photographer George Rodger to the Sculpture work of Henry Moore with his cramped twisted torso of blitz sheltering families. I stumbled upon Mark Paulda’s work on Twitter. The collection of his work in London is totally breathtaking. Mark captures the grit and inner beauty of the growl of London. His underground work however for me stands on the merits of it own two feet. You can almost hear The Jam’s Down in a tube station at midnight playing in these images ” the dissident echos of far away voice boarding far away trains”.
The image I have picked to look before you check out his site was a difficult choice. However the relevance of the image was all the square tiles on the wall for me. They made me think about all the information that passes through and around us a we move. Card Transactions emails phone calls… The use of infinity in the images shows the endless struggle of life on the commute. A sense of isolation and tranquility are also captured in the image. It also captures the distortion that can find while sat on the train and thinking ‘oh i can change at this stop’ and 10 mins later you are still walking in the control of the underground…