Surfaces and strategies – week 1

A report of recent progress on my Yeats/Heaney major project is posted elsewhere in this journal: First visit to the Yeats country

This was essentially an initial exploration of the places that will feature in my proposed photo book contrasting the landscapes of W B Yeats and Seamus Heaney. The Heaney limb of the project is now largely complete after two extended visits to Northern Ireland. I will be returning to Sligo and Galway in the Autumn (when the light should be more atmospheric)  to capture further images of the landscapes associated with Yeats

Otherwise, this first week of the module has been taken up with completing the Ed Ruscha challenge. The benches of Bognor Regis seemed a suitably banal subject, but providing poignancy in their numerous inscriptions and dedications. Some benches were in a state of decay or overgrown with weeds. Other benches offered vistas to the open sea; in other cases, photographing them in situ offered insights into the life and ambience of this somewhat down-at-heel seaside resort with all its associated tackiness, an aspect of British life so memorably captured by Martin Parr in his series The Last Resort (1986). The resulting book can be previewed via the following link:

http://www.blurb.co.uk/books/8773207-benches-of-bognor-regis 

And here are two images of the book as published:

 

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The other activity undertaken was the “rephotography” exercise. This involved two views of the site of the old Larnaca works (a former leather goods factory) in Bermondsey taken over a six-year interval  from the same vantage point. The two images were then photographed as a diptych, showing the astonishing pace of development of the capital’s formerly deprived areas:

 

Grange Garden 1

 

 

On the theme of rephotography, I was reminded of the presentation in an earlier module of the work of Nick Brandt in his series “Inherit the Dust” where he rephotographed lifesize images of animals against a backdrop of  their former habitat, now ruined by human intervention (see example below):

 

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Underpass with elephants (Nick Brandt, 2015)

 

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