I woke up this morning with the crash still reverberating through the air of what sounded like one of the last bits of building still standing (an office block) having been brought down at the local demolition site nearby. After breakfast I detoured my cycle ride in to work to take a look. The gates were open and parked outside were several cars with doors left open as workers in high-vis clothing stopped work for their elevenses.
As there's been a truck left parked behind this gate recently (every time they knock off and lock up) it meant that it was only during working hours that I was ever going to get a panorama of the view across the site, to continue the series of weekly images that I've been taking for several months. It's been blocked for a long time. Seeing all the workers I nearly abandoned the plan for another day when I could be more circumspect, but nah, rolled my bike up against a fence and just set myself up in the middle of the open gateway. It definitely …
I've been going through a John Divola deep dive appreciation over the last year or two, and this interview is one of the best out there. Judged on what people and museums seem prepared to pay for his work at auction (comparatively not that much) he's acknowledged but simultaneously over-looked. I can think of a few reasons why that might be the case but as time has gone by for me personally I finally eventually realised he really is up there as one of the all time greats.
Check him out. In this Saint-Lucy interview here he has so many straightforwardly funny, honest and interesting things to say about photography.
He strikes me as a modest artist, and this image from his 'As Far As I Could Get' series is how I imagine he would react to meeting anyone going too far into fan mode, which would probably be me if I met him.
Flat, late afternoon light, after rainfall. I wanted a second go at the metal montage thing I tried one day a couple of months ago. The easy way in to the demolition site found some time ago (and which I've only used once) is a fair walk away being on the far side of the nine acre plot but no clambering over fences involved, just round the back of a gym and stumbling over a pile of collapsed brickwork.
The last time was in bright sunlight which I wanted to try for more interest with the extra complication of hard shadows. but thinking about it maybe soft, low contrast light would help frames merge together down into nothing much and make very solid materials become barely indistinguishable, just a soup. Having said that I shot 600+ frames of the various stacks of metal salvage trying to remember to make variations, for composing across multiple images; putting lines and shapes into different parts of the frame and orienting them across and in and out in alternative ways. That migh…
This truck had been left parked up against the gate at the nearby demolition site, the gate through which I've been taking photographs every weekend for several months now. There is only a small hole in the middle of that gate that is big enough to get a hand and camera through, so I've been effectively limited to this one viewpoint all along, and today this vehicle effectively obstructed most of the field of view. I suspect it's there to help keep out thieves presumably helping themselves to metals, as the gate itself shows signs of many previous attacks and subsequent repair.
The distant line of trees, to the right of the frame, behind a salvage skip and the resting grab-claw, is pretty much the only thing that locates this image as consistent to prior framing, although there is a bit of the caged water tank on the right edge, also being used to prevent the gate being opened.
It took a long time to get this one pan made moving across the rooflights rather than along them, all other attempts before and after failed to complete. This single full-length effort is somewhat blown out and suffers from a fair bit of detail smudging.
The blue-white bright strip at the bottom of the frame is the torn out side of the building, with light flooding in. That was directly in front of me during the exposure. The rectangular skylight in the middle of the picture was directly overhead, and the hole in the roof at the top left was behind me.
Yesterday was terrific, strong light, good for sharp, deep shadows. The demoltion crew had all left the big factory site nearby that they've been tearing down for the past few months, and I'd spotted a new way in around the back of a gym that didn't involve me scaling the fence this time.
Not that I had any new idea of what to do with this 'one-more time' I've been wandering these broken down places for more than ten years. It's so easy to come back with a memory card full of nothing in particular, just taking pictures of what is there, without finding something to go beyond that.
So I squeezed through a gap and stumbled in over a toppled red brick wall with the intention to do close, overhead pictures of broken materials, with a view to combining multiple frames later. Today was putting the frames together, the intention to find the point where the depicted objects started to lose their specificity, which I'm happy is coherent with the bigger picture…
Whoever was doing the production design on The Upside went into culture hyperdrive, there was art everywhere. Being set in New York it was great to see that in the billionaire's penthouse, amongst the Twomblys and Ruscha were plenty of photographs. Photographs as art, a concept that despite some lip service, never really took off in Britain.
In these screenshots, over by the fireplace is a Joel Meyerowtiz 70's street photo, the black and white gas tower is perhaps by, or is in the manner of, Vera Lutter, and the portrait with hands looks like it's of painter Georgia O'Keefe so I'm guessing it's by Alfred Steiglitz, (yeah, it is).
Imagine a set designer in a British production using photographs as art in a chic appartment location; unlike painting or a bit of sculpture it would be so unexpected as to be likely deemed too distracting to the drama and taken down.
I thought I'd cycle home along the river after work and the route takes me past the closed down horticultural chemicals factory. On Sunday I was thinking of going back in for one last shoot of the rooflights but there always seemed to be someone around so I eventually slunk away having bottled it, reassuring myself I'd taken some a couple of weeks ago anyway so what was the point. (Always go back, is the rule I pretended to forget.) This whole side of the building is gone now. Light floods the space where it stood for many decades.
Today I remembered a book I'd read in a previous lifetime. It was a collection of contemporary essays by different writers on their pactise of zen in the West. The most memorable of these was by someone who wrote about being a music student, several years earlier.
She had entered a prestigious conservatoire as a well-regarded, technically gifted pianist and after a year or so of studying managed to obtain a prized practice session once a week for a short period with the most highly regarded professor at the school, who rarely worked with students on a one-to-one basis. From the start the atmosphere in the room was relaxed but sombre and with little conversation. After a protracted wait to find what she would be asked to play she was eventually instructed to produce a particular single note on the piano, which she did. After some time had passed she was asked to repeat the note once again. As you can probably guess this was all that her classes ever consisted of. (Presumably the tu…