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Showing posts from May, 2018

John Divola: Zuma #5, S. Ca. 1977

When I first came across John Divola's photographs way back when, I never really engaged with them. He was cool. Maybe they were too kinetic, vivid, flashy for me, too something.

This print on sale on eBay fills me with appreciation for what he was doing. Maybe because I ended up overlapping a bit, (looking for pictures in abandoned old buildings) but I'm fully engaged now.

One big difference is that he was going in there ready to add to the subject, whether that be throwing things into the frame during the exposure or bringing spray paints along and introducing his own mark-making, sensitive to the passing light and chaotic arrangements of objects. Looking at this print I can imagine how in the zone he was making these, and the satisfaction he must have got from what he was doing. I've come to realise, a bit belatedly, he is one of the greats.

Liz Deschenes, Rates (Frames per Second), 2018

Collectordaily review

FPS (30)


I went back a couple of times to the disused factory at site d today, intending to go into other buildings and do more panning of roof-lights high above, but each time found a high-vis vehicle parked immediately out front and I didn't want to push my luck, which I probably have too much already. At first I thought it was maybe a paramedic and some kid had been inside (or daring to go on the roof) and got hurt and they were attending. I retreated to a distance and waited and in half an hour the only activity I saw was someone dressed in black get out of the car to stretch his legs.

Back home and having checked online local news and there's no incident showing up. So I went back after a couple of hours and from a distance could see the car was still there, right in front of the factory entrance.  Maybe bad timing and they were paramedics parked up on standby in a really out of the way place, or else the security has been stepped up.

Lincoln Uni art/photo shows 2018

Degree show link

factory ~4300

Michael Northrup: Dream Away

A photographic timeline of a six year relationship, article on It's Nice That website.

factory cathedral

I have less than zero interest in going back to places to take further photos. Once I've been, I've been. It's a nice illusion to believe in getting something the first time and that's it, (or else accept having got nothing of worth at all, pah). But no, one has to go back. Many times. Beyond the limits of mental endurance, and deep into the area of un-bearableness, which causes a heaviness of being, I find. Back, back and back again. And then more. But subsequently when arriving I usually have a sinking feeling that I've over gone back and there's nothing more I can do. That dismal feeling is not the case at site D, yet, but it's only been a mere five or six times so far, at site A it must have been at least fifty, many of them in the middle of the night.  The fear of getting caught (again), is also a deterrent, to wanting to go back and today I was met with two security staff after an hour and a half, just as I was leaving. They watched my slow exit off t…

in a hole, etc.

The prospect of editing photographs, if it ever looms particularly large, is an effective way to get me to wash dishes or clean the whole house instead. I occasionally daydream about putting in the time to review everything and shortlist down to a bunch of folders which pull together various ideas that have been recurring over several years as well as some one-off. These folders would, in daydream-editing-land, have titles like 'HOLE', 'INTERIOR', 'LIMB', 'MOON', 'HEDGE', 'NEW BUILD HOMES THROUGH TREES', 'MIRROR', 'SHADOW', etc., in big text across the full bleed front covers. There, I'm exhausted just writing about it all. Still, I did get so far today as to delete a load of gigabytes from my eMac that I would do editing on, hypothetically and it now has a lot more than 1 GB free on the hard drive . But immediately after that I felt impelled to go and and finally wash up a week's worth of dishes and the momentum …

hedge, previously

Dungeons and Dragons and dressing up

A BBC online article today covered the resurgence of fantasy board gaming.  I found the thoughts of participants and an academic pretty much also covers a lot of territory with increasing gender fluidity.

"I think the escapism is the best bit," says 27-year-old gamer Hannah Yeates. "For a few hours you can become a completely different person living a completely different life, making decisions you'd never make and forgetting what's happening in the real world...It's liberating." Prof James Newman, film lecturer at Bath Spa University; "There is potentially something appealing about the limitations of board games. Their altogether more symbolic and iconic pieces and counters mean you have to imaginatively fill in the gaps."

Richard Ansett

Baron Raimund von Stillfried: Samurai, (1881)

'The Manic Street Preachers' (no, I'm not a fan) have used this hand-tinted photograph for the cover of their latest album, and it was the huge backdrop through their set in Belfast today, one location of 'The Biggest Weekend' festival. I'd never seen it before or even heard of the photographer but it's a breath-taking image and I couldn't take my eyes of it. Hats off to their art director James Isaacs. Photography is totally amazing.

Gary Numan - Are 'Friends' Electric? 2018 The Old Grey Whistle Test - Fo...

step up

Mohammed Abed: Palestinians run for cover from tear gas, May 14, 2018

The use of gas by Israel.

in-camera post photography

Back to the factory at site D one more time, to face my fears and ascend the metal staircase bolted to the end wall. Not something I fancied doing previously, considering the increasing dereliction, scrap theft and fear of heights, but I wanted to try and potentially incorporate three different plains in the same photo; the mirror reflecting the camera on the steps, the roof structure above the mirror frame, and the ground visible between the steps below. It didn't quite work out like that but was worth facing the fear and climbing to the top. The staircase was built to enable hoist operators to get to their suspended control box just below the roof. (Load capacity was rated at 40 tons.) At times it seems almost feasible to create in-camera complexity resembling some post-photography strategies.



end wall

mushy peas and chips face

Pan fail pool


Idris Khan: Every Bernd and Hilla Becher Spherical Type Gasholder One panel triptych, 2003

Thomas Barrow, Cancellations (Brown) – Field Star, 1975

Bernd And Hilla Becher: Gasbehälter bei Wuppertal (Gas tank near Wuppertal), 1966

wire sky

framing objects in opposite directions

In my ignorance yesterday with the first couple of images taken inside one of the disused old factory buildings I'd been startled to see roof girders and panes surrounding the rectangle of the mirror frame -  'what's all that?' before thinking to look above my head to see what was obviously being included. When taking these outside it had just been sky. So from then on I was thinking about the framing in three dimensions. It wasn't just about attempting to square up a frame around the floor objects in front of the camera placed on the ground, but also try and align, or misalign, to some extent with the overlapping elements high above my head.

I was also dialling down the EV to hold onto dark tonalities with a lot of these floor shots.


This was a hard picture to get today, but was mostly the motivation for going back to D today. A trench had been excavated across the full width of the factory, about three or four feet deep. It looked fairly recently dug, maybe to stop vehicles driving around inside and stripping kit out. I climbed down into it and hit the ten second self-timer. Getting back out in a hurry wasn't so easy and grit was pouring onto the camera. Two shots and I was done on that.

oil #2

I was looking for rich colouration marks on the floor from chemicals and rust, seeing them as  referring to paint pigments on canvas but most places it was pretty much grey and black materials.

oil #1

Factory record

The colour of nervousness

I went back a couple of hours later, with the mirror, as a continuation of last summer's picture making at Site D. Lately I've been pondering splitting the mirror somehow to literally break up the frame, emulating the effect of Thomas Barrow, who scratched his negatives, or even drawing lines from corner to corner with a black marker pen, but oh, I don't know.

As I got to the end of the long, deserted road past dilapidated industrial buildings a couple of cars pulled in behind me. It's a lonely road, no-one goes down there. The drivers seemed to know each other. They turned their engines off. I waited at the roadside for a bit hoping they'd disappear but they seemed to be set to wait for something so after a few minutes I impatiently headed in rather than heading home.

Last time I was there security had warned me off entering the factories but today I dived inside through a torn-down door. I was half expecting to be followed inside and have a different kind of conv…

Wire and shadow.

I remember a photography lecturer many years ago querying the idea of taking topographic style photographs in England, the light wasn't the same as in California. He seemed to have a point, even though in hindsight one could have referred to Bernd and Hilla Becher, the Europeans whose work was predominantly made in Germany, northern Germany, the Ruhr; but as a consequence their images seemed fairly miserable in comparison. Baltz did a commission, Maryland, at a higher latitude, and despite the flat light, it was a success. The weather might have looked cold and the tonal range sunk down around the deeper greys but the images were still clearly his, and amongst his best.

But Richard Woodfield at Trent was right about that blast furnace light having a special place in New Topographics and when just that kind showed up this weekend I was anxiously impelled to go take some pictures - despite feeling too old to be doing this anymore and a bit nervous about ending up having yet another …

Thomas Barrow: Cancellations, 2012