Simon Rowe – Local Authority
Simon Rowe photographs a council estate in London, showcasing the stark reality of not only the environment, but also of the inhabitants, gaining access into the lives of a select through who call the estate home. The estate is due to renovation which will leave it’s habiters without a home, the body of work paints a picture of the views the residents share within the estate. The body of work is beautiful, showcasing the personalities and expressing the visuals of the ‘rough and ready’ qualities that the estate shows. The mixture of greatly composed landscape images of the flats with the crisp, stunning portraits of the residents gives us a far better understanding of the estate as a whole, who lives there, how they live and more importantly gives us a personal, relate able experience which we can all share. The body of work not only shows the investment of rebuilding and investing into improving the area but also highlights some of the key social and political problems which surround the estate, and estates similar to these around the country. Such as poverty, unemployment, boredom and privacy which the constant reminders of cctv cameras within the project, showing us that the government is watching. I love the body of work and it really does bring back memories of growing up in London next to places such as these.
Richard Billingham – Ray’s a Laugh
I’ve been researching alot about Billinghams work due to dissertation and i’ve slowly started to appretiate the work steadily more and more each time I look at it, not only for the photographing values, but also the bravery of showcasing ones family to the world to see in this manor. Billingham showcase life growing up in the late 1990’s with an alchoholic father Ray in a poor household in Birmingham. The body of work simply shows his family in an unconvensional manor but striking portraits of his immediate family living in a poor household. I’m sure by now everyone has seen the Ray’s a Laugh series, so I wont go any further into the project, but I want to look a little bit into how it can relate to landscape and commenting on the political issues that arise when looking at poverty. The opening image of the book is an image of the street taking outside his window in the flat, rich with colour structure and straight away gives us perspective as to the living conditions, with the large shadow of the block of flats lingering over, almost as a metaphor for the poverty lingering over these residents lives (at least in my mind). Landscape images also need to narrate some sort of story (well they done need to, but I would like mine to) Billinghams opening images does exactly that. The work is then followed by showing us his family. The body of work as a whole comments on the political situation at the time within the UK’s govenments policies to the working class. It brings it’s argument across very well, without the need to backup the intension with text. Ray’s a Laugh makes us question the state of poverty striken households and begs us to question change. A great, well executed photostory with many agendas and meanings.
images from: http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/richard_billingham.htm
Isidro Ramirez – 360
Isidro’s body of work, 360 captures buildings in East Berlin which are by nature very dull, which comes from their construction in former USSR times. Isidro photographs each corner of the naturally unappealing buildings and layers the images ontop of each other to give us a unique look at the buildings structure and aesthetics. the body of work gives as a view which can be hard to digest at first but gives us a new, very much experimental way of looking at political problems we face. Looking at East Berlin’s history with USSR in this way is a very unique and certainly clever way of questioning and rasieing discussion about the topic, much more so than generic photography of the buildings. I like Isidros work as its shows us that there are many ways to look at photographing something whilst still maintaining your intentions within the frame. 360 offers a way of opening our minds to being more experimental and creative with our photographic process. Which is why I have chosen to look at this body of work – to be more creative.
Isidro Ramirez – Closed for Winter
I want to look at another body of work by Isidro, as they both carry very strong agendas but show them in two drastically different ways. Closed for Winter is a project about his home town, Cadiz, Spain during the off holiday season and how it takes its toll on the environment. The body of work depicts environments which in peak holiday season would attract up to three times the towns population with bustling holiday makers. Isidro has cleverly captured these scenes from 1999-2001 within the off season of tourism removing the human element from what should be heaving with people enjoying their holidays. The lack of human interaction and presence offers spooky yet visually rewarding experience, which makes me question what the owners of these businesses do during the off season, how do they survive without tourism? The body of work closely resembles that of Martin Parrs holiday resort images in my mind, showing the exact opposite to his images. The body of work also shows a direct separation between the ideology of fun holiday resort environments, as Isidro comments in his introduction: “But however special these long summers were, a bittersweet feeling always lingered. We knew that after this short and intense burst of activity, once September arrived, we would be abruptly returned to the tedious routine of our off-season lives”. Great body of work with clear narrative and well thought out concept, really enjoy both Closed for Winter and 360 for expanding my mind and trying to look at situations in a unique way.
One does not do a photographic set of landscapes of Great Britain without looking at the work of John Davies. Davies work captures beautifully rich images of Britain from the early 1980’s to 2009 showing various parts of the UK and making continues comments throughout, each images representing as a different topic of discussion. Davies work is now seen as historical artefacts of Great Britain and will be on show in Dubai in March 2016. Davies work captures Britain in an innocent light, showcasing what once was and what is now. I would love to see Davies photograph in cities in the present day. Every photograph has a different meaning and talking point behind it, the image in Hulme, Manchester is so far my favourite, showing an emerging Britain lifestyle in a way which I’ve never seen before, big expansive land surrounding the isolated house on the right and empty roads, i really enjoy these images. I also love the way that Davies photographs looking down on the landscape, which exemplifies the feel of the images and makes the viewer feel powerful, as looking down on things gives the impression of importance. For Davies, getting high is his technique on photographing landscapes, almost every shot of his are from a higher than eye-sight level, which I adore. Davies work shows us how many different meanings within the images but also shows us a new and simple way of giving the viewer the impression of being in control, by forcing them to look down. Great stuff!
Hulme, Manchester – 1984
I was looking through the Cargo Collective website one evening looking for inspiration when I stumbled across this Russian photographer called Maximys Chatsky, his photographs of blocks of flats in Russia are very visually appealing to the eye. The symmetrical traits they have remind me that or architecture design and mathematics, which is odd considering the age of the buildings, but to me they scream precision to make use of as much space as possible. The structure and texture of the images jump out of the screen to you, very nice images indeed. In terms of his photographs, in my mind at least, less is more. They less things in the foreground to distrcat you, the more powering and impactful the image feels. Having said that, I love the shot with the bright green and yellow cars contrasting the green trees ontop of the green panels of the flats, fantastic.