Monday, 20 September 2010

Sally Mann love

2 weeks ago we went to the Photographers' Gallery to see Sally Mann's exhibit. It was amazing. I've mentioned before that I love here work so was pretty excited to get to see the real images up close and personal.

She had 4 different series of images on display. The first images where from Faces, which were intimate and personal portraits of here children. These photographs where a result of here earlier work Immediate Family.

Because of her use of antique cameras the final result feels raw and honest. The images contain drips, marks and fussy lines which all add to the uniqueness of each portrait. All of the photographs are a close crop of the face and often blurred. This gives an impression of the subject rushing as if they couldn't stay for very long. I think they give the feeling of a memory, only the most prominent features or an expression defines that person are captured clearly. The image featured above is in my opinion one of the best.

The actual photographs where huge. Mann is well know for using large format cameras but these were the biggest out of the whole collection. This made it very easy to see all the detail and the sublet changes in tone. The room was darkly lit which also add to the mysterious, memory like atmosphere.

Upstairs was the rest of her collection was split into three sections. The biggest part of this was dominated by Immediate Family. I had seen a lot of these images before so it wasn't a surprise for me, but it was great to see the real size of the images rather than the tiny versions printed in books. Next was the series Deep South with were amazing. These were my favourite images out of the whole collection. The image seemed to glow as they had a strange kind of yellow white where the image was brightest. Again because the landscapes were photographed using an antique camera and had the feeling of a memory, or a haunted land.

I had never before images Mann as a landscape photographer but she really does capture some amazing stuff. The gosly mist and strange shapes definatly make the audience view the landscape in a differnt way.

The last images were What remains. This captured decaying bodies found in nature. She photographs through all the stages of decomposition. There was so much detail in the images, and in one even Mann's finger print could be seen. After going round the images I sat in a film for a few moments that interviewed/documented Mann and her work. It appeared at the moment that she is very interested in death as she was filmed photographing her dogs bones. But the images don't look gory or gross but are interesting and in their own way very beautiful.

Part of the reason I like her work so much is that is done using old cameras and techniques. This creates such a contrats to the highly polsihed images that are produced today that it intrigues me. These processes will be something I will try and explore this term at uni.

All images are copyright The Photograohers' Gallery.

Sunday, 12 September 2010


So at the end of August me and Keith went camping to Greenbelt. We volunteered for the Visual Arts section. I've been to Greenbelt every year since I was 13, but this was the first year that I got involved with the Visual Arts. My normal routine at GB is to just hang out and go to gigs. None of the stuff in the day usual interest me so in the past I have volunteered with the Kids festival. This year I though the Visual Arts sounds way more fun and interested so signed up, even though we both weren't too sure what we would be doing.

We both ended up working in gallery spaces. Keith's gallery was quite big and had a jewellery/photography exhibition and a piano made out of water. I had a collection of illustrations by Bobby Baker. The illustrations are of Bobby's journey though mental illness, they are funny, sad and most importantly eye opening to what it is like to experience metal illness. I loved working on this exhibit. It was great to see people go round looking at the drawings and then drawing their own response on a blank wall. It was amazing to see how so many people could relate to what she had gone though.
I worked 4 hours a day in the gallery and I learn't a lot about looking after a gallery space. I worked along two guys and had some great conversation with them. A main dominant of these conversation was what talks we had been and what we wanted to go to. I had planned on doing my usual of not looking at the day stuff and only turing up to the gigs at night. But I heard about some interesting talks going on and then Keith also was up for the talks, so I went along and was really inspired. The main focus of the talks we went to were on community.

It was good to experience more of the festival and not just focus on the music. I was excited about seeing Martin Wilson's work as its a style of photography I have never seen before. He uses 35mm colour transparency. His final images are contact sheets which create one giant image rather than different individual images.

This is the image that was created at last years Greenbelt and unveiled at this years festival. I think its really interesting How he manages to make all the l
ines match up. No photoshop or editing is done to the films. If he goes wrong he has to start again. This is amazing how he can remember what he has photographed and how it will match up with other frames later on in the overall images.

Its a style that I never seen before and I think its really creative. I don't love his images, I think they are a great idea. They look good in real life as well, all the detail is really clear. I liked how in the image above in one of his frames a tiny part of his foot can be seen on the edge. I think that its great, a mistake that adds character and isn't trying to be too perfect.

Another great highlight was Foy Vance. I saw him live last year but he was even better this year as he was playing on the main stage and sounded amazing.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


I found this photographer.

She is called Anna Williams and is a NY based photographer. I like her work.

Her work is really simple. She adds detail by food crumbs and table decorations. The messiness of the food makes it look
appetising and real. Its not styled to appears perfect and untouchable but rather the imperfect appearance of her photographs help the viewer connect to her images creating a feeling of homemade goodness.

As soon as I saw her work I was reminded of the work of Irving Penn.

Penn also photographed food, but created a different atmosphere with his images. He made the viewer uncomfortable at the imperfections of the food.

William's photography draws on the senses of smell and taste as well as visual appreciation. By photographing the texture of the food the viewer automatically reference similar food that they have experienced. Thus automatically the viewer can image the feel, smell and taste of the food. The styling of the image also creates the feeling of warmth and homeliness. The background and table decorations are neutral enough for most people to connect with and unimposing so they don't distract the eye.

Rather with Penn's images he manages to make the food look unappetising. He also create imperfect images by dusting spices and leaving crumbs on the table top. But instead of inspiring in the viewer memories of smell and taste it makes the table look dirty. Penn also photographs flies on the food. Making the food in the image look disgusting. The viewer becomes repulsed by the food. The colours are also dull and slightly grubby in appearance, making it seem old. Where as in Williams photo's she captures the bright and shiny colours which look fresh.

I think both these photographers demonstrate that with only a few changes to the way something is photographed, it can dramatically change how the audience see it. This is probably most prominent in food photography as it draws on so many other senses but can be applied to all type of photographs.