Thursday, 26 February 2009

Medici Gallery in London have chosen the above image of mine for publication as a greeting card for worldwide distribution. This image was taken in Hyde Park on a foggy morning in January 2008.

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24 Hours: 24 Photos

The 6th annual 24 Photography exhibition comes to Greenwich with a series of photographs from the first day of the year.

24:2009 Exhibition at Greenwich Park

24:2009 Exhibition at Greenwich Park

Since 2004, 24 photographers have been capturing the New Year in 24 hours between midnight New Year's Eve and midnight New Year's Day.

The project, this year entitled 24:2009, aims to run for 24 years and marks reaching its quarter milestone by staging two exhibitions at the home of world time and the Prime Meridian - Greenwich.

24 Photography is hosting an outdoor installation in Greenwich Park itself featuring all 24 photos from New Year's Day. At the nearby Viewfinder Photography Gallery all 144 images since the start of the project will be on display.

You can view all of the images from 2009 by using the link below.


Claire Spreadbury, at the time a photography student at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, came up with the idea to capture the first day of the new year in 2004 as part of a photography project. Claire, and 23 fellow postgraduate students, were each allocated one hour to capture one photo.

24:2009 Exhibition at Greenwich Park

24:2009 Photographs, Pavillion Cafe

Claire told BBC London: “24 was devised when we were studying photography at Central Saint Martins. We wanted to put on a group show that allowed us complete creative freedom whilst having a theme to hold it all together. There were 24 of us in our class and so I came up with the idea of documenting 24 hours in a day and New Year's Eve/Day made it more interesting."

"After the success of the first show we decided that we all wanted to continue with the project and so agreed to do it for 24 years. Even after just six years it is interesting to see how the photographer's work has changed and how the accumulating body of work is becoming a fascinating document of social history.”

The idea has evolved and will now span 24 years in total. Nearly half the original group are still involved in the project with new photographers joining each year.

It will be interesting to see how the group, project and society itself has changed from one new year until the next. The project will end in 2027.


Outdoor Installation
Greenwich Park
Adjacent to The Pavilion Tea House, near the Royal Observatory.
Use the Greenwich Park map link for the location

Viewfinder Photography Gallery
Linear House
Peyton Place
London, SE10 8RS

24:2009 is open to the public from 24 February 2009 until 19 March 2009

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Paul Graham from the series 'A Shimmer of Possibility'
Deutsche Borse Photography Prize - The Photographers Gallery

The Deutsche Borse Photography Prize opened this week. The four shortlisted artists are: Paul Graham nominated for his publication, A Shimmer of Possibility; Emily Jacir nominated for her installation, Material for a Film, presented at the 2007 Venice Biennale; Tod Papageorge nominated for the exhibition Passing Through Eden - Photographs of Central Park at Michael Hoppen Gallery; and Taryn Simon nominated for her exhibition An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar at The Photographers' Gallery.

So who is going to win? My money is on Papageorge, however, my personal favourite is Paul Graham. His work comprises images from his volume of books entitled Shimmer of Possibility. The hanging mirrors the layout of the book and so the frames vary in size and shape. You draw near and then stand back as you pass around his exhibition space. He describes his work as 'filmic haikus' - ad hoc characters captured in rivulets of time. He also extends the concept of Cartier Bresson's 'Decisive Moment". The moments before and after are just as valuable and this is what he tries to convey. The images slide into each other capturing moments of nothingness, ordinariness and moments to be forgotten.

Taryn Simon, on the other hand, was the person I was most expecting to be my overall winner, given that her show at the Photographers Gallery last year blew me away. Her subject matter is fascinating and the access she gained to these unusual places is what make her images so memorable and riveting. However, her work rests on the extraordinary subject matter whereas Graham's images stand for themselves they create a dialogue of their own and it is this that speaks to me.

Emily Jacir I just don't get. It is not photography exactly but rather an archival record of one man, a Palestinian Intellectual murdered by Mossad. Papageorge's black and white photographs from Passing Through Eden were shot in Central Park in the 60's through to the 90's. They capture a playful setting that belies the Central Park's true character. The gestures and poses of the individuals caught by his voyeuristic lens are wonderful.

I wonder what the judges will decide? The winner is announced on 25 March so watch this space ...
Bettina von Zwehl gave a talk at College this week and this is one of her slides which she gave me. As it was the last slide show she would present (powerpoint beckons) she handed out her slides at the end of the talk. My 'lucky dip' slide belongs to one of her earlier projects, Profiles Two 2002. At this point in her career she was still focusing on the profiles of older people. Bettina street casts and approaches a stranger if she feels he or she has the right look for that particular project. As with all her projects, she asks her subjects to perform very specific tasks. On this occasion she asked him and the others in this series to close his eyes and adopt a Tai Chi pose for 10 minutes. She captures him lost in his own private world of concentration. His profile and lank body are visually striking and there is a tension in the air as if he might topple over at any minute. I love this image and cannot believe my luck that this was the one I pulled from the slide projector. Although her work requires the sitter to perform designated tasks she says it is unimportant as to whether the viewer is aware of the process however, I disagree because my enjoyment of the image is enhanced by the knowledge that this man is potentially going through a range of emotions, is it discomfort in maintining the pose or is it inner peace? This is what intrigues me about the image. I know something is going on in his head but I don't know what it is.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

'Untitled', from Material, 2002

Peter Fraser gave a talk at college today. He was inspirational. Several points that he made really struck a chord. One thing he mentioned was that he uses a different camera for a new project so he might go from to 6x7 to 645 to 35mm because it alters the way in which he sees which in turn directs the format and content of the image. This is something I should think about more. When I shoot with Polaroid film be it SX70, 669 or 55, I consider its format, the space around the object and between the object and the edges of the frame. When I shoot with digital I think about composition and framing in a different way. My choice of camera clearly changes the way in which I work and I should use this more consciously to direct my work.

Peter sees the sublime in the detail of an ordinary functional everyday object. He sees what we see but don't really see because we don't take time to look or understand the functional purpose of that object. He says of his work: 'all material is equal'. He defines dirt as 'material in the wrong place'. I love this idea and his transformative use of shallow depth of field.

Another thing that Peter mentioned was that last year he made the switch from film to digital and having used film for 30+ years will not be using it again. His confidence in the quality of his digital work was refreshing. I asked if using digital had changed the way in which people responded to his work. His response was that he had an exhibition and publication coming out later this year of purely digital work. I found his self-confidence uplifting. I love digital and have no desire to use film but I hear constantly at college, in galleries and from art critics that fine art photography can only be shot in film. From now on I will stick with what I know and love and that is digital. Confidence and self-belief is key. Anyway back to Peter Fraser. Thank you for your stimulating talk.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Los Angeles Times reports that, on Friday, a wide majority of the US Senate passed an amendment "to ensure that taxpayer money is not lost on wasteful and nonstimulative projects" such as museums, theaters, and art centers.

Is this America's definition of art today?

Monday, 9 February 2009

I went to see Axel Hütte at the Waddington Galleries. The exhibition includes photographs taken in France, La Gomera, Canada, New Mexico, New Zealand and Borneo. Photographs taken in Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina stem from Hütte’s recent expedition along the route of the Conquistadors, tracing the path of the earliest explorers in their discovery of South America. Monumental in scale but meticulous in detail, each work portrays both a topographical and metaphysical terrain.

His work is devoid of people and narrative and explores a heightened, atmospheric observation of landscape and its four elements; air in ‘Fox Glacier, New Zealand’, earth in ‘Underworld-1, Mexico’, fire in ‘Capulin Fire-1, New Mexico’ and water in ‘Aonda Camp-2, Venezuela’.

Hütte uses a large format camera and his monumental sized images transport the viewer into the landscape. Given that I have been to and photographed several of the locations, his photographs have a particular resonance. His landscapes are reminiscent of Casper David Friedrich as the viewer gazes out over the landscape.

For him part of the process of capturing the image is the choosing of the locations, the protracted physical journey to find an image and the uncontrollable weather and lighting conditions. He states that he is drawn to the subject of geological phenomena that has required a residue of time to achieve its formation. For me these images serve to remind me of the power and grandeur of nature but also that the photographer is very much at the mercy of the landscape.

Axel Hutte
Axel Hutte

Waddington Galleries , 11 Cork Street, London W1S 3LT

Ultimately spanning a quarter of a century, 24photography has reached its first major milestone.
24:2009 is our sixth annual show, and fittingly resides this year in Greenwich – home of GMT itself, and the benchmark for our visual exploration of the passing of each year. Every year since 2004, between the hours of midnight New Years Eve and midnight New Years Day, 24 photographers each sought to capture the essence of one hour; economic, social, environmental, political and the very personal reflections on a moment in their lives. To mark this special year, 24photography is staging two exhibitions. In Greenwich Park itself the 24 images of this year’s project are displayed as an outdoor installation, allowing the images, their metaphor and contextual meaning to become tangible and accessible to all. In the nearby Viewfinder Photography Gallery, an interim retrospective is housed showcasing all 144 images created by the 24 movement so far.

The images from this year particularly, with its major political and economic changes, hopes and fears, catalogue a record of our time and raise questions, debate and dreams of where we are and where we might be by 24:2010. This is my third year of participating. Assigned to the 9am slot I chose to record my family waking up and embarking on the first day of the new year.

The exhibition runs from 24 February to 19 March 2009.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

On Monday it snowed all day and London stopped to play. Everyone was out with their camera recording the extraordinary scene. What is it that compells us to record our lives in this way? Why do we need to verify our experiences though the sharing of photos online? Do we worry that our memory or perception of the event will lack authenticity without a visual record?