Surfaces & Strategies Week 7

The week began with a very simple task in this week's forum, to take a 'shelfie', photographing a selection of books that reflect our learning. As the theme this week was on photo-books I decided to show the shelf I store photo-books that I've bought with some exihibition catalogues and a few , with the adjacent shelf of various magazines I've recently subscribed to. To make it easier to read I've re-oriented the image. I purposely didn't re-order the books into a 'learning' order as none stand out above the others on this shelf.

I added the comment that somethings like batteries should really be elsewhere. The only answer to my posting was how something that  resonates is put up quickly whilst others take some time before they are placed in the 'right' order. For me this is not really he case, particularly for photo magazines. The more interesting ones spend some time around the house before being shelved. Unlike books with their greater prominence once shelved the magazines tend to become forgotten. Perhaps I should, article content that didn't attract my interest at the time may well do so now.

So I guess for me the lesson is that I shouldn't discount/forget my repository of the image and the written word.  I also made the observation to someone else's posting that an awful lot of my current information is found elsewhere through internet searches and that I wouldn't like to estimate the overall percentage of words read in most of my books. My bookshelves are much more an off-line repository than an indicator of knowledge received.

My focus on photobooks has been disturbed by a felt need to more to arrange the workshop planned for the next week. I plan to produce a draft photobook for my physical exhibition, but too much to do elsewhere this week.

On my workshop I've approached seven members on a local camera group 'Lenses of Croydon' that I belong to to ask them if they would like to take part in a workshop. I explained that I wan't sure at this stage what the final constitution of the Workshop group will be, but explained that for my current photography MA module we have to work towards an exhibition for a specific project, in support of which I need to arrange a workshop.

I added that my exhibition may simply be on-line but could be in a physical space somewhere as well, needs to be held between the 17th and 24th August and will be small subset of a mainly Falmouth MA students collective exhibition entitled ‘Landings 2018’.

My 'carrot was that I was also interested in the possibility of taking part in a Croydon based collaborative exhibition, which could be held at a later date. But I was honest and said that   primarily the workshop will be focused on my own deadline and comment/discussion on my proposals for hanging layout, choice of images etc. would be most appreciated. Along the way I gave a bit of detail on my project, describing as a photographic illustration of a number of distinctive Croydon shops and their proprietor(s).

A date was set the Friday of the Workshop week. With hindsight I should have simply dictated a time. More on this next week. 

Outside of the course I started the week by attending an unusual Saturday event at the Photographer's Gallery; 'Welcome to the Fake: Photography  and the Politics of Authenticity', organised by the Urban Photographers Association as part of their 'The Cities of Light' symposium. Discussing street photography, urban design, communities, the politics of change and gentrification some of the talks were very interesting, however, as is often the case it was the networking sude of the meeting and the opportunity to talk to urban photographers like Bas Losekoot and Paul Halliday. It was clear that whilst Street Photography is a genre tem that is not acceptable to some, similar photographic imagery under a more defined guise, such as urban documentary, is quite acceptable.

Paul Halliday; Image from his 'Close to Nowhere' project

Bas gave to interesting insight to his recently completed Urban Millennium project "In company of strangers" where he shot city commuters in a variety of urban locations across the world. Talking to him afterwards it was interesting how his project had evolved in order to capture more opportunities with remote triggers and the use of a longer lens. The project was started in 2011.

Bas Losekoot; Image from the 'Urban Millennium' Project, a New York commuter captured with the aid of a remote trigger

My own observation on the work that was shown was that the faces were commonly glum and as I'd suspected they'd all been shot in the morning commute. Perhaps time of day should be taken more note of in recording the urban context.  

Bas Losekoot: Image taken of São Paulo commuters (Brazil)  in his "Urban Millennium" project

Interestingly, given this week's context, whilst his project is pretty much completed in terms of shooting he expects it to be at least a year before his planned book comes about, longer than he had expected. Just simply finding the right printer to support it sounded difficult. I understand the higher quality publishers he'd like to use were only interested in working with more established photographers. This fitted with the later talk that was recorded later this week with the Northern photographer, John Darwell and  a variety of conversations I have had at the UK's Street Photography Symposium (last year and the year before).

View of the ground floor of '3 Street Gallery' pop-up exhibition, taken by Graham Land, 19th July, 2018

There was one other event I attended, the opening of a 'pop  up' exhibition in a disused shop space in Carnaby Street called 3 Street Gallery' by Sidewalk photos. Described in advance as 'well curated' with the aim to promote street photography it fulfilled on all fronts. Giving a very reasonable presentation of well captured urban photography. 

The hanging of the prints was done in a fairly standard way, though there was the unusual opportunity on one table to buy signed copies of certain of the prints.

Project-wise I accomplished one additional photoshoot in my Croydon Shopkeepers sub-project, taking the number to eleven. Three weeks before I had invited Nick, one of the proprietors of an unusual shop that had recently opened in Croydon called 'The Ludoquist'.  An unusual combination of a board games venue mixed with a cafe, bar and book reading area. Getting a firm date for a photoshoot had taken some time as both proprietors, Nick and his wife Carrie, were to be included together. This would be my first joint shoot and was not quite as easy to accomplish as I'd hoped.

Slideshow of seven images from the shoot at The Ludoquist; Graham Land, 20th July, 2018

As I'd done at La Zaris last week I also made  a short video using my mirrorless camera mounted on a gimballed hand-held stabilizer. Shot as before at 50fps full HD this can be viewed via the Vimeo link below:

I started opposite their shop and then crossed Croydon High Street to enter and finish standing by Nick and Carrie as they played one of their board games.

I captured their image at a number of locations, starting with this board game. Although the time had been picked for one when they expected to be less busy, it was reasonably populated with several largish groups of players and this proved more of a restriction than I'd envisaged. With hindsight I should have considered inviting them to take part in some shots, maybe.

Carrie was a lot more relaxed than Nick, one of the hazards when you haven't established a relationship with the subject in advance. A fascinating place that gave a much greater choice in location than most of my other collaborator's premises.

As at La Zaris I took both full-frame digital and tripod mounted 6x6 colour film shots. How well the film shots worked I will find out next week, the same roll has my La Zaris shots of Kish Soobramaney.   

The next day i was able to take video of Manoj of N Tapper Shoe and Key repairs at West Croydon, an earlier collaborator.

Video of Manoj of walking to Taps Shoe and Key Repairs, West Croydon by Graham Land, 21st July, 2018 (50fps 1080p)

This shoot unfortunately needs to be repeated. I was experimenting at trying to use manual focus, instead of the auto-focus I used in the two initial shoots. It wasn't too bad until the last scene. I am a little short-sighted and the small viewfinder on a bright sunny day was not easy to use as an aid.

 

REFERENCES

Baptiste R, 2013 Critique of Streeet Photography; Roxanne Baptiste Interviews photographer and urbanist, Paul Halliday, about his experiences of photographing London’s streets over a twenty-year period. Critique of Street Photography website. Access from http://www.critiqueofstreetphotography.org/interview.html (August, 2018)

Anon. (n.d.). Urbanization and the Spectacle of the Street: An interview with Bas Losekoot Life Framer website; see https://www.life-framer.com/bas-losekoot/ (accessed 17th August, 2018)

Woerdman D, 2017. In the Company of Strangers 2nd July interview, Fotolab Kieke (Amsterdam) See  http://www.kiekiekrant.com/bas-losekoot/ (Accessed 17th August, 2018)

IMAGES SOURCES

Image taken by Paul Halliday from his 'Close to Nowhere project (2002-2012): http://www.urbanphotographers.org/members-paul-halliday

Images from Bas Losekoot's Urban Millenium Project; See http://www.baslosekoot.com/index.php?/projects/manhattanism/ and http://www.baslosekoot.com/index.php?/new/sao-paulo-and-the-urban-millennium-/