Archived entries for photography

ray moore, photographer

Raymond Moore was a photographer who inspired and encouraged a generation of UK photography students throughout the 70s and 80s. Moore was the person who had the most influence on me in terms of photography. Looking again at Murmurs at every turn and Every so often, his two main monographs, I know I was not wrong in seeing the value of his understated work, and where that has led me to today.

He is mostly unknown now – his archive at Sothebys is still unavailable. A small number of people continue to appreciate his work though, and a big new exhibition and hopefully new publication of Moore for a new audience is surely coming.

His visual approach also puts him at the centre of English psychogeographers of the 20c, Moore using photography as medium to uncover place. His influences – from the Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen, to staying with Minor White in the US, made him one of the most informed UK photographers at a time when photography was seen as either a second-rate artistic medium or a form of journalism.

You can discover Moore at Weeping Ash, which also links to other articles on him and his wife, Mary Moore Cooper.

image from Every so often monograph, 1984

Minor White’s Mirrors Messages Manifestations

eggleston and the new-again topographic

William Eggleston (at Los Angeles County Museum of Art until Jan 16, 2011) has become so associated with the blank suburban stare of the banalities, it’s always refreshing to revisit just what he’s got and why it engages. Unlike so many people now working this deadpan seam (ahem), Eggleston retains a smudge of humanity.

Americans love to fetishise anything remotely creative and outsider, and so Eggleston is now treated like a Very Important Artist in his later years – quite rightly so, and this middlebrow grass-roots championing has now advanced him to the top level of living photographers of merit. He has the attitude and media-tackle to carry this persona off, but at heart he’s like a dog fascinated with sniffing at lampposts. It is the whole world and point of existence. What happens outside this visceral, uncontrollable urge is immaterial to both dog and photographer. Eggleston has happily managed to remain the ringmaster of his own scent.

For the original topographic see Berenice Abbott and Atget. More on the New Topographic in photography in the Guardian and at Blueprint.

A new edition of the original 1975 book, by Steidl – New Topographics, by Britt Salvesen – is available from the Steidl site.


Richard Ashcroft

Rut Blees Luxemburg her new site

Also on the Ashcroft blog, the piece by Jarvis Cocker on outsider art is interesting

brian griffin + barney bubbles shows

The photographer Brian Griffin and the graphic artist Barney Bubbles had a long working relationship – the two figures have been important to me for over 30 years. Bubbles sadly died in 1983 but his close friend is still very much active.

So its good news that there are two new exhibitions on simultaneously, right now – in Griffin’s birthplace, Birmingham – and in London.

They are both must-sees, I think, for anyone interested in a highly energised, diffracted period in the UK – politics and music, both low and high, colliding to create new things that did not necessarily end up with Ben Elton in, er, Drury Lane.

FACE TO FACE Brian Griffin
Outside and Inside Retrospective Exhibition
on till 21 november 2010
Snow Hill Station
Colmore Row
Birmingham B3 2BJ
visit show site

PROCESS Barney Bubbles
The working practices of Barney Bubbles
curated by Paul Gorman
on till the 23 october 2010
Chelsea College of Art and Design
16 John Islip Street
London SW1P 4JU
visit show site

Reasons to be Cheerful book synopsis available here – spot the michael moorcock art. I predict a White Stripes-like return to letraset and kodalith… PROCESS has apparently been phenomenally well-attended – the fact that Bubbles never knew Mac (Brodie picked up the mantle to a degree, with the appendage) only adds even more kudos to Saint B.

brian griffin images from face to face site and thanks to the superb young publication and site designer Dom Murphy for his external pics – Mr Griffin is well-known for his excellent design taste and Dom does not disappoint.
barney bubbles images from chelseaspace gallery – I’ve written about the DIY album previously here

45 ‘ 33 “
So what has photography and graphic design, specifically these two, got to do with psychogeography? I suppose they are both part of a place and time gone, but still tangible, in now – part of a collective memory of strong cultural shifts experienced by a UK generation now in its 50s. Following on from Edinburgh 1970s pt one, I still seek out unconsciously the many Edinburgh record shops I went to as a teen, the excitement of a saturday afternoon doing the tour (avalanche on cockburn street is a flavour of those days) and bringing home something prized, with a mind full of the hundreds of posters and album covers I’d taken in that day. It’s another madeleine that only with the passing of years you more deeply understand and, yes, mourn for their loss in, er, more reflective moments.

What I’ve tried to do in the EH1 book, photographed over 2007~2010, is to take time now, and create a narrative with individuals unknown in the future. As I’ve mentioned in the EH1 post, Bailey NW1 was what I wanted to feel; looking forward to 30 years hence and someone picking up this book and recognising a sort of specific invisibility of psyche in places that are still visitable and recognisable (Edinburgh’s core doesn’t change much, unlike a lot of bailey’s primrose hill).

This all sounds like skeptic fodder, open to the most snorting ridicule. But if you’ve read the surreal within the real, you’ll have spotted I don’t agree with the occult slant that psychogeography has taken over the past couple of decades in the UK. What I’ve said above is the closest I can get to explaining why using your senses and intuition in a human place doesn’t mean adopting a sandals and henna / smash the system / our art/literature/personality-is-too-cool-for-mainstream approach.

I am not a fan of Will Self as a writer but I think he completely understands the depth in the everyday, in a way that’s not pretentious or inaccessible to non-acolytes. It’s nice to know that someone much more successful and intelligent than I will ever be, gets it.

And so I suppose I am sticking with the term psychogeography, overused and rejected as it remains after sinclair/home et al.

The Specials : Ghost Town
Bubbles was a fledgling director too – this is one of the most iconic pop promos of the period… sorry EMI has disabled embedding

Edinburgh EH1

The guidebook is approaching completion along with its alternative large format photobook EH1 – both using different sequences of images so both are complementary.

EH1 – Edinburgh One
The title is taken from David Bailey’s NW1 : urban landscape. NW1 is the only Bailey book I have wanted to buy (copy bought in 1982 now lost) and it’s also now his most collectable, with nice examples getting into the for me out of the question Ray Moore category. It’s a precursor to Brian Griffin’s seminal 80s London book WORK – copies still available here.

EH1 photographers’ proof edition
Giclee printed and hand bound edition of 10 : signed : £750
280mm w x 297mm h : 98pp

To place an order please enquire below -

from Z to A is a scotland-based psychogeography and urban topography magazine featuring creative, critical, playful urban journeys

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