Home Exhibition Catalogue
Embed Size (px)
Transcript of Home Exhibition Catalogue
Bill JacksonMandy Williams
HOMEExhibition catalogue includes
an interview with the photographers
Bill Jacksonbill@billjackson.biz Mandy Williamsmandylwilliams@yahoo.co.uk Marysia Lachowiczmarysia.firstname.lastname@example.org
Also available as a colour, e-publication:www.viewfinder.org.uk/shop
Viewfinder Photography Gallery52 Brixton VillageLondon SW9 8PS
First published October 2010
The artists and authors.The views expressed in thispublication are not necessarilythe views of the publisher orthe editors.
These images are from the ongoing series, Biographca. They are large format panoramic photographs of people in their chosen place. The rooms are as I find them. Each portrait is documented as to where and when the picture is taken. Accompanying the images are short biographies. They are in fact two pictures taken side by side with a 5 x 4 field camera, set up for landscape work, which means that my sitters have to keep very still for at least a 1 second exposure, sometimes 3 or 4 seconds. In that time a different energy overcomes the sitter, very much like meditation. They become part of the room. I am not looking for a 'decisive moment' in the portrait but more of a reflection of time. They are social documents of now, hence the record keeping of when and where. They are also a record of how people live and work and the personal spaces they occupy, for the future. They themselves almost become part of the furniture and objects in those spaces. Only one space is selected, but several pictures are taken to ensure that my sitters have not moved. It is not easy for people to sit still. As with all photography, there is an element of voyeurism involved. You are looking into these peoples personal spaces. All my work is a form of social documentation - objects, people, spaces. It can be all three together or a combination.
6Interview withBill Jacksonby Kathleen Brey
o Who were the people you chose to photograph for Biographca? What drew you to them in particular as sitters?What draws me in is firstly the people themselves. Meeting or knowing people I am attracted to, not just their physical appearance, but also as people, interests me. Very often I meet people in their own personal space and this drives me to see how I can explore the connection between the two. At first you start with people you know which can be an extensive list. They are also more forgiving in the initial stages of the project while you work out a methodology of approach. o Have you ever thought of the images in Biographca series as landscapes, alternatively to portraits?Yes they are, hence the panoramic format. When I set the picture up, the space is the primary focus. Very often there is only one place in which to shoot the picture. I see it as a landscape, if you will. A stage for a performance by the sitter. The spaces are first photographed so that they work as a container, a view, a window in which you are allowed to peek through. Once this has been explored and decided upon, my sitters are invited to join in. The technical restraints of working in often cramped conditions, using available light only and wholly dependent on that light, forces the sitter to in the main sit. Standing is not a possibility in photographs taken inside. Due to a long exposure of anything between 1 second and 3/4 seconds, the sitters have to remain perfectly still. This I try to keep to a minimum so that I do not take up the sitters time unnecessarily.I take several photographs so that in at least one of the pictures, the sitters will have remained still. This exposure time can bring an element to the sitter not found in an instant or in a flashed photograph. Time itself seems to stand still. o What was the most compelling aspect of photographing Biographica with a 5 x 4 field camera?I suppose the panoramic format printed at a large scale. It wasnt until I printed them over 1 meter wide that something else came into play which was not evident on screen or in a smaller print form. I want to explore the prints as life size prints. What happened was that as large scale prints the viewer is suddenly aware of looking through a peephole. This is why they work unframed. You arelooking through a hole in a wall not as a framed object. It was an
7illusion that until you actually saw it in action you could not have imagined it. o Did the places where you found your sitters feel welcoming to you? Did you come across a place that was particularly inviting or uninviting? I have never felt unwelcome when taking these pictures. If I feel this to be the case then I dont take my interest further. It has to be a comfortable relationship between me and the sitter otherwise it doesnt work. Its a collaboration. o How does the medium of photography work well to express your ideas for Biographica and how does it fail your intentions? The camera is my tool of choice. It always has been. I sometimes wish I could paint or draw but the pencil, although an amazing device, does not excite me as much as a camera lens. If there is a failure it is on my behalf in not being clear about my intentions. I have always worked on previsualization and I look outside of the camera more than through the lens. The click of the camera is the final act of your visualization. The camera is only a tool and not the creative decision maker that people think it is. It is what makes the camera lens exciting. o Did you have a clear intent when you began your project or did it come together over time? In my early days as a photographer I worked the streets before exploring ideas in a more formal setting, which I did with a major project taken in the early 1980s. These were large photographs of people at work, at home and at play. They were a social document, which is how I still see myself, a social historian with a camera. Twenty five years on I wanted to pick up this idea that I had back then, but wanted the work to be evident showing I had moved on in that time. There was no point in doing the same thing digitally. So for a couple of years I played around with my camera to see how this might materialize. When I discovered this panoramic system I immediately knew what it was going to be used for. The Man Who Shot Weegee was my first. The next couple of portraits sorted out how I was going to make it into a feasible project. Technically it is very demanding of both me and my sitters, But I have now figured out a methodology that seems to work. o What was your biggest challenge in producing this body of work? The biggest challenge, it was always the case and still is, is my natural shyness and how to overcome this. When I started in photography it was as a voyeur, an easy position to take. Talking to people and exploring them is difficult for someone who likes to
8watch the world from a more secret position. I am more comfortable in the shadows then in the light. o Is the "home", whatever that might be for someone, a sacred place?Yes, but we might interpret sacred in different ways. We all need our own space. Its why we leave home as teenagers to create our own environments, whatever they may be or however comfortable they are, we need this personal space. Crowd people together without allowing them this space will create tension and ultimately violence. That space can just be a few feet around a chair to whole landscapes. o Can photography truthfully document time? I suppose we like to think so as we are fascinated by old photographs which seem to document a time but maybe not time itself. We are always surprised when we discover a dateline for a picture. In one way it can never really give us everything. That is why I left stills work for 20 years to work with the moving image, with interactive text and installation. I felt that photography in a modern world was not able to cope with an increasing desire for information. Hence the series title Biographica. Alongside each photograph is a mini biography of the sitter. Just a few words that give you a little more information on the sitter. Also each photograph is datelined and timelined. They are photographs for the future that also have a relevance of today. So often I see photographs which tell me nothing more than what I see. I always want to know who that baker was and what happened to him in that August Sander photograph taken so many years ago. Maybe its just me, but I want to know more.
The series is called 'Inside', a selection of black and white infra-red images shot within the home that focus on the openings between inside and outside space. It aims to show how the physicality of the home and its emotional pull draws you in what if you could just stay inside for a while and let the house provide for all your needs, contemplate, be quiet, discover all its idiosyncrasies, retreat and take refuge? Inspired by the J.G Ballard story, The Enormous Space, and the film, Home, written and directed by Richard Curson-Smith, 'Inside' explores the boundaries between retreat, refuge and withdrawal.
Interview withMandy Williamsby Julie Ferrif
o What got you first thinking about using your home as a photography project?I had recently moved into my current home and it was all very new. I felt like I really wanted to stay inside and examine it thoroughly and not leave the house. At the same time, I watched this short fi