A new year, a new decade and new projects to start...
The Doncaster University Centre site, at high Melton, is a great mix of church architecture which started out in 1153 it also has a medieval tower and a succession of modern additions which seem to range from the late 40’s to the present day. I spent a couple of days photographing the site over Christmas and have posted them in a new album. The strange contrasts in the scale of the site captured my imagination; this together with references to the conflict in Afghanistan and the ‘unreality’ of modern warfare led me to the idea of model solders and the lingering question of what is real. The result is a developing project ‘on being plastic’. First images are posted in yet another album.
I can recommend the exhibition ‘Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism’ which is on at the Manchester Art Gallery until the 10th of January (not much time left to see it I’m afraid). A stunning show with some great photographs by Lee Miller.
The Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield has a show of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work. Brilliant portraits with remarkable detail in the eyes exhibited together with some of his more unsettling fetish images. This one is on till the 27th March and is a must see for local photographers. Running alongside it is an exhibition ‘Comedians: From the 1940s to Now’. Don’t miss it. The quality of the early black and white images is breath taking and the Bill Brandt image of Peter Sellers is for me the pick of an excellent show.
Monday was a great day; the day we started our residencies at Doncaster College and met up with Head of Art: Debbie Pulleybank members of her team and the other Doncaster based artists: Davie Moakes, Anna-Mercedes Wear and John Cuttriss. To my surprise, John, Davie and I are all members of the same local art group www.artsfringe.org.uk The college print room with Graham Firth presiding is a real temptation and worthy of documentation in its own right. The darkroom is full of potential and there is a real buzz of creativity round the place. A bit daunting but looks like good fun..uk.uk
My self imposed project is to document three markets: Doncaster, Newcastle and Cambridge. So I’m trying to get permissions cleared at each to start the work. Newcastle and Doncaster have agreed and I’ve yet to approach Cambridge.
One area of conflict, internal, is resolved. I’m going to use the techniques I like the best – simple black and white documentary. Well it was resolved till I took a shot of a stall holder with reindeer antlers today and have to admit that it might look better in colour. I used to be indecisive but now ..
The Newcastle market team were very helpful and allowed me to get started straight away. So I’ve taken some shots. But felt ill at ease, I hope because I was under time pressure or perhaps now I’m an Artist in Residence I’m going to have to get used to suffering ‘blocks’! I have posted some of the the pictures, they are a start but are just a shot at the surface.
I had a walk round Doncaster Market on Sunday, in the grey damp, because I wanted to get the project started. Two pictures resulted. This was a surprise as it was very quiet and almost deserted, lacking its usual energy and noise. I felt a great inertia and almost gave in and left the camera in its bag. I think I'll make my next trip on a market day!
All a bit of a shock this AA2A web site, contract, fellow artists and great support from Doncaster College. Not sure I want to write a blog but I seem to have started.
I bought a book on Edward Weston's work yesterday. As he always does he upsets my view of photography. I was all set to get the Nikon's out and start work on the project and then you look at the content and quality of his images and you have to stop to have a think and recover. I was in the middle of this process when I discovered that I can write a blog and now I've got the book out again!
Book is: 'Edward Weston The form of the nude' by Amy Conger and available from Galloway and Porters in Cambridge for £19.95 or, I hope, any good library