Feature by Lucy Bell Gallery

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping busy. 


This week some of my recent work was fetured by the Lucy Bell Gallery on their instagram feed. 


This is from a series I have been working on during the lockdown period. I have been drawn to the views looking through windows during my daily excercise.  In the current context the scenes take on an air of lonliness and isolation, somewhat mimicing my own feelings. An empty desk in an office or a plant looking llike it is trying to escape through the window. 

A few years ago a saw a Tim Flach exhibition at the Lucy Bell Gallery so I was honored to be featured on their feed. Its interesting to see what institutions are doing to promote work during this time. 


The Lucy Bell Gallery is based in St Leanords, East Sussex in the UK. You can see more of thier instagram exhibition on their feed



Off the Shelf: IOWA by Nancy Rexroth

As we all have a bit of spare time on our hands I thought I would do a series looking at some of the photobooks currently on my shelves. These are not in any particular order, but it is an excuse to spend some time with books that I perhaps haven’t looked at for a while, plus ones that I go back to all the time. 


First up is IOWA by Nancy Rexroth. I received this book during my subscription with the Charcoal Book Club (which I would recommend if you can afford to).  I have to admit on first reading I was a little unsure of the work and was a little disappointed as the book had been guest curated by Alec Soth. I put it on the shelf and it stayed there for a couple of years. 


Earlier this year I was researching work using square format film and this lead me back to this book. This time the work spoke to me in a way that it hadn’t previously. This is probably down to my tastes and ideas having changed. 


The work contained in IOWA was made during the early 1970’s in Rexroth’s home state of Ohio. The title references Rexroth’s childhood experiences of family holidays in the state of Iowa. The images were made using a Diana toy camera, with the photographer embracing the limitations of the camera to produce images that give a sense of innocence and a whimsical outlook on the world. The book itself is treated like a novel, broken up into chapters along with characters which guide us through a fictional journey.  The work embraces the idea of the snapshot and is reminiscent of a family album.  


IOWA has grown on me and now I really appreciate it. It is also interesting to look back on the work with the recent interest in toy cameras and the current popularity of analogue photography. 


You can read more about the project on Nancy Rexroth’s website






Isolation

This is an odd time to be alive what with most of the world in some form of lockdown.  What I have noticed from social media is that some people are chilled about it whilst others are anxious at the thought of being shut indoors. Personally I have embraced it, accepting it for what it is. 


For the first week or so I have taken some time out, relaxed, caught up with some admin and read some books. Photographically there are obvious restrictions, but it doesn’t have to stifle creativity. I’ve been going through the archive and begun working on a couple of book/zine projects that I have been putting off for a while, whilst also documenting my experience of the lockdown. Its also probably a good time to evaluate my work and maybe think more critically about my practice, but that seems a bit hard at the moment.  


I have also been connecting more with the wider art community, which I found to be the most important thing. Just by reaching out and checking that people are ok can go a long way to breaking the isolation that we find ourselves in. 


Yesterday I took part in an impromptu instagram live with Al Palmer from Brown Owl Press (go buy some books!), the first time taking part in something like that. It got me thinking about having more video conversations about photography, something I will try to do more off over the coming weeks. If anyone wants to have a chat on one of the many services available get in touch and we can organise something. 


For now take care and keep safe. 





Whinfell Quarry Garden Sheffield

A few weeks ago I took the Yashicamat on a visit to Whinfell Quarry Gardens. It was my first time visiting this small disused quarry area on the outskirts of Sheffield. It some nice landscaped gardens and even a couple of giant red wood trees, which I always enjoy seeing. These images were made on Ilford XP2 film. 



Camera testing and random film images

I am currently working on a couple of new projects, both of which are in the planning/research stage. One part of this is deciding on the format that I will use to make the images. I have recently acquired two medium format cameras which offer different image formats and produce images that differ in aesthetics. I have been testing the cameras with different films. Early stages of projects can be the most interesting as one experiments and finds the right formula. Of course this can change even in the later stages as the project develops. 


The two cameras I have been working with is a Yashica-Mat TLR and a Fuji GW690III, which is a range finder. Both cameras use 120 film with the Yashica-Mat shooting square format and the Fuji making huge 6x9 negatives. During the tests I have been using a mix of Kodak Portra and Ilford XP2. I have been using XP2 because I have access to a C-41 Processor, and the results have been quite good so far. 


Yashic-Mat




Fuji GW690III






Using Format