11 Apr 2022

a kind of homecoming

Honoured to have had the opportunity to review Kyun Ngui's zine It's Coming Home for the London Independent Photography group. It's overdue some publicity. 

It's Coming Home zine cover

I remember how impressed I was when Kyun originally introduced this to the Ealing group as a fully formed project soon after the tournament ended. 

The images fizz with atmosphere and...well, you'll have to buy fLIP to read the rest!


6 Mar 2022

rites of spring

The first days of spring are bringing darker days, not lighter. The stress and struggle of the last two years have been put in context in an unimaginable way. 

West Ealing

It brings me back abruptly to my New Europe project. That project was borne of travelling to cities around Europe, freely. Of acknowledging London as a city of refugee and refugees.

 London Bridge

That also seems a distant memory right now.

 

3 Mar 2022

nocturne number 2

It's been a while since my last nocturnal walk around the city. What was a first though, was joining a group of other photographers on the adventure. I've always felt a little superior to the pack approach, playing on the lone wolf stereotype, but this taught me not to be so precious. It was really interesting to look through other people's eyes on the same scenes when we shared our work with the wider LIP group. 

 Watling Street

Gough Square

 Ludgate Circus

In addition the walk was well structured by Dan Dodman to reference points of historical note en route, so it brought together two of my passions. The only downside to the evening was my failed attempt to pirouette some street furniture in the dark. Ouch.

My slalom metaphor suddenly seemed very apt. 

 

17 Feb 2022

tale of two cities

As restrictions in London ease it's wonderful to have the opportunity to see some photography in real life. Two shows caught my eye to mark my return. They were, guess what, a throwback to black and white work from the fifties and sixties, an era that first stimulated my passion for photography.

The location of the shows were in many ways the antithesis of their roots. Swish, exclusive art dealers in London's Mayfair district are a long way from Roy DeCarava's roots in Harlem and Mary Ellen Mark's work in Seattle. 

I remember seeing Mary Ellen Mark's photography as part of a wonderful show in 2018 at the Barbican, Another Kind of LifeThere the context and stories of the participants were very much part of the experience. The way her work was displayed in Alike, My Friends, was strangely disconcerting. Stripped of any title alongside the image in such a body of humanist work felt wrong. Commoditised. Oh yes the titles could be found. In the price list.

Burlington Gardens

Walking past the Royal Academy and along New Bond Street my emotions were mixed. There was certainly an energy and buzz. Maybe it was the aftertaste. The haves and the have-nots have always been woven to form the fabric of London. However the latest iteration feel more monochrome.  

So I was concerned entering the next show. I've held Roy DeCarava's work close to my heart for a long time. I remember buying a monograph in the old Photographers' Gallery bookshop on Great Newport Street when that was really the only place I knew to educate myself. 

 Grafton Street

It was a relief to enter the space at David Zwirner and find the work presented so well. It's still a "selling" show but classy. It helped that the late afternoon winter sun  gave an ambience and warmth that literally gave life to the work. 

Faith restored.

 

12 Feb 2022

shifting plates

Well just adding this image to the page gave me a thrill. It's been a while.... 

 London Contact Sheet 2021

Back last summer I, ironically of course, posted an image of an exposed roll of film, the result of a wander around London's West End for the first time in a long time. Well plus ├ža change. True to form it's taken my usual gestation period for the images to see the light of day again. 

The style hasn't materially changed either. I've written at length about that and also how I'm at a point of reflection now too, but it was good to just reconnect with those familiar streets. Nothing's fixed in time of course. 

They shift beneath my feet, now more than ever.

 

12 Jan 2022

flatter to deceive

I first became aware of Jonas Bendiksen in a photography show at the PM Gallery when I remember being struck by an image from his Satellites project. This was a classic piece of Magnum photojournalism: humanist stories, documented against a backdrop of political and social turmoil. It was fascinating to discover that he had used the reputation of his persona and of Magnum to create a fictional documentary project, The Book of Veles, raising questions about authenticity, trust and the photography establishment.

It was a topic of interest for a number of us in my local photography group so I put together a short talk. In retrospect it's a companion to one I gave over a year ago on ethics.

There are lots of sources that describe the story but I found Ben Smith's interview very interesting and well worth a listen.