DELVING INTO DISTANT MEMORIES
Eva Bachmann is a lens based artist. She lives and works in London. She studied fine art at the Chelsea College of Arts & Design in London. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her photographic series are a visual inquiry into widely overlooked architectural elements. Like an urban archaeologist, she decodes the language of mundane spaces, tracing cultural and historical references through layers of time.
Delving Into Distant Memories series questions the notion of displacement, our sense of belonging and the ambiguity of our past experience. I understand memory as an organic thought process, shifting and adapting to our formed world-view. The title refers to my experience of the transitional state when waking, when a vivid dream feels credible, almost tangible. This unsettling feeling, leaves me pondering whether these imagined places were ever part of my real experience or whether they were merely a generic representation of our collective memory?
This work comes from a larger conceptual artwork currently on exhibition at The Old Fire Station in Oxford. The framed works present 4 original Solargraph images captures over a period of approx. 31 days during January and February 2018 in four locations around Abingdon and Oxford. The original solargraph images (a form of Lumen Print) capture the path of the sun across the sky for the duration of the continuous exposure, but because of their unfixed and unfixable nature, become effectively destroyed the moment they are exposed to light to view. Therefore, the only method of preservation is to scan them. The frames present each original Solargraph next to the scanned copy (digital pigment prints).
This work addresses the theme Real/Unreal in its questioning of the authenticity of the analogue image when presented in a digital form. This both transforms the nature and understanding of the image, yet in this case it represents the ultimate survival of the analogue image. In doing so it reflects on the nature of photography in the current digital climate and its digital future.
THE MAGIC OF THE LAND
I am a photographic artist based in Scotland. Inspired by fantasy and fairy tale, my artworks reveal the magic of the land around us.
My artworks are primarily composites, comprised of multiple photographs meticulously merged in post-production. All photographs used are from my own library and it can take many months to create the final artworks, especially if further photographs are required.
Jan Dunning is a photographic artist based in Bath and a graduate of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Working mainly with pinhole cameras, Jan also incorporates sculpture and model-making into her work; building and photographing elaborate sets in her studio. For a number of years, Jan has been interested in creating photographs of fantastic or impossible scenes, inspired more by memory and imagination than reality. Influenced by history and mythology, her pinhole images have a dream-like quality, inviting the viewer into a surreal and unsettling relationship with landscape or place. Her series Precarious Rooms purports to document a series of domestic settings upon which nature has intruded to uncanny effect. The resulting photographs set up a magical narrative for the audience to complete.
‘BROWN HAIR, BLUE EYES’
People have an innate need to be able to identify someone in their gaze. When you realise that an image is of a face, you are drawn to being able to identify them. However, because of the way the fabric changes the material reality of the image, this becomes an impossible task. Printed at 2.7 x 1.58 metres the photographs can be played with to change the appearance of the image just as though you are drawing a curtain. Every time they are touched, the face changes, the facial features change and the subject and their reality become completely altered – becoming a living and breathing photograph.
‘Brown Hair, Blue eyes’ Is less about the image and more about the physical alteration of the piece and the process by which its reality is altered through the viewer’s interaction with the work – just as though someone’s reality and perception of reality changes through their interaction with their physical environment. On closer inspection ‘Brown Hair, Blue Eyes’, is a three dimensional and dynamic piece that becomes a construction of contemporary visual language commenting on image and reality and the physical and material distortion of its subject matter. It becomes a commitment and demands you to become part of the experience; to touch it, play with it and change its reality.
These photos are of beach sand grains. They really are! They are sand grains seen under a microscope. The super-imposed scale, bottom left of each photo, represents 1mm in real life. How ‘unreal’ is that! The sands were collected from Western Australian beaches during a 6 month artist residency. They are grains from geological and biological eons; rocks and remnants of sea life, eroded over time by wind and water.
Beach sand lies at the border of land and sea; at the boundary of the physical and the numinous. For me, these photos express something of who I am; that I stand outwardly solid upon the ground, centred, and also have an inner life that swims at one within an infinite ocean of imagination. These photos physically and metaphorically speak about both the outer and inner worlds we inhabit. Real and unreal is subjective.
Of technical details, these photos were taken using a Nikon SMZ-745T trifocal optical light microscope and dedicated Tuscen TCC3.3ICE-N CCD 5.3MP camera. The microscope dark field was used underneath, and the sand top-lit with LED spotlights. Each photo is composite, made up of many digital images which have been ‘stacked’ and ‘stitched’.
For this work I am indebted to the generous support of the University of Western Australia, Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA). To ‘Coherent Scientific’ for the loan to CMCA of a specific microscope for my work. To Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia for the artist residency and studio space.
Frozen Worlds is an experimentation of taking something manmade and letting nature take over. As each little bubble freezes the patterns and colours are unique and the result is a mini frozen planet lit using only natural light to bring out the details. These mini other worldly planets are created using just a simple bubble mixture with the largest being no bigger than centimetre across which then freeze if the conditions are just right and the light from the sun is refracted as it shines through the bubble creating a rainbow of colours highlighting the feathered patterning.
‘Something, Someplace #1 to #81’ is a continuous loop 35mm slide projection. The artwork consists of images brought about through the combination of two distinctly different forms of visual language; generic linear drawing and amateur photography. Within each of the 35mm slides a range of opposing conditions and contradictory situations are established. The drawings utilised derive from engineering projection problems – whilst holding similarities to objects within the real world they hold no intended practical design application. As drawings they have no name, no material, no specific volume or size. Scale is eventually implied but not fixed.
The images on the 35mm transparencies are familiar to anyone who has ever been on a family holiday with a camera or posed for that personal tourist memento. The scenes and posed figures present subjects almost certainly known to someone at the moment of the image being taken. The found images have moved from the familiar and the personal to the forgotten and the discarded. Yet still they are possibly unique images.
The engineering drawings (digitally scanned and printed on acetate), the 35mm transparencies and the method of projection all reference the analogue in the digital age. With the coming together of the drawing and the transparency – the sharing of the same space (they are both essentially flat) – the drawn sculptural object is presented as being out of place, visibly removed and displaced from its original context and sited within the landscape image of the junk shop sourced 35mm slide.
PARIS ROSE – (Projection)
Paris Rosé is a film that explores the synergy between the still and moving image, giving the viewer the opportunity to see details and events that might otherwise go unnoticed.
HERITAGE, SURVIVAL AND COEXISTENCE
Here my eyes were open.
Here my heart was full.
Here abundance and dearth were appreciated.
Fragility was accepted and embraced.
And although strength was still rewarded,
both could thrive and both could die.
The creatures lived in symbiosis.
A common understanding stood out.
A realisation of what was necessary.
For one of our species so far removed, I was probably as close
to my ancestral beginnings as I’d ever be.
Scared and humbled. Displaced, but home. Vigilant in the calm.
Distrusting, yet open. An understanding of what we’ve lost began
to dawn. The importance of diversity apparent for the survival of all, not one. A need to work together, to coexist. A need to endure adversity, to not take the path of least resistance, to not protect ourselves in an empty world, but to strive to maintain a world brimming and rich.
Where I’d travelled from was a depleated concrete distopia.
A comfortable, insular existence of misery.
No struggle to survive, no appreciation of plenitude and ease.
We are lost and remiss to learn from our mistakes.
We must show willing to sacrifice for progress.
We must refind equilibrium and passage back to a more natural existence.
Target Practice This series of photographs are re-enactments of Target effigies on the military coastline, next to a Military Training Base in Kent. I soon realised it would be difficult to gain permission to see the training base. The history of the base dates back over 150 years. As we read the image of the Targets we find their body shape and form humorous, despite being used for daily target firing training, these identities are both unreal and real.
The concept of using the models in outdoor locations with props that are found naturally such as grass, walls, snow and ice, or buildings in the background, really interests me as it provides a new perspective on the world. The mixture of real and unreal materials set up in such a way as to portray a ‘real’ scene.
In my photographs I locate and capture the models in situations that mimic situations one might see occurring with their full scale, living, counterparts i.e. grazing in a field, being ridden through the waves or posing for professional equine photographers.
The Seascapes are ‘fakescapes’, collaged from the sky and sea from (real) photographs. Like most people I tend to believe what I see – so this is a series of work to question and change the Real to become Unreal.
Some of the photographs are more ‘real’ than others but all have an uncanny sense that all is not quite as it seems.
The Seascapesis a series of 12, ongoing, 2018
COALVILLE – (Projection)
In 2014 I met the author of the Facebook page, Coalville Photographed. His name is Graham Ellis. Over the course of the following two years I made a series of photographs and short films, observing him as he moved through the post-industrial landscape that we both coincidentally call home.
I also published a zine of Coalville Photographed which is available from here: photograd.co.uk/shop/coalville-photographed-chris-mear.
VIERAALLA MAALLA (In a Foreign Place)
Emilia Moisio is a photographic artist whose research-based practice is investigating and questioning the role and functions of images in society and our lives. With a series of diverse, conceptually based photographic projects, she uses images as a tool to examine, analyse, develop, and articulate structured frameworks of thought. Her work critically investigates the social and cultural conventions of different areas of imaging and interpretation, and the persistent role of the relatively inconspicuous, historical assumptions of the inherent photographic objectivity, evidentiality, and truthfulness.
The on-going Vieraalla maalla (In a Foreign Place) project is induced by personal experiences of cultural misunderstandings that affect the way we perceive images and the world around us. In this fabricated outlandish world, traditional Finnish, Carelian and Sami customs and practices have been given a slightly odd twist. Not deviating beyond recognisability for recipients with the relevant cultural knowledge, the surreal scenes toy with proverbs, phrases and obsolete customs, rendering the images absurdly strange to a viewer unfamiliar with the cultural heritage. Drawing from personal experiences of cultural alienation and misunderstandings, and the artist’s Karelian origin, the work invites the recipients to strive to decipher and locate the depicted world, thereby denoting the arbitrary nature of our interpretations of images so easily taken for granted.
Grant Simon Rogers
This body of work is an ongoing collection of photographic images by the visual artist Grant Simon Rogers (b.1964). All of these photographs are daylight with flash, a technique known as Day for Night. Lighting them in this way, with a hand held flash off camera flash.
He refers to these pictures as his Photographic Psychotherapy. Rogers, where possible revisits the same locations again and again and has been working in this way for over ten years and is content to carry on doing so for the foreseeable future.
This selection of images for Bath Photography Festival 2018 have been made between the public parks of London and Berlin.
HE IS SO OBSESSED WITH ME
He is so obsessed with me plays with the real and the imagined. The photos are originally documentary, whereas the title character He is imaginary. He represents the look of someone else, through whose eyes the main character is viewed – or photographed.
My approach to photography is expressive and experimental. I see photos as a material that I can do anything with. Through the rough working process the images lose their connection to reality and become representations of dreams, fantasies and feelings. In my work I deal with the subjectivity and unreliability of seeing, experiencing, remembering and narrating.
View the whole project at www.heissoobsessedwithme.com.
PHOTOGRAPHY IS A TRICK OF THE MIND
We are conditioned to believe that the photograph is a representation of a recognisable thing in a place and time. Our mind then sets about figuring out what it is and making sense of what it sees: making it real.
But what if we cannot recognise the object or the time? How then are we to reconcile the reality of the photograph? Technically, it’s still a photograph: but our perception of the captured object changes as we seek to reconcile the unrecognisable…so is the photograph still real?
My work seeks to explore this liminal space between the nature of what is known or expected and what is actually seen; exploring this paradoxical expectation of a photograph to represent a location in the world – but which instead provides an abstract geometric field that cannot be understood with our existing knowledge of the world from which it is derived.
In this state, the viewer is able to consider other possible meanings from the fragmented elements presented to them and become aware of how their perception engages with the visual field. Not to reinforce their signification, which is conditioned by society to order and control, but to dislocate them so that they may be seen for what they are and not what they are meant to be.
If I succeed, then the viewer may see themselves seeing in an unconditioned way and perhaps extend their unconditioned gaze to the people and the world around them.
ORGANIC AND ARTIFICIAL
Sight is a sense that estimates our body form as an organic entity, yet we are unable to see our interior change in relation to our exterior. Assuming that it is different all the time, our vision interacts with our interior awareness and self-image, being perceptibly ungraspable and in movement all the time. Working with both macro and camera-less photography, I come close to textures and fluids that appear of the body, confused in its being as something natural or unnatural, staged or chanced, surreal and scientific. Embracing the confusion of photographically seeing, I work with organic and artificial elements, discarded foods and things we ingest, liquefying plastic with albumen. Questioning what’s real and delusional, being subjective and being subject to, I am interested in what is bodily, of the body, or bodily in feeling or gesture.
The mysticism and plasticity of photography comes parallel with the ungraspable interiority of the body. How we see is translated through our perceptual understanding and validation of sight, for which we rely on photography to make record of something outside of what our body cannot provide, a still image. Utilising the physicality of photographic behaviour, this project is based around using available subjects rather than going out and seeking photographs.
My research-based practice explores and questions our visual perception, through the means of the photographic image. By investigating and exploring the intangible, we question what we see, is it real or unreal? The photographic image is layered with complexity and my ongoing work looks at how we read this visual language.
This work is part of a series that examines the layering created by the surface, the reflected and what lives underneath.
Ash Van Dyck
Alien Landscapes, a project created within the confines of 35mm slide format is a collage work created using salvaged slides of the universe from a university’s astrophysics department and damaged and end pieces of 35mm film from my own archive with beautiful chemical colours and abstract images. The resulting combinations have created abstract landscapes of imaginary far away worlds.
Using small scale materials that are not intended to be seen and larger ones meant to give us a real view to the universe, I have endeavoured to bring the expanses of space into a new scale that can be held in the palm of our hands, what is real and what is not? Would we ponder these things differently having them in this format? The materials are very real, the combinations give us an unreal view and allow us to dream of faraway worlds.