#Takebackthecity protest

Just saw this of Facebook courtesy of Taryn De Vere https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10217534899990150&set=a.3072858186216&type=3&theater

The context of the image is an eviction of a group of protestors – protesting about the homelessness and housing crisis from an empty house in Dublin.  An Garda Síochána acted to help a group of masked individuals who were evicting the protestors.

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Continuing experimental work.

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“Aisling and her husband and three children have been living in emergency accommodation on Mountjoy Street for 9 months.
Last Friday, they were due to be evicted but they refused to leave”.

Still playing around combining images from historical evictions during the 19th century and contemporary photographs of people who are homeless and/ or in temporary accommodation.  This is the latest.

Full Circle. Inspiration from Broomberg and Chanarin

After finally completing assignment 5 and sending it off to my tutor yesterday today I had a most enjoyable google hangout with a group of OCA students that I meet with regularly and who have helped me enormously with my major project from BOW.

Perhaps its these two events coming together that have energised me and stirred me on to make new work because after the hang out I began to clear things away and try to write down some of the ideas that have been filling my head all summer long.

I haven’t managed to write everything down yet but as I was tidying today I pulled out my copy of War Primer 2 by Broomberg and Chanarin.  Since buying the book I have been thinking of trying to use their method of collecting, chopping up and reassembling images from the internet but I have so far not really found a reason.  I realise of course that there doesn’t need to be a reason to do anything but I have had no story, nothing to comment on.  Thats not quite true either, there is a lot I’d like to comment on but until today I had no direction.  I began to search online for images of Ireland, the wild atlantic way and so on and began to collect them in a file.  One thing lead to another and soon I was looking for images of historical evictions that took place during the land war and the famine.  Then I had an idea.  Currently we have a homelessness crisis here in Ireland, I comment on it in No Place Like Home with one or two of the images.  I then began to search for images connected with the homelessness crisis and again I began to collect and save them.  I realise that there may be all sorts of copyright issues and so on and I can figure that out later but once I had a selection of images I dragged them into Photoshop and this is my first attempt.

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Mariela Sancari: Moisés

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I visited this exhibition at Instituto Cervantes in Dublin as part of a small group of OCA students.  We chose to take advantage of the curated tour of the festival with the festival director Angel Luis Gonzalez.

The exhibition itself was very simple.  There was no contextual text accompanying the work and presumably this is a deliberate strategy by the artist – nowadays with the internet and smart phones there are many ways to check out the context of a particular work even while viewing it in the gallery.  It was really great to be with Angel and hear him explain the background to the exhibition which is really based on the Photobook.  Here is a Youtube video from the artist showing how she put the dummy together.

 

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To be honest the book has to be seen to understand the complexity of its construction.  Its not just the images but the way it is constructed sort of like a puzzle.

This very personal and poignant work has its roots in the suicide of the artists father, Moisés.  Mariela and her twin sister were not allowed to see his body and this this made them doubt and question his death: “Not seeing him has made us doubt his death in many ways. The feeling that everything was a nightmare and the fantasy we both have that we are going to find him walking in the street or sitting in a cafe has accompanied us all these years.” 

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To create the work she began by advertising for men resembling her father – the advert was also part of the exhibition – she selected and photographed these men, possibly dressed in the clothing of her father.  The individual portraits were displayed side by side and I found myself comparing each one with the other for similarities and wondering what features he had that were similar to Moisés.  I could just imagine how Mariela and her sister, after his death would find themselves sure they had seen him on the street.

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Róisín Power Hackett. The Irish House a Psychogeographical Map

On a trip to Dublin one summers day as I indulged myself with a tour of several of the art galleries I was taking some time out from the hordes in Temple bar by allowing my eye to wander the photo books in the Library Project.  I like the bookshop here, its filled with work that is by emerging artists and a lot of it is new to me.  On this occasion one book in particular leapt out to me and when I picked it up, I had to buy it.  It was the cover of Róisín Power’s book that initially drew my eye.  The wall paper used for the cover comes from the Irish House of the title and it immediately brought memory flooding back of my school days.  Each year I went with my mother to the noisy concrete bunker that was Donamede shopping centre to buy my new school books, we took them home and she would cover them in either a heavy plain brown paper or left over wall paper.

The fact that a photo book concerning itself with memory and imagination invoked childhood memories is interesting in itself.  The book is a trip down memory lane as Power Hackett returns to the Irish House that is now fading and falling down.  The author spent “what seemed like a lot of time there” as a child and looking at the photographs taken by her in the I am reminded by several of them of my own.  One image, a self portrait taken in a bathroom that has a lurid blue plastic unit over the sink with a mirror reminds me of the bathroom in our house in the 1970’s.  And an image of a telephone reminds me of home too.  And its not just childhood that I am reminded of.  The image of the scared heart with its red bulb reminds me of an old, crooked house that myself and a bunch of friends rented in Lahinch.  It had the same fittings and fixtures and the patterned carpet and furniture that hurt my eyes.

The book itself is a small, hand bound and simple object that emphasises and under lines the personal nature of the work.  The brief accompanying text helps to get into the work and to understand where the artist is coming from.

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Cover of The Irish House: A Psychological Map by Roisin Power Hackett

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Some of the images from The Irish House By Roisin Power Hackett

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Some images from the Irish House by Roisin Power Hackett

 

Photographers and Research by Shirley Read & Mike Simmons

Strange as it may seem but since reaching the end (almost) of the course I have felt a little deflated lately.  Thinking about it while here on holidays I realise there are many reasons why this might be – the cyclical nature of any sort of creativity, the natural need to draw breath following completion of something before beginning again and so on.  Last night sitting outside listening to the crickets here in France and enjoying the fact that we could sit outside I was reflecting on what I might do differently now and although there are lots of possible changes that I could make one of them will be concerned with the way I conduct my research.

The word research carries with it a large amount of psychological baggage – or it does for me.  It has a can be misread to emphasise the academic aspect which I personally have found detrimental.  A while a go I had a sort of minor epiphany when thinking about making new work.  For several weeks I had been fooling myself into thinking that I was starting something new by reading extensively on the subject while at the same time struggling, something didn’t feel right.  Then it hit me.  I was subconsciously presupposing that researching something meant reading and writing notes prior to engaging in a process of making imagery.  I would prefer to make my research something that involves being in the world first.

This long introduction to my thoughts on the Photographers and Research is relevant because last night as I again picked up the book it fell open on the chapter by Ingrid Pollard.  I should say that when it comes to reading books like this I am a bit of a scavenger in that I might try to read it from cover to cover but invariably hat never seems to happen.  I end up picking from here and there.  Pollard is a photographer that I really admire.  Her work is solid and by that I mean that as well as producing interesting and stimulating imagery she bases the visual work on a strong conceptual foundation that is obviously well researched.  So I was naturally drawn to read about how she goes about it, her process.  What came across from her interview is that for her, everything is research or perhaps everything can be considered research from reading to watching a movie to speaking to people.  At the end of the interview she sums it up very succinctly with this quote:  “I do have a little mantra about research which I say to students: ‘reflection, dialogue, question’.  It means doing the work of making pictures.  I include evaluation as part of the reflection.  Do it, look at it and reflect on it and then do it aginbased on your reflection and research.  I think that if you mention the word research to a lot of students they may become restricted by that, it becomes a thing that appears not connected to their practice at all.  Its a problematic word and students may think research can only be found in a book, or looked for online, but its not necessarily an activity they do quite naturally, such as talking to people, for instance so I try not to use it or define it.  You know going to the cinema is research.  I can see a lot of students who are already doing it, they just don’t know they are doing it”. (Pollard. I. 2016, P. 99)

Read, S., 2016. Photographers and Research: The role of research in contemporary photographic practice. Routledge.

On David Hurn and documenting special moments

Recently I was staying in a hotel in Dublin.  I was back in my room indulging myself in a little channel surfing – we don’t have a TV so its a bit of a treat sometimes to see what I’m missing and what I’m not.  Mostly its the latter but on this particular night I was fortunate to see a documentary on BBC about David Hurn.  My only real knowledge of him was as co-author of a book with Bill Jay On Being a Photographer, a book which I read but didn’t enjoy, can’t say I got much from it at the time but maybe I need to revisit it.  Anyway during the project Hurn talked about his longterm project on documenting  everyday life in his local village Tintern.  It reminded me again that the best stories, the best images are there right in front of us and that a project takes time to come together.  So, now that the exhibition is out of the way and I have more time and more space to get out with my camera I have been setting time aside to go out to see what is there.

A few weeks ago I set an hour aside to walk around the village of Easkey and made these images.  I went with an open mind, trying to leave my preconceptions aside and see what was there, what my eye was drawn to.

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To me the stand out images are the last 3 and of those 3 its this one that I am most interested in:

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I guess its the juxtaposition between the Irish tricolour, such a powerful symbol of national pride and the symbol of the litter left behind on the picnic table.  Its such a contradiction but one that I come across again and again at home.

I’ve been reading up on Turn and was particularly attracted to this sentence in an interview on Lens Culture (https://www.lensculture.com/articles/david-hurn-the-picture-that-changed-my-life-interview-with-david-hurn) “I decided, at that moment, that this is what I wanted to do. Specifically, I wanted to capture the equivalent of people buying hats for their wives. Mundane but special moments, all over the world”.

Also I found this sentence found here(http://www.tinternvillage.co.uk/page-103/) very informative:   “However, It is Wales: Land of My Father that truly reflects his style and creative impetus. It attempts to discover what is meant by the phrase ‘my culture’ and consists of observations on the remarkable changes taking place in Wales from 1970 until the book’s publication in 2000″.