These images are concerned with stillness a stillness that is no less for going unnoticed in a fast and aggressive City life.
In one sense, every time we take a photograph we create, in an image, a stillness that did not exist; we freeze a moment in space and time for later, quiet contemplation. We stop life.
Perhaps, as you look at these images, you might care to consider whether or not these images are less still than any others.
A NIGHT OUT
This selection of photographs is taken from an exhibition concept of thirty black and white photographs. Concerned over the past twelve years with photographing the urban landscape, I came to realise at a certain stage that, for me, the night-time experience of place was of equal validity to the daytime experience. Photographing during the hours of darkness using the available light of neon street lighting, I documented this experience sometimes involving myself bodily in the scene as a ghost image. The resultant images are as much a personal record of my "Night-Town" as they are of my night fears.
Recently I have been photographically investigating the intrusions of man into the natural landscape and nature's inevitable reversal of this situation, Some of these photographs have been seen in Creative Camera and in a previous "Framework" exhibition at the Hexagon in Reading (Oct-Nov 1996).
Terry King has been producing prints using alternative photographic processes for more than twelve years. For the most part he has specialised in the production of gum-bichromate prints which, as they use water-colour as part of the photographic emulsion, have a painterly quality. Terry believes that this does not mean that 'gum-prints' should represent an attempt to emulate the water-colour, but that they should be a combination of the best of both; compound rather than mixed media. The increased freedom which this form of photography gives has encouraged Terry to explore other alternative approaches to the art of photography.
Terry King's long experience in this specialised field has led to his being recognised as a source of expert advice at workshops and his work being sold and exhibited, for example, at the National Museum of Photography.
The brief Terry received for this exhibition was that he should not show any of his usual romantic rubbish, for example the picture of Twickenham riverside in a winter mist which is the first of his pictures in this exhibition. The second picture, which is also a gum-print, demonstrates Twickenham's place not only as an historic town but also gives an indication of its industry. The view is of the Parish church as seen from Eel Pie Island.
Away along beside the River Crane, between Twickenham Green and the railway, stands a community which is a mixture of the old and the new, of agricultural workers' and artisans' cottages, the eighteenth century mansions of prosperous tradesmen, chapels and engineering workshops. It has a mixture of people, It is not a ghetto for a particular class or race, It has a life of its own
Terry's pictures, which are a mixture of gum-prints, Kallitypes, gum-kallitypes and hand-coloured cyanotypes, are only a small selection of the many he has taken over the past six months. He has not included pictures of the juggernauts that could hold six of the cottages in the streets they go down on their way to the various works. he has included the forage merchant and the camera repairer but not the manufacturer of laser cutting equipment. The car upholsterer, the glass shop and the China Garden are there, as are the chintzy cottage with its garden and, in contrast, one with a plastic porch with plastic flowers, the gas components supplier and the pigs arse with three-dimensional Van Gogh sunflowers.
EXITS AND ENTRANCES
".. it stares one in the face as one walks around the city... the buildings speak and act, no less than the people who inhabit them, and through the physical structure of the city past events, decisions made long ago, values formulated and achieved, remain alive and exert an influence"
Though we may live in the city, either in its centre or its outer sprawl, we seldom give it much notice. Only occasionally do its problems impinge - the frustration of being in a traffic jam on the way to an important meeting, the homeless who beg or sleep in odd corners, the business frauds and street violence... For most of the time we take the city for granted although its fields of possibilities form the very matrix of our thoughts and actions, Just, or so it is said, as the fish is unaware of the water in which it exists.
My work concerns this ordinary, unnoticed city, probing the forces which shape it, recording its metamorphoses, and celebrating its unexpected beauties. One theoretical approach would be to see the city as an overlaying set of grids and networks, both physical and conceptual - the street plan, the map grid, bus routes, underground and railway tracks, power lines, gas, sewage, the telephone system, the flows of cash, capital and goods, personal relationships The idea of the grid is important in my work both in its overall organisation and as a formal basis for many of the actual images. The straight-forward, normally frontal approach I employ whenever practicable is also intended to provide a normal or unaccented vision; to concentrate attention on the subject rather than the accidents of photography.
The pictures shown here are a small fraction from my work in London over the past 18 months. A small set of black and white pictures from it was published in the British Journal of Photography Annual 1988.
Like everyone miss, I used the North Circular Road a lot and cursed it roundly. Only after the equally congested and dangerous M25 opened did I realise that there was something worse! Then I began to see it like a spouse that one has lived with for a long time and taken for granted - it wasn't such a bad old thing after all ...
The pictures are an exercise in looking afresh at the contemptuously familiar. All your favourites are here - the Hanger Lane Gyratory System, those bridges at Wembley where you might get held up for hours by traffic turning right - as well as parts you may not know such as the lake at Neham and the subway which connects North and South Circulars at Woolwich.
You will probably try to recognise places you know in these pictures; I hope too that this will be a starting point for you, as you drive home from this exhibitions, to take a fresh look at the Road and its environs.
THE BOX PEOPLE
Photographs of a few of the hundreds of people who are permanently living in cardboard bases now throughout London.
1987 was designated as the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. All proceeds from the sales of these pictures are to be donated to Shelter.
Derek Ridgers is well known for his portraits of figures from the world of popular music and arts, which appear frequently in the press. That work, as well as his studies of youth subcultures, has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
JOHN RJ TAYLOR
IDEAL HOME, A DETACHED LOOK AT MODERN LIVING
Documentary images of the privileged and well off are common enough, the same I feel can be said for coverage of the deprived and badly housed. There is, however, a large area of suburban semi detached homes, hyper markets, garden centres, DIY stores etc. largely ignored by those who seek to comment on modern society. The commonplace is inevitably overlooked and taken for granted, relegated to the background of our sensibilities as non-contentious and by implication dull and unexciting.
As a documentary photographer I am unable to ignore a subject because of its apparent lack of visual merit, or because it fails to titillate or be controversial.
The "IDEAL HOME" series is as its title suggests a dry study of a suburban home now. A cool and ironic record of a way of life based on the values of consumerism. The dog, microwave oven, video recorder etc. are the icons of suburbia and are prerequisites to a way of life incessantly instilled in us by the media and ad man and readily upheld by an ever demanding mortgage holding suburban population.
I feel there is a gap in what is being covered by photographers on our domestic scene and that the "IDEAL HOME" series helps fill this gap. This series is a constituent part of a larger body of work currently underway, entitled "NORTH LONDON SUBURBIA AND THE EDGE OF THE GREEN BELT".
READING: A TOWN OBSERVED
Reading is considered to be a typical English town - an observation not wasted on the armies of marvet researchers conducting their surveys there.
Like many towns it is in a state of flux, and has been for longer than most. The intrusion of redevelopment threatens the town's identity. This is particularly rife in central Reading where some areas have become architects' playgrounds, an alienating and uncomfortable environment for its inhabitants.
However, the town does have its traditions and history and there are- signs that attempts are being made to preserve these. Its characteristic brickwork is being incorporated into new buildings, as are traditional architectural details. Old painted advertisements survive on walls while existing properties are put to new uses.
Through my many years acquaintance with Reading and my specific attempts to photograph the town I have noticed this uneasy coexistence of old and new and it is this aspect which thematically links these pictures.
The original brief for this exhibition mentioned 'post-street photography'. As I wasn't sure what this meant I took as a starting point some lines from Louis MacNeice's poem 'Bagpipe Music'. The sentiments he expressed in 1937 seemed equally valid 50 years later. Using a number of alternative printing techniques I brought together images which have been lying in my negative files for the last 30 years.
As I have no interest in politics these pictures make no deliberate political statement.
If they appear to be in bad taste I make no apology.
For the technically minded I have used a combination of salt prints, cyanotypes, gum prints, kallitypes, photo-etching, silk screen printing, solvent transfer, solarisation, photo-copying felt tip pen, fabric printing, plagiarism, breach of copyright and anything I could lay my hands on.
Anton Williams has been involved in making films for cinema and TV over the past 30 years.
His life long interest in still photography has, in the last decade, become an attempt at expressing in one still frame what the movie-makers usually express in a series of shots or frames, to distil the whole gamut of feelings and emotions in the single image.
The movie side of the communications industry often indulges itself in a multiplicity of images where very often far fewer and more carefully chosen ones would suffice and the emotional message, because of its simplicity, be far stronger.