The Source Graduate Online for 2012 is now live! My work, as well as all the other talented photographers who will be graduating from Leeds College of Art this summer is being showcased there. Have a look at our course and lots of other from around the UK too!
After a completely manic week, one very broken hard drive, and one extremely stressed photographer, the Newmarket body of work is one step closer to being completed! Shooting finished a few weeks ago, scanning the negatives on our badass Hasselblad scanner finished this morning, so now it is just the simple task of editing, sequencing, finalising the design of the book and sending to the printers!
My living room has now been covered in prints ready to sequence, being the only room in the house that has a big enough floor to lay them all out.
Me and my graphic designer Arthur Carey have been working on some pretty exciting ideas for the design of the book, more of which I will be able to reveal in a few weeks, when I will also be taking pre-orders for the limited run of 20 copies in the edition.
Yesterday I came across Timemachine Magazine, an Australian photography magazine which has some really good work in it! Whilst browsing through the past issues (which are all available to view online) I came across Elena’s Dorfman’s series The Pleasure Park. Its amazing how I keep stumbling across other photographers who have made work about horse racing as well through the course of this project! Elena is a photographer based in Los Angeles.
Elena’s work stems from her own experience as a competitive horse rider, and combines both film and video stills to explore both the horse itself and its rider.
‘The metaphoric potential that exists between representations of the horse—and the jockey—in movement and the spectator’s gaze, particularly in racing, is at the forefront of my new work. At the track, expectations of the horse and rider are still insatiable, and conjure in the viewer motion, athleticism, sexuality, power, performance, vulnerability, competition, financial gain, and fetishism – the same issues humans are faced with in a society that worships commodity culture and winning at all costs.’
More of the work can be seen on Elena’s website, or read the interview in Timemachine Magazine.
‘For thousands of years the horse has been mankind’s closest ally. The horse made travel and development possible. We tethered, weighted and reigned them. We captured, stabled and trained them.’
Although my project focuses on the human and social aspects of horse racing, Andrew McGibbon’s work is a reminder of the majestic animal that stands at the centre of the story. Its easy to forget how crucial a role horses have played throughout the history of human society, although now their use to us is primarily based in entertainment and sport. The surreal lighting on these studio based portraits is beautiful; they’re well worth a look.
Coming Soon, Newmarket, 2012
Over the past ten months, I have been working on creating a new body of work, documenting the East Anglian town of Newmarket. The town where I grew up and spent the first twenty years of my life in is also, more importantly, widely regarded as the international headquarters for the horse racing industry.
Horse racing has been a part of Newmarket for 400 years, and continues to employ over a third all of people living in the town, as well as continually attracting new residents to the area in order to work within the industry.
Although I always regarded horses having their own paths around the town centre and traffic regularly stopping to let huge chains of them cross the road as a normal, and daily occurrence, moving to a city proved that it was anything but. I wanted to explore how the dominance of one very traditional industry affects the town as a whole.
In the next few months this work will finally come to fruition, with a limited edition book and exhibition. Updates will follow with a lot more information, but needless to say it is a very exciting time and the end of my first long term body of work.
Andy Sewell is a young British photographer whose first body of work, The Heath, published in 2011, made it onto a lot of Top Books of 2011 lists. The Heath was a series of observations on Hampstead Heath, an area of countryside that used to sit on the outskirts of the city, but has now become surrounded on all sides by the ever growing capital.
Following on from this success, Sewell has begun a new body of work - Another Country, currently a work in progress. The method Sewell has applied to create this work reminds me a lot of a project I undertook last year- picking a place at random and going and photographing whatever is there. However, whereas I focused on the suburbs of Leeds, Sewell’s explorations take place in more rural areas of Britain.
Coming from a small town surrounded by miles of countryside, it is exciting to see a British photographer capturing rural life as opposed to the streets and inhabitants of the countries cities. Portraits of farmers, vegetable pickers, bird handlers and other residents of small villages and towns are beautiful too. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished body of work.
Although Benjamin Stone is remembered in the history of photography as being an early recorder of English society, he was primarily a politician. Because of this, he had access to parts of the parliamentary system that no other photographer could have hoped to have gained. With this in mind, I stumbled across a book published in 1906, entitled Records of National Life and History. The book gives an incredible insight into politicians and Westminster at the turn of the 20th century.
Portraits of members of parliament, with their signature underneath each one, are coupled with a page detailing their roles within the government and often more personal information. The portraits are straight, confrontational, and remind me more than a little bit of contemporary portrait photography.
But what is more remarkable is the scope of the book; seemingly unimportant details are included as equally as the highest ranking individuals; there is a page devoted to the cleaning of the House of Commons; ’ Carpet-beating, for example, costs about £700 a year. Window-cleaning absorbs another £200. The House, after every sitting, is a slovenly litter.’
The book truly takes you to another time in politics, where MP’s would socialise in smoking rooms in Westminster, or lunch in the courtyard. Now, it is inconceivable that anyone would be allowed to record every aspect of political life; certainly it would be suggested to us that it is for security reasons, with the constant threat of terrorism often cited as the reason for photographers being denied access.
Astonishingly, the whole book can be seen online here. It is really well worth a read.
Some new posts are up on Photography Matters, including the found photographs of David Voss, and a post about the amazing Leeds based photographer Peter Mitchell!
Photography Matters is a new photography blog based around Leeds and the surrounding areas. Its aim is to provide news, reviews and a sense of community for artists working and living in the city, and a platform for their work.
To view the blog, submit work or ask a question, head over to http://photographymattersleeds.wordpress.com/.