The Evidence of People, Not the People

… all of the photography work i am viewing this morning is of people… extremely heavy emphasis on people… i don’t photograph people and don’t seem to be in the mood to look at photographs of people… i much prefer the absence of people, in life, in the photographs i make… i do photograph the evidence of people, all the time… the evidence is more interesting to me than the people themselves, or at least, the evidence does not protest when i make a picture, does not present itself as a being that will get angry with me for intruding… and then this article on the work of Mark Templeton in ASX, by Brad Feuerhelm… and this image…

Mark Templeton from Ocean Front Property

Mark Templeton has taken notice. Though the refutation of another place is not the aim of this work, what Templeton suggests, by acknowledging the infernal desire to leave as quickly as possible and as far away as possible, is that what we are seeking is not the place itself, but rather the journey away from ourselves, and he is rightly critical of that practice. He has noted that we never seem happy enough with where we are. We have been produced and educated with this in mind. We litter our surfaces with the promise of water, and, without remorse or candor, we embark recklessly towards entropy inasmuch as we refuse to stop expanding our movements. All heat cools. All light fades. And yet it would be a shame, in this broad and beautiful geography, if we could not take time to measure ourselves against what is most precious: the home, the family, and the will to accept that our lives are fleeting no matter where our feet finally place themselves.1

… the emphasis i have placed on the one sentence above is because it so aligns with my experience of those close to me… what is is never good enough, and lives slip away, beautiful present moment by beautiful present moment, unnoticed because we are continually dreaming of some better, happier life down the road…

Mark Templeton from Ocean Front Property

… i love the above photograph… and would you believe that i prefer the decrepit urban landscape to the hot tub bliss depicted on the billboard?… i know, i’m weird… H will confirm that to you… she understands my preference, but has long wanted a hot tub…

… if my funds were limitless, or even less bounded than they are, i would buy this book… it looks very good and BF’s essay about it is good too…

Lacuna/Intertwine

… this is my kind of photo project, devoid of people, made on walks around the hood… ok, it’s a collaborative project and i don’t do that… but the rest is all there…

… inspire of not being collaborative myself, i do appreciate the work method, which is to make analog pictures of the hood and then send them to another photographer who is doing the same to be printed overlaid… nice pandemic project… worth a look…

… about not shooting people… this comes from a shyness about asking people if i can photograph them and a reluctance to photograph them surreptitiously… and, for the most part, i am interested in the symbolic potential of ordinary objects and scenes devoid of people, though the evidence of civilization is almost always there…

… and, by the way, phase mag is one of my favorite photo mags for it’s emphasis away from photo journalism/documentary and towards conceptual work…

Seabound by Elina Brotherus

Elina Brotherus’ new photobook, Seabound, is visually arresting…

…she photographs herself in varying landscapes by the Norwegian coast line, which the review of the book points out is the second longest in the world due to all the nooks and crannies… stretched out in a straight line it would wrap around the earth two and one half times…

… i am struck by the very painterly nature of the images… landscapes with her singular figure in the midst… i am struck by the carefully thought out wardrobe, clothing always chosen to match or contrast colors in the photograph… each photograph is meticulously framed, i am guessing she works with a large format camera?…

Like many of Brotherus’ past works, Seabound holds strong links to wider visual contexts, especially those found in art history. When she first arrived in Kristiansand in the winter of 2018, Brotherus visited the Sørlandets Kunstmuseum (the Southern Norway Art Museum), searching for historical depictions of the area. In the museum’s 19th-century landscape paintings, she found dramatic, romantic, and intense reflections of the coastline, a style that is echoed throughout Seabound. In doing so, Brotherus ties herself, and her images, into the wider context of Norwegian art history.1