Portfolio name: Screens
Media: Photography presented as silver gelatin prints, slide projection or lightbox transparencies
Since reading a yellowing copy of Animal Farm at the green age of ten George’s observations of his past and anxiety about society’s future have been floating in my subconscious. As you also see, I don’t think there has been a more prescient time to take notice of the man’s projections. The work I plan for the future concerns my horror at how the world is headed and documenting how this manifests. This, my first fully realised piece on the subject is heavily interlaced with George’s notion of Telescreens and oppressive narrative piped into our homes with no let-up on the horizon.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, I also aim to explore the positives of our relationship with screens. An example of this is the photograph of 2017’s American solar eclipse; sat at a dining table I was denied a view of even the 4% solar coverage my cloudy part of England received, yet through an iPhone and my aging computer I watched as ‘totality’ first happened on the upper west coast of the USA. Was anything lost in pixels and compressed bandwidth? Does the fact that we can observe events without visiting them help or hinder social development and the understanding of our place in the world?
My current photographic work depicts screens of every type, asking whether experiencing the world through a four inch screen is enough.
Planned for release this year as a small narrative book as well as real world and internet-based exhibitions, the work is a modern response to Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert’s late 60’s TV Shots exhibition. Fifty years later the role of the screen in our society has reached a prevalence then unthinkable. Contrary to Gruyaert’s brash, distorted colour images I use grainy black & white film to strip away layers and show the shape of the beast. In May this year the work was selected from international applications for review by Magnum photographers in London and through this I gained great insight into how to best structure and present it.
For gallery exhibition I have a few formats in production including traditional silver gelatin prints in usual sizes and smaller, more numerous phone screen sized prints as well as slide projection and backlit transparencies to evoke the brightness of a screen in a physical space. I am also commissioning musical composition to incorporate into the physical and online exhibition to heighten a sense of immersion.
The book which is currently at the editing stage will be a narrative story of around sixty images. From this I am able to draw and re-create smaller fragments for showing in further contexts.