July 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
Will this be the final post about our and ASA Collective’s adventures with Mapping and Re:Mapping Flâneurs?
The Newcastle Arts Centre exhibition ended on Saturday, and Wideyed took it down on Monday. Some lovely comments had been left on the blank index cards in the filing cabinet, for example:
A most delightful journey!
Great, but it feels like it needs to ‘grow’… The rolls need to keep unfurling.
The Flâneur, today this is me. Interesting to see what the rest of the world is up to, much sadness but some bright spots.
Inspiring use of technology, brilliant photography, very brave approach!
A fantastic concept concisely and attractively articulated through exhibition. Brings fantastic images from many countries into a cohesive, imaginative and thought provoking whole. Nice!
Someone even did a little drawing for us! But my personal favourite is “It’s awe-inspipiring – Oliver, age 10“
Anyway, while the exhibition was up we filmed as well as photographed it, and we also shot some footage of the private view on 24th July, which we’ve finally got round to editing and posting here.
It really has been an adventure. Many thanks again to everyone who shared it with us.
July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
Anyone who’s read this blog anytime over the past six months or more, would be forgiven for thinking that Wideyed has been doing little other than Mapping and Re:Mapping Flâneurs. That’s not quite true… it’s just that
we’ve I’ve been a bit rubbish at sharing other news.
For example, at the end of May we should have mentioned that, with Clarita Lulic, Adam Brown, Damien Wootten and Richard Stout, Louise was awarded one of five North East Photography Network Development Bursaries! She plans to put the bursary money towards completing her hunting project ‘Shoot!’.
And Lou has been busy doing other things too, like starting a new project. Last month it was her turn to post an image on the front cover of Wideyed’s website, and the one chosen was drawn from the first photos made in the beginnings of this body of work (see first image below). But there’s a little more to it than that, so I asked her to explain for the blog – over to Lou!
OK, here goes…..
I had some work done on my house recently, and one of the builders I employed has another life as the owner of a Clydesdale Stud. Gary and his wife, who live near me in Tow Law, breed and show their horses, and travel all over the country to compete with fellow Clydesdale enthusiasts.
The Clydesdale is a native breed to Scotland, dating back to the mid 18th Century, and traditionally they were used for farm work. Modernisation and tractors caused these working horses to become almost redundant, and the breed’s numbers dwindled until, in 1975, the Clydesdale was categorised by the Rare Breed Survival Trust as ‘vulnerable’. Recently there’s been a small increase in numbers again, and it’s now categorised as just ‘at risk’.
I’m interested in this breed of horse, and the people who choose to own them. At this stage I’m not entirely sure of what it is that I want to document though. I think I’m drawn to the fact that it’s enjoying a revival as people become increasingly aware of more sustainable practices in farming, and new generations relearn the skills to work these animals again, generally in environmentally sensitive areas, like logging.
I started photographing over a month ago, and last weekend put up a poster-size photo installation at a show in my village as a means of breaking the ice with Clydesdale owners – to act as an introduction, get people chatting, and hopefully help me find a way in to what I want to do.
It’s a start…..and even just writing this down has helped me to think about the direction that I want to take.
All images © Louise Taylor 2011. The top image is from the series ‘Horse Power’ (working title), and the other one is an installation shot of Lou’s guerilla exhibition at the horse show in Tow Law, County Durham, Sunday 3rd July.
And yes, she hung the prints with magnets, Wideyed style… 😉
May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
For information about the call for submissions follow this link.
January 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
We’ve been thinking about street photography this week.
In the concise Oxford Hachette French-English dictionary, the translation of the verb ‘flâner’ is simply to stroll, dawdle, or idle.
Inject some Benjamin or Baudelaire into this dry definition, and you get the more poetic Flâneur, who “has been portrayed in the past as a well-dressed man, strolling leisurely through the Parisian arcades of the nineteenth century – a shopper with no intention to buy […]. Traditionally the traits that mark the flâneur are wealth, education, and idleness. He strolls to pass the time that his wealth affords him, treating the people who pass and the objects he sees as texts for his own pleasure. An anonymous face in the multitude, the flâneur is free to probe his surroundings for clues and hints that may go unnoticed by the others. […] As a member of the crowd that populates the streets, the flâneur participates physically in the text that he observes while performing a transient and aloof autonomy with a “cool but curious eye” that studies the constantly changing spectacle that parades before him. As an observer, the flâneur exists as both ‘active and intellectual’. The flâneur has no specific relationship with any individual, yet he establishes a temporary yet deeply empathetic and intimate relationship with all that he sees – an intimacy bordering on the conjugal – writing a bit of himself into the margins of the text in which he is immersed, a text devised by selective disjunction.”
The curatorial premise of Collectives Encounter 2011 is ‘The Flâneur’, and this will sit within an edition of Format Photography Festival that is dedicated to street photography so, if you gloss over the wealth and idleness (and, if you happen to be a member of the fairer sex, the well-dressed man bit), you have above what could be a near perfect description of the street photographer on the prowl?
None of us at Wideyed have ever really considered ourselves as street photographers. Louise Taylor’s practice revolves around rural issues, and Richard Glynn and myself tend to work on projects where, even if the images are made on the street, the setting is incidental, is a backdrop rather than a subject. As (with ASA Collective) we work towards the production of Mapping the Flâneur (or Map the Flân, as we’ve begun calling it), the question of how we ourselves, as photographers, are going to work on this project arises – especially as none of us is sure we understand what street photography actually is.
That’s why we went to last week’s North East Photography Network reading group. The main subject for it was street photography, and we thought we might be able to sit at the back and take notes. Suggested reading beforehand was this 18 April 2010 Guardian article by Sean O’Hagan: Why Street Photography is Facing a Moment of Truth. Take this quoted definition of street photography from the article as a starting point: “It’s essentially a way of working wherein you have to be utterly open to what happens on the street. So, no props, no models, no setting up of shots, and you always use available light. Then, it’s down to a mixture of happenstance, luck and skill.” OK, fair enough, but it’s a bit of a conversation stopper, isn’t it? Remove the words ‘the street’ from the above and it could be a description of many kinds of straight documentary. And then, apply the “always use natural light” injunction to Bruce Gilden, and a star of Format Festival should automatically be barred entry to the party. Anyway, the reading group discussion about street photography quickly (and not unsurprisingly?) meandered away in other directions, and we came home not much wiser.
We then looked on the London Street Photography Festival site, where street photography is defined as, “Candid, un-staged photography which captures, explores or questions contemporary society and the relationships between individuals and their surroundings. Situated in public environments – which are often but not exclusively, urban – street photography is perhaps more easily defined as a method than a genre. The results can fit into documentary, portraiture and other genres, but the key elements of spontaneity, careful observation and an open mind ready to capture whatever appears in the viewfinder are essential.”
Which (with the other research we’ve done) has left us wondering; has ‘street photography’, as a name either for a genre or a method of photographic practice, become something of a misnomer?
We’re hoping that Map the Flân will help us explore the boundaries of this question.
[This post has also been blogged at the Collectives Encounter website.]
May 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
The surprise we took to the North East Photography Network discussion group talk we did this Wednesday was a print-on-demand book we had made about the Blindboys Wideyed collaboration. It’s very exclusive – we have just two copies of it for reference only, it’s not for sale, and if you missed the talk you may never get another chance to look at it in person… But we’ve made this little video so we can show it in another way (with apologies for the hissy sound).
May 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
North East Photography Network have invited us to give a talk about BLINDBOYS WIDEYED, the exhibition and interventions we produced in Newcastle in collaboration with Blindboys.
And the timing couldn’t be better – taking place at the Lit&Phil this Wednesday 19th May, from 5.30pm – 7pm, the talk is the perfect way for us to sign off the UK part of the collaboration just days before Blindboys take up the baton with BLOWUP IN BOMBAY on Saturday 22nd May. Blindboys’ BLOWUP street exhibitions have previously taken place in Bangalore, Delhi and Paris, and they’re planning to make the one in Bombay their biggest ever. GO BLINDBOYS!
Oh, and we’ll be bringing a little surprise to the talk with us…