An Interview With Contributors to Index, Café Royal Books: PART 2

This is the second part in our two part interview with various contributors to Index. You can view PART 1 here.

Artists were originally invited to submit their images or text online, with the brief that the work must have been used to communicate, or be communicative in its own right. The resulting publication is a mix of mostly photographs, but also words, diagrams, posters, and other works which are presented in a new context. We sent each contributor just four questions each. These are their replies. (Each contributor's name is preceded by the page number(s) of their contribution, each of which can be viewed above).

23. Ravi Juneja

What was your contribution to Index?

This image is part of a series that I shot around the Olympic Park, close to where I grew up. The series is called ‘Stratford Ring’ and has been published by Boracic Press (boracicpress.com). It’s also available from the Photographer’s Gallery bookshop and from Foyles Bookshop in Charing Cross Road.

What was the original intention or inspiration behind the image?

The promise of the Olympics, when we heard that London had won the bid, was that the locals would get a good look in. A few weeks before the games started it seemed to the locals that they’d not been embraced, as they’d been promised, but had been shut out. The tickets were out of reach financially and the army were sticking missiles on top of residents’ flats (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/30/bow-resident-evict-army-missile-base). All of the pictures in Stratford Ring are about empty promises, barriers; exclusion. The other pictures in the series take the form of landscape, portrait and architectural.

Describe the image it was juxtaposed with in the book.

The image that Craig (at Café Royal) chose to juxtapose with mine with is perhaps less about empty promise (a promise of something that-never-was) than about what once-was-real no longer being present; a trace left behind of something that was once tangible. Thematically it’s the diametric opposite of the image I shot (at least how I’m reading it), and visually it is too. It’s a clever and thoughtful piece of curation and editing on Craig’s part, and writing this has only just brought that to bear in my own mind.

What do you think the effect of this new context is on the work, and what are your thoughts about that?

I’m not sure the context of my image changes with the new pairing; but I do think it’s positively amplified and expanded. I do welcome it. Together the images work very well as a kind of ‘photographic graphic’. Thematically, again, at least how I’m reading them, they could also be seen to represent ‘a whole’; what-once-was and what-never-was coming together when the book’s pages are drawn together. It reminds me of being a child and noticing a picture of a man on one page of a magazine and a lady on the facing page, and wondering what they got up to when the magazine was put away and their pages were no longer facing each other, but conjoined.

You can find out more about the work of Ravi Juneja here.

29. Karen Harvey

What was your contribution to Index?

An image of a comb, found on the pavement

What was the original intention or inspiration behind the image?

I've been collecting images of combs for about eight years now. It started off as part of a wider project called 'The Black Notebook' where I wanted to document the things that people left behind accidentally, as if they were clues. After photographing a few found combs alongside other items such as a coat hanger, a cardigan and a necklace of gold beads, I realised that the combs were the real clues for me. The turning point came when I stepped out of the car in a car park in Belgium and found a comb waiting there. Since then combs have come and gone, often I find one just after I've been telling someone about my comb collection. I sound mad, I'm not. Sometimes other people send me photos of combs, and whilst I am delighted to see them, I can't add them to my collection because they weren't left as clues for me. So, what is the message I think I am receiving? Probably something to do with tidying up my huge helmet of hair!

Describe the image it was juxtaposed with in the book.

KING – the second half of the word 'Parking' I presume, painted on the road. I like to think its another clue. Thank you, thank you very much.

What do you think the effect of this new context is on the work, and what are your thoughts about that?

It's always intriguing to see how someone curates your work, and how they feel it relates to other peoples work. I spend so much time curating things for other people, joining the dots and linking up the clues, that it's quite refreshing to see an alternative take on things.

Find out more about Karen's work here.

31.Steven Marshall

What was your contribution to Index?

The image I contributed is the last remains of a sculpture.

What was the original intention or inspiration behind the image?

My work is mostly concentrated around environment, historical objects and memory. With this work, my intention was to document a piece that I had made which could be perceived as a historical ruin because of the nature of its presentation within ‘Index’.

Describe the image it was juxtaposed with in the book.

It’s an analogue music reel labelled ‘Nihilist Soundtrack’.

What do you think the effect of this new context is on the work, and what are your thoughts about that?

I think that these two objects seem to share the same narrative. The sculpture was originally built to become a ruin and I wanted it to break, weather, and eventually fall to pieces. I didn’t want it to be a well-preserved art object. The context in which it is shown in ‘Index’ reinforces my work, as it was created with a somewhat nihilistic intent. Its purpose was only to become nothing.

Find out more here.

33.42.43. Fabian Knöbl

What was your contribution to Index?

Page: 33, 42, 43

What was the original intention or inspiration behind the image?

Build an abstract monument. Paul Thek task

https://shop.gudberg.de/shop/build-a-abstract-monument/

https://shop.gudberg.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/4xb9RBx0noy1yHD1qRvZ6Sgl_dD_ubU_KR1oopYhLsE-MZ8kQ6sabi85eUDoi9cWJlUF0DFvG46jlq27dWnfuw.jpg

Artzine from Patrick Molnar and Fabian Knöbl

Describe the image it was juxtaposed with in the book.

Build an abstract monument.

Find out more here.

34. Andrew Bracey

My contribution to Index was a painting from my series of 'Reconfigure Paintings' each of which features a triangular, geometric pattern that intrudes, akin to a parasite or crystalline growth, on a reproduction of a historical painting, the one in Index is from a book called the 'A to Z of Art', I like the play specific in Index to do with context, between original and reproduction. Essentially the original painting, a winter landscape by Hendrick Avercamp, was first photographed and then printed in the book, I then took a page from this book featuring the reproduced painting and made an original 'Bracey' on the page, which was then photographed and now inserted back into a book, Index, put together by Craig Atkinson. I like the push and pull of authorship what is originally mine, Avercamp's and authors/editors of the two books. In short, this new context adds an extra layer to issues already inherent in the work. Another interesting by-product is the the book is in black and white, which equalises the composition somewhat between myself and Avercamp, in my painted version the pattern is bright pink! My painting is opposite a study by a painter I admire called Andrew Seto, we both have (I believe) an interest in process, abstraction, formalism and history in painting, but also an interest in spotting potential in the everyday/mundanity. Most of all I am happy that the image by Seto is taken in his studio, that context is very apparent, and the studio, and specifically the painters studio, is probably the place where I am most consistently happy, stimulated, intrigued, motivated, inspired……..

Find out more about Andrew Bracey here.

36. Stephen McCoy

What was your contribution to Index?

I contributed a diagram drawn by my Father on page 36. I wanted to avoid supplying a photograph and was interested to see how the diagram would be re-interpreted.

What was the original intention or inspiration behind the image?

This diagram was titled ” The last advice my Father gave me before he had his stroke ” . It was drawn when I was re-wiring an attic conversion. My Father was an expert in DIY issues and he drew this diagram to help with the circuitry.

I have kept the diagram for several years as a poignant reminder and thought it would be appropriate for the re-contextualising that was the concept behind Index.

Describe the image it was juxtaposed with in the book.

It was juxtaposed with a drawing by Steve Clarke of an imagined aerial map based on a coastal resort.

What do you think the effect of this new context is on the work, and what are your thoughts about that?

The drawings are both maps of a sort and purport to finding or guiding a way through a spatial environment. Both appear to theoretical and a representation of linear routes and both could be regarded as a circuit. My diagram was not to scale, but Steve's map does appear to have a scale of sorts.

Find out more about Stephen McCoy's work here.

37. Stephen Clarke

What was your contribution to Index?

My contribution to Index was a scan from a Ward Lock guide book of a 1960s street map of Rhyl, the North Wales seaside resort. I have a long-term project that uses photographs, photomontages, tracings and print ephemera that record family holidays at the resort (recently exhibited at Oriel Colwyn http://orielcolwyn.org/shifting-sands/ and discussed by Prof. John K. Walton in the Royal Photographic Society Contemporary Photography Journal http://issuu.com/bjsdesign/docs/contemporary_photography__summer_20). The map was scanned then altered through Photoshop. All the text was erased – street names, the names of buildings, – so that only the image remained. One piece of text, the name of the now demolished fairground ‘Ocean Beach Park’, was kept. This was re-sized and re-located on the map in place of the town’s name. In effect the out-of-date map now refers to a non-existent fairground – both the fairground and the town of the 1960s are gone and all we have is the trace. This artwork serves as a reference to my upcoming photobook with Café Royal Books titled ‘Ocean Beach Park’ that will be released this summer.

What was the original intention or inspiration behind the image?

This image of the 1960s street map of Rhyl has featured in a number of exhibitions related to my larger project. I have made two wall drawings from the map. To make these drawings I project the map on to a wall using an Overhead Projector (OHP slides). The projection is then traced on to the wall and altered in the process. In the first wall drawing I removed all street names; this was for an exhibition at Winchester School of Art in 2004 and was exhibited alongside black and white photographs of the town. In 2006 I re-made the wall drawing but this time changed many of the street names to reflect the content of my exhibition, titled ‘Postcards from Rhyl’, at Rhyl Art Centre. Again, the traced map was exhibited alongside photographs and photomontages. The image in the Café Royal Book ‘Index’ is the third version that I have made of this map.

The original intention behind this work is to provide a map that helps the viewer of my photographs and photomontages to locate sites in the seaside town of Rhyl. I consider tracing to be closely linked to the act of photography as it has an indexical relationship to the subject. In this case the evidence has been corrupted but there remains enough information for the viewer to cross-reference locations.

Describe the image it was juxtaposed with in the book.

The image was juxtaposed with a diagram drawing made by the father of my friend Stephen McCoy. Steve is a photographer based in Liverpool who is interested in topographical photography. He works with Stephanie Wynne as the partnership McCoy Wynne. We share an aesthetic that is based on the American New Topographics photographers. Neither of us knew that the images that we submitted to the Index project would be shown side by side. It is interesting that the editor/curator Craig Atkinson positioned us together in the book and perhaps reinforces the connections that we share. The map and the diagram are both objective tools to rationally explain where things are located and perhaps how they function. However, both Steve and myself inject a ‘romantic’ aspect to these documents as my map refers to a place from my childhood holidays in the 1960s, while Steve’s diagram was drawn by his deceased father to explain to his son an electrical circuit. The map and the diagram serve as memorials.

What do you think the effect of this new context is on the work, and what are your thoughts about that?

In the immediate context of the juxtaposition of my map and Steve McCoy’s diagram I think that it continues an ongoing discussion that I have with Steve McCoy and Stephanie Wynne about the photograph as document and its relationship to other graphic media. In the broader context of the book as a whole I think that each contribution to the book serves as a calling card for the reader to chase up the references to find out more about each individual contributor (in other words the reader can attempt to follow a trail that each piece initiates) or they can look at this project as a whole to consider how time leaves some images and notations orphans.

You can contact Stephen by email at stephen890@aol.com.

40.41. Kenneth Gray

What was your contribution to Index?

My contribution appears on pages 40 and 41 of Index. The photographs show artefacts from my grandfather’s time in the First World War. The bible shown on page 40 was presented to my grandfather, Robert Gray, on 27 May 1917. At the time, he was on active service in the First World War. The receipt on page 41 is for the 1914-15 Star award which was presented to my grandfather for his services with the Cameron Highlanders.

I'd like to thank Craig at Café Royal Books for choosing to include my work.

What was the original intention or inspiration behind the image?

As the brief for Index stated, 'submissions must have already been used to communicate, or be communicative in their own right’ – and both the bible and the receipt had already done the job they were intended for. The receipt especially was intended for the specific purpose of proving that my grandfather had received his award – the tear off slip has been removed and returned to the Record Office. The National Bible Society of Scotland (now the Scottish Bible Society) had distributed the Bibles to communicate the word of God to soldiers in the war.

Describe the image it was juxtaposed with in the book.

Both images on the spread are mine, and the two images complement each other rather than lending one another a new context. They are a snapshot of Robert Gray’s time in the war, from active service to post-war award. The photographs show material which I came into possession of after the death of my aunt in December 2013. I knew nothing at all of my grandfather, so I had very little context into which to place them as far as I personally was concerned. The bible and the receipt are artefacts which only hint at the idea of Robert Gray and what he did during the war. Fortunately I also now have the 1914-15 Star award which the receipt was for.

What do you think the effect of this new context is on the work, and what are your thoughts about that?

The image before my work is of a partly demolished cinema, and the image after my work is what appears to be a wrapped lion statue. In the context of coming after my images, I read the lion statue as a war memorial, although that may not have been its intention. The rubble of the demolished cinema hints at the destruction wrought by bombs. I find that my reading of my own images has not changed, but my reading of the images before and after mine is inevitably influenced by my own work.

Find out more here. 

 

 

We thank all the artists for their contributions. You can buy Index from Cafe Royal Books at their website, here.

Is there someone that you’d really like to see us interview on Shutter Hub? Drop us a line and let us know!