Back in October we opened Out of the Ordinary, hot on the tails of the Shutter Hub OPEN in London. This exhibition of exceptional things, at the Bridewell Theatre Bar Gallery off Fleet Street, runs until the 26th January 2019. There’s plenty of time to see how creative photographers from around the world enlightened us with their interpretation of the theme.
Out of the Ordinary Curator and Project Manager, Laura Ward, asked exhibiting photographers to share more information on their work, so that even if you can’t make it to London to see the show, you can still get an insight into the response.
The exhibition opening was full of animated and interesting discussion, a lot of it revolving around the varied images on show. With that in mind, and the desire to share, we give you, Out of the Ordinary.
Chris says: ‘I enjoy using different photographic processes and placing myself into unusual situations within the landscape.
This shot was taken at Bow Fiddle rock on the North East coast of Scotland, this is a much photographed place and somewhere you can experience the extremes of weather and natural phenomena such as the Aurora Borealis.
On the day I made this image I decided to swim out to the rock from the small beach and cove, the narrowness of the approach made it seem a greater distance, I was soon swimming across and looking down into the depths of what seemed a strange and unknown environment, the waves had displaced many of the sea plants making it seem even more like an alien world.
As I swam I made a number of images, this I think captures my feelings of apprehension and a true perspective of my place within the environment.’
Phillipa says ‘It’s 4 years almost to the day that I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. It is my second breast cancer diagnosis in 22 years. This time I had a double mastectomy and opted out of reconstructive surgery. It’s the trigger which brought me back to photography, a way to document and control my world. And so I made a series of personal images. I’m pleased that one, Going Flat, was selected for the Shutter Hub Out of the Ordinary exhibition which opened last month.
Going Flat – the term for women who choose not to undergo reconstructive breast surgery – is in many ways out of the ordinary, challenging the universal diktats of the female form on so many levels. And while it’s not for everyone, for me living flat feels both liberating and empowering. There is beauty and strength in being different, and always courage and hope. I’m proud of my mastectomy scars. They remind me that a small part of me dying taught me how to live.
Thank you Shutter Hub for selecting this image. I can’t think of a better way to honour survivors and remember others.’
Matt says ‘I’d decided to travel to Utrecht, for the start of the Tour de France that year, to pursue the idea of documenting spectators, which was formed by accident the year before on Grinton Moor in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. I had captured Jens Voight claiming the first polka dot jersey that year in his last Tour de France, and then a series of frames of a spectator removing his clothes to his underpants, waving a Union Jack flag in a frenzy, desperate to get into the picture.
The idea came from that moment but at the time I had discarded those frames. It was the success of the trip to Utrecht that made me re-visit them and start the series.
I’m afraid I can’t explain the photograph. The day was an individual time trail around Utrecht, which was enjoying unusually hot weather. The Dutch party professionally so the streets were filled with the most incredible scenes. I had actually finished for the day and was heading to the train station when I turned the corner and there was the scene. I only took one frame and I don’t think the group noticed me. They were off the circuit by quite a way and I remember being quite surprised by their blatant party on an otherwise ordinary street. I only noticed the shoe shop behind them and the person walking out of the frame, partly barefooted holding his flip-flop, while developing the work.’
Mieke says: ‘I was just lucky enough to be there when a fleeting ray of morning sunshine came through a hole in this horse’s dark box, at just the right angle to illuminate a section of its grey hide and transform it, for only a moment, into something quite extraordinary. The horse stepped aside and then back to blackness.
I am producing a series of naturally lit, abstract horse images and loving working with these amazing but unpredictable creatures- you never know what you are going to get!’.
Anna says ‘My photographic practice aims to widely accepted assumptions about groups of people, provoking discussion and analysis. Through my process, I tackle a variety of subjects using manipulated photography to question peoples received ideas about everyday life, women’s roles and the representation of illness.
In my projects, I have looked at subjects ranging from, mortality and the macabre to phototherapy. In my project ‘Blood, Stains.’ I explore transience; we are born, we live, we die. The topic of our mortality has historically been researched by scientists, philosophers and artists yet somehow no satisfying conclusion has been achieved. As human beings, we find it difficult to accept our own mortality. It is through trying to understand this that my own practical exploration began to engage with ideas around death. I am interested in the transitional relationship that humanity has with nature and I explore the correlations between nature and the human body.
I visualise this through the manipulation of found imagery and old victorian photographs I have collected over the years. Taking this evidence of a life I then create this paradoxical unity between the beauty of these portraits against the anatomical reality of veins, muscle and bone.’
Simon says: ‘Migration, and the desire to better our lives as human beings, look simple when the wider world opens up before us on screen. Yet the connection with family and home remains. In a future world of displaced people seeking refuge and somewhere to call home, this is the story of David.
Leaving the distant planet he called home for three years, David crash-lands back on earth and walks across the landscape to find his brother. The story reflects life today for many people who migrate endless miles, leaving friends and family because of war, hostilities, the need to survive, or the human desire to explore. David Come Home is also a story of hope, a story about returning to a place and people who we love and to what is reassuring and comforting.’
Read more about this series here in our Close Up article.
Ray says ‘Hin Ta (Grandfather rock) is a natural geological formation situated on the south-east coast of Ko Samui, Thailand’s third largest Island. Art often imitates nature, but here was a case of nature imitating art. Determined not to take the usual touristy photo, I decided to photograph it using black & white film and print it in the darkroom. I used the lith printing method a process capable of producing beautifully toned prints with a characteristic all of their own. Typically, this process produces contrasty prints with strong blacks, ideal to bring out texture in the rocks.
The finished print lay dormant in a bottom draw for over ten years, just waiting for the Out of the Ordinary exhibition to come along’.
House of water is an image taken from an exhibition called Evidence of Humanity. Janet was the visual artist representing the Isle of Man this year at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, France, with an exhibition of art photographs, poems and poetry films. Images were also shown at Noa Bakehouse in Douglas, an island where many of the images were taken. Earlier this year, a series of her photographs formed a visual narrative running through the Climate Minds anthology of art, essays, poetry and fiction by a range of international artists, writers and activists. Her film-based works have been selected for prizes and festivals including the Aesthetica Art Prize and FilmPoem, and her poetry is widely published and anthologised.
Anneleen says ‘Bringing in the Sheaves shows the Granton Community Gardeners carrying their freshly harvested wheat down the road from one of their urban gardens, past the community centre to the ‘grain store’, (a room in a portacabin in another of their gardens). This photograph wasn’t posed; I was following them down the road and saw the graphic composition come together before my eyes. I dodged past some bin men, ran into the middle of the road and called to them to stop, which they did for about 5 seconds before they were off again. Thankfully, I got a couple of shots! The community gardeners really are out of the ordinary – over the past few years they have reclaimed several plots of scrappy land on the council estate in North Edinburgh where we live. These street corner patches of ground were effectively dog toilets / rubbish dumps and they have nurtured them into flourishing gardens producing all kinds of fruit, veg and grain. They even grow quinoa! Every week they host community meals and have secured funding to employ a chef who makes incredible healthy food. The meals are a great place to get to know other people from around the estate; children play together, people from lots of different cultures, ages and backgrounds chat over dinner and people pitch in to help with the washing up. I’ve been documenting them over the past couple of years and it’s an ongoing project which I hope one day to exhibit as a whole, or maybe make a book from. Their positive attitude, the beauty they bring to otherwise neglected streets, the way that they bring people together and inspire others in the neighbourhood to cultivate their own gardens – these things all bring me hope and I want to share that with other people through my photographs.’
Lisa says ‘My work continues to explore the dynamics and complexities of human relationships. Those with each other, but more importantly those with our inner beings. Do we ever truly see ourselves as others do, and which version is a real representation of the self. Our life experiences contort our views, each one of us being made up of a myriad of selves. Sometimes through pain and sadness, only the shell remains.
Take me back to Kansas is fundamentally about when we feel lost within, when our equilibrium becomes unbalanced and fractured, and how this can falsify how we feel we present our persona to the world. We become hidden and step back from life. The fight to return often proving to be the most difficult journey.’
Natalie says ‘Untitled VI is part of the series “Finding the Void”, which is rooted in the desire to free one‘s head from one’s thoughts through the rhythm of walking. Placing one step in front of another helps to clear one‘s mind due to the ongoing act of repetition. The work is an investigation into meditation and landscape. Through using digitally reconstructed photography the work explores an immersion into both land and seascapes, creating a conscious state of being. Both surroundings allow contemplation through different visual experiences; being an active practitioner or being an observer. The ambiguous spheres create an awareness of the indexical nature of the photograph and blend the past, present and future together. Through walking, wandering, thinking and looking these strikingly coloured images reflect on ideas of phenomenology and perception, whilst also considering the possibilities of parallel worlds.’
Clare says: ‘W(H)ARMING is how two women – a photographer and a movement specialist – are metaphorically responding to our fragile world and trying to see beyond the half truths. Using a 1960’s mahogany Gandolfi 5X4 camera and degraded Polaroid Type 55 film they have traversed into 2018 exploring the environment’.
Ann says ‘I have created a camera-less unique lumen photogram using the stem of a Clematis plant. A stem of the plant was placed on a piece of Ilford Ilfobrom Galerie fibre based black and white, light sensitive photographic paper. The stem was secured in position on the paper by a plain glass plate, then exposed and developed using daylight. This particular paper type has its own features and sensitivity to light. The interaction between the sun, the surrounding temperature, the plant’s moisture structure, and chemistry, among other factors, and the duration of exposure contribute to create a variety of shapes, unexpected colours and floral forms. It surprises many that black and white photographic paper can produce such an array of unspecified colours. This image did not require the use of a camera or darkroom, it represents my abstract viewpoint and perspective of nature, some would say out of the ordinary.’
Jo says ‘This is part of a an ongoing series of collaborations with unknown studio photographers using glass pate negatives, photographing on a light box, adding own objects, to produce new reversal negatives and Lith printed. The glass plate negatives as ‘objects’, are of interest in themselves both as a document of the original photographic process and the photographers constructed image. For this reason I’ve reproduced the glass plate images as reversal rather than as positive images. The american soldier featured in the image is from a box of circa 1908 glass plate negs.’
Marianne says: ‘’Dobi’, is one of the first photographs I took in Delhi in 2011 and then I ended up living in Delhi for three years. People often speak about culture shock when visiting India and it was a photographers dream to live there for those years and delve deep into the culture. I made various series whilst living there, but this photo is a standalone one. I just ‘clicked’ it (as Delhites would say) because the scene was so unfamiliar to me (rows and rows of sheets drying in the sun) and this photo became a gateway for me becoming involved with Delhi photo club, as the photo was published in the Hindustan Times.
What is great about photography is, that no matter where you live you can find your ‘tribe’, be it here in the UK with Shutterhub or in India where I became an active member of the Delhi photo club. So this photo is an homage to the people that love photography and nurture fellow photographers to come together.
Shutter Hub, for me is ‘the’ contemporary photography platform for nurturing photographers. I am so grateful to have discovered Shutter Hub and the amazing opportunities being a member has offered me in 2018. I was part of ‘Because We Can’, the SHOPEN and now ‘Out of the Ordinary’. I am so thankful to Shutter Hub for giving photographers a platform to showcase their images not just within the UK but within Europe.’
Stephen says ‘Salt Queen is one of a series taken in January 2018 in the Camargue, Provence, Southern France. The series show extraordinary creatures along the waterline of the Étang de la Dame (salt water lagoon) where the man made salt hills rise from the waters south of Salin Giraud. The images show strange creature echoing the otherworldliness of this area crystallised by the bright crisp winter day of the shoot. The elegance of this image suggested to me the majesty of a Queen of the Salt.
The central part of my work relates to water, trying to abstract reflections, colour, form, shape and movement within water, which is ever changing and distorting the reality it reflects to often create an image which carries the essence of the place more exactly than a literal image of the subject.
I continuously return to the subject of WATER under the brilliant skies of Provence. I travel widely in both the northern and southern hemispheres seeking different aspects of WATER under various skies, climates and environments. Reflections under sombre grey northern skies is equally fertile subject matter. Often beauty can be found in the most fetid unlikely locations.
I showed during the Les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles in 2014 in my solo exhibition “WATER” at the CirCa Gallery, Arles and have a book “WATER” published and for sale.’
Out of the Ordinary
Bridewell Theatre Gallery Bar
St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ
16th October 2018 – 26th January 2019
Mon-Fri 10am – 6pm (viewed on request at St Bride Foundation reception); 6.30pm – 11pm during theatre performances. Closed from 23rd Dec – 3rd Jan.
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