Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Britain from Above

For those of you who never saw the series on BBC Two, I highly recommend 'Britain from Above'. It was a very interesting documentary show talking about various aspects of Britain, incuding industy, land, transport and cities. It looks at how our country has changed over the years, our consumer lifestyles and the way we live.
The first episode is called The Industrial Landscape and is "The story of how Britain's industrial heartlands have been transformed in the space of a single lifetime.
In 1939, the Luftwaffe secretly photographed the backbone of the British economy: the valleys of South Wales where the great coalfields powered the nation; Swindon, at the heart of Britain's railway network; and Manchester, home to the great port of Salford and the world's largest industrial estate Trafford Park." (Taken from the BBC website)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Beginning

So lets start with some of my favourite, well known industrial photographers (when I say industrial photographers I mean photographers who have specialised in industrial work at some point in their career, not just industry alone)...

Andreas Gursky;

Taken from the Matthew Marks Gallery 
'Andreas Gursky's large-scale color photographs of landscapes, buildings, and masses of people have been likened to paintings. Gursky studied with Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the 1980s, where he honed his fascination with the ways people live in the world and how their existence impacts their surroundings. In the early 1990s he began using digital tools to heighten formal elements and circumvent the limits of perspective in his pictures.'

I love the section that says "he honed his fascination with the ways people live in the world and how their existence impacts their surroundings.". A great quote that sums up a lot of my own feelings.

...On to the images!

Montparnasse, 1993

99 Cent, 1999

Siemens, Karlsruhe, 1991

As you can see his images are very busy, there's a lot going on. I enjoy this as it means I can stare at his images over and over and see something new everytime. Many people say it hurts their eyes, got an opinion?

My all time favourite industrial photographer;

Edward Burtynsky

Taken from his own website:
'Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.'

Again, a wonderful quote there about how we don't see whats going on, yet we are consumers of the output on an everyday scale.

It was really hard to select which images to upload (I've just spent about an hour on his website!). I'm a serious fan of this man, every image I love. As Roland Bathes would say, they're all studiums to me and they all contain a punctum! 

Again they're quite busy like those taken by Gursky, however I find that Burtynsky creates a true beauty within his photographs even when they've been taken on a really gloomy day. The amount of detail is astonishing and again I could stare at them for hours. For anyone that reads this and hasn't heard of Burtynsky I really recommend going onto his website and having a browse through all the images. Tell me what you think!

Now something slightly different...

John Davis

Taken from The Michael Hoppen Gallery 

'To view the landscape as a pictorial composition of elements is simplistic. To perceive the landscape within a set of rules (art, science, politics, religion, community, business, industry, sport and leisure) is a way people can deal with the complexity of meanings that are presented in our environment. We are collectively responsible for shaping the landscape we occupy and in turn the landscape shapes us whether we are aware of it or not. - John Davies'

Again, Davies is talking about how we, as humans, change the landscape around us and how we have such a profound affect on the world. However, Davies has a very different style to his images compared to Gursky and Burtynsky. Most of his work is in black and white and set around his hometown of Liverpool. He tends to take his images from afar and they include a lot of the surrounding landscape. (Probably has a lot less issues with getting access!)

Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station, Snowdonia, 1994

Agecroft Power Station, Salford, 1983

Victoria Promenade, Widnes, 1986

I think that a lot of people would say these images by John Davies are much more pleasant to look at compared to the previous photographers. I agree that they are easier on the eye and I do find a certain beauty to them, however they're not the type of images that I could spend a lot of time looking at and there just isn't that level of detail that I enjoy so much. 

Anyway.. that's all for now! I will be adding more photographers soon and hopefully something on my own current project! 

My First Blog

Hello online world!

This is the start of my first ever blog, I'm pretty excited but lets see how it goes for now!

My aim is to concentrate on industrial photography i.e ports, power stations, transport, materials, machinery..etc. General industry stuff!
Why? Because it's an interest of mine. I love to see the stuff behind the scenes; how stuff is made, how things are transported, where stuff comes from and what we do with it.

So on with the show...