Issue 14 — Spring 1998
For the first time we explore the attitudes of six photographers towards the land; examining issues of mapping, geography, personal experience, and sense of place.
Thomas Joshua Cooper's photographs have been described as 'transcendental moments which capture an underlying reality beyond everyday looking'. His images come from a platform established by the great American photographers like Alfred Steiglitz, Edward Weston and Minor White. He says of his images 'My photographs are meditations; it is as simple as that... they are more the products of a revelation than that of actual direct documentation of place'.
Errol Forbes' journey is far from the tourist's photographic experience of the landscape - where the view is sought only for the picture and the picture is no more than a proof of travel. His practice comes through an extended and repeated process of 'exploring, absorbing and listening to the landscape'.
The experience of the land viewed from the car is explored by Patricia Lofgren and Florian Merkel. Lofgren has built up a set of photographs of landmarks that map out a journey home. These are informed by her childhood memories of looking out the back of the family car. The fleeting glance out of the car window is used with incredible fluency by Florian Merkel in his work 'On the road' made in the German Democratic Republic. The piece recalls the words of Jack Kerouac and the imagery of Robert Frank who collaborated in the ground breaking book of photographs, 'The Americans', 'The old going road... trucks, cars, poles roadside houses, trees, signs, crossings.'
Kate Mellor's work takes us around the coast of Britain with scientific precision. Each image in her book is accompanied by a grid reference and includes notes indicating the images on the extremities of the compass. The photographs explore the nature of living on an island and the culture that originates from its geography.
Philip Martin re-examines stone circles that have been the stock and trade of the romantic landscape artist. He is fascinated by the reasoning behind modern imitation stone circles being erected in Wales.
On a different note, Paddy McCabe's images of Dublin Grand Canal tell a story of summer months spent cooling off and having fun. The project reveals a more innocent side to Dublin city life. McCabe is a member of Dublin Camera Club and I hope the publication of his images will also act as a catalyst to others working out of this tradition to get involved with the magazine.
— John Duncan