Issue 60 — Autumn 2009
In photographic art, as in other types of art, the artist is seen as the person who decides the appearance and meaning of the work they produce. Nevertheless, in practical terms, other people often make an important contribution to these decisions. The editing of pictures, the printing of pictures and the curating of exhibitions are three roles that are often undertaken by people other than the photographer.
David Campany has collected and arranged a selection of quotations about the editing of photographs. Including, among others, the words of photographers, film makers, designers, writers and newspaper editors, and spanning a period from 1927 to 2009, their remarks show how pervasive the role of picture editing has been in deciding the meaning of pictures.
Photographic printing has, according to Simon Denison, recently undergone a revolution, brought about by the advent of digital technology. Here he describes the various processes now available for printing photographs, talks to experienced printers about their preferences and discovers that although the new methods offer significant flexibility and reductions in costs, the skill of a printer and subjective aesthetic preferences will still determine how a 'good' photographic print is produced.
Frits Gierstberg has many years of hands-on experience as a curator of photographic exhibitions that means he can give a pragmatic and demystifying account of what a curator actually does. This turns out to be a role with many parts, from fundraising to coordinating publicity, all of which will have a role in determining how a photographer's work is mediated to the general public.
Thomas Joshua Cooper has just been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship; previous photographers to hold the award include Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Walker Evans and Robert Frank. Cooper's award will help support him in finishing his project to be entitled An Atlas of Emptiness and Extremity. The project, made over the last nineteen years, has involved travelling to and photographing in detail the extreme points of the five continents that surround the Atlantic basin. Edward Welsh interviews him to discuss the project and his beginnings in photography.
Mark Neville is interviewed by David Brittain about his recent installation Fancy Pictures, commissioned as part of the visual art programme on the Mount Stuart Estate on the Isle of Bute. He discusses his interest in the relationship between the farming community on the island and the Bute family, former owners of Mount Stuart, who still rent out most of the farms on the island. Installing his work in the house and grounds of the estate Neville was interested in the possibility of transforming the established landlord-tenant relations and how this original context for the works could be maintained as it filtered out into the world.
Simon Burch's new work Under a Grey Sky opens this month at the Gallery of Photography. The work documents the boglands of Co. Offaly blackened as a result of mechanised turf cutting. Automatic turf production was established in Ireland in the 1920s but it is estimated to last only another 15-20 years. Burch was interested in recording this overlooked industrial landscape and its local community.
— The Editors