Privacy Note: Source uses cookies or similar technologies to analyze trends, administer the website, track users’ movement around the website and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole. The technology used to collect information automatically from Source Users may include cookies, web beacons, and embedded scripts. In addition, we and our analytics providers (such as Google), and service providers (such as PayPal and Mailchimp) may use a variety of other technologies that collect similar information for security and fraud detection purposes and we may use third parties to perform these services on our behalf. If you continue to use this site, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.



archive selections by

Stephen Bull

Writer & Senior Lecturer, University of Brighton

Chances are so important in photography - and in real life. Sometime in late 1995 or early 1996 I chanced upon my former fellow student Patrick McCoy at Brighton station. He showed me an issue of a magazine I had never seen before called Source: The Photographic Review. Turning to the inside front page, Patrick proudly pointed out that he was one of the editors. He then noted with obvious pleasure that one of his photographs was reproduced on the inside back page. I congratulated him and, before parting, Patrick gave me the magazine. The same copy is beside me as I write this a quarter of a century later. Over the past 25 years many visual and verbal practitioners have shared the pride and pleasure of their work or their words appearing in Source (I am one of them). Every issue from that 1995/96 edition up to now sits on my shelves. Looking through their pages to select twelve pieces has been both a trip back in time and a refreshing reminder of the ongoing relevance of the vast array of photographs and writings that Source has published. They should be seen and be read. These are my choices.

Patrick McCoy

Patrick McCoy Portfolio
Source Issue 6 Winter 1995 / Issue 25 Winter 2000

The photograph Patrick McCoy showed me in that issue of Source: The Photographic Review was of a smiling woman holding up a baby, their faces and the rest of the image pierced by many holes. It appeared with a caption explaining that the image was ‘one of a series printed from negatives and transparencies copied from photographs found in Belfast.’ At the time the image along with the brief indication of its context resonated in a way that required little further explanation. Four years later, the same photograph returned in Source: The Photographic Review with more of McCoy’s series, consisting mostly of similarly damaged family photographs.

Dinner for One

Martina Mullaney Portfolio
Source Issue 17 Winter 1998

Another part of the remit for Source has been to engage with practitioners via portfolio days where new work is shown to the editors. In 1998 this led to the publication of Martina Mullaney’s Dinner for One. The series’ title anchors the interpretation that each photograph depicts a meal made to be eaten solo. A loaded plate on a laden chair or an empty plate on an expanse of table might be seen as sad reminders of solitary existence, but they could also be read as a celebration of lives free of the need to be defined within a multiple.

Dispose of this Magazine Carefully After Use

Joachim Schmid Article
Source Issue 21 Winter 1999

One of the pioneering practitioners of found photography, Schmid appears in disguise as a writer to discuss European photography magazines in the late 1990s. His critique of the approaches of art photography magazines is both devastating and hilarious. Such expensively produced journals do not put much expenditure towards their texts, the piece argues, assuming that ‘nobody reads the stuff anyway; what really matters is that the images come across well’. Schmid’s formula for a really good photographic magazine, with portfolios and texts that address a much wider range of photography in visual culture, reads remarkably like the remit of Source.

This Is This

John Taylor Article
Source Issue 29 Winter 2001

When traumatic events occur, real life can seem like a movie. Both parts of John Taylor’s essay on the press coverage of September 11 2001 and its aftermath refer to fictional films. Yet Taylor, writing soon after 9/11, analyses the ways in which seemingly unreal incidents quickly become part of a familiar media narrative. Imagery and headlines present us with tropes such as ‘heroes’, ‘victims’, ‘survivors’, ‘mourning’, ‘unity’ and ‘retaliation’. However, as the second part of Taylor’s text acknowledges, some events are big enough to change our perceptions of the world, leading to what appears to be a ‘new reality’.

I Wonder Whether Cows Wonder

Keith Arnatt Portfolio
Source Issue 36 Autumn 2003

What might seem like a whimsical diversion from Keith Arnatt’s more conceptual or environmental work could be one of his most significant series. Arnatt photographs cows, his lens often looking directly into their eyes. But what are they thinking? The closeness and the chasm between the inner lives of humans and animals (and of consciousness as a whole) is explored with characteristic lightness of touch. The images where the cows turn their back on him completely are just as important. This was also Arnatt’s last series, as noted in Siobhan Davis’ review of Arnatt’s retrospective exhibition (Source 52).

598-5759801 LUSE13345 - Cupressus Gigantea - CUPRESSACEAE - S. E. Tibet - 12:40 - Milan-Linate - BA565    The Arrivals Kew by Doug Ross

Doug Ross Portfolio
Source Issue 38 Spring 2004

For some time, a commercial plane appearing to fly towards any object remained a potentially traumatic sight after 9/11. Doug Ross’ project The Arrivals Kew seems, at first, to reference such imagery. Each photograph shows one of the many international flights that traverse the skies above the Royal Botanic Gardens as well as one of the many plants, imported from all over the world, that have been transplanted into the gardens. Among other things, the series invites us to consider the debatable journeys that gathered this flora, the ease of international air travel, and potential conflicts between humans and nature.

Tripper Boat, Beachy Head - National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford

Ian Walker Essay
Source Issue 40 Autumn 2004

Ian Walker focuses on a single photograph by Tony Ray-Jones of a 1967 boat trip off the coast of Scarborough (or is it?). Walker takes us on a journey too, with the photograph as our vessel. As he examines the details of the image his understanding of the photograph changes, and so does ours. Then it changes again. Walker examines the appearances of the trippers, who he assigns his own names to, like they are old friends. His use of contact sheets to discover more about Ray-Jones’ working practices (and to discover an image of Ray-Jones) is engaging and exemplary.

Camera Interiors

Mervyn Arthur
Source Issue 52 Autumn 2007

Like the deep dark voids of those cows’ eyes, the interiors of cameras in Mervyn Arthur’s series are oddly unfathomable. At first sight they appear to be rooms and we are reminded that a camera is a chamber and chambre is a room. But these are interiors we have never entered before. The enlightened insides of the cameras become walls, the red circles stare back like HAL. Shutters might be windows or, in one instance, a skylight. The entrance for the light becomes our exit. I’ve been looking at these photographs for nearly 15 years and still don’t understand them.

Advertising: Facebook

Judith Williamson Column
Source Issue 84 Winter 2015

For many years every issue of Source included a piece by Judith Williamson about the use of photographs in contemporary advertising. Developing the themes of Williamson’s books such as Decoding Advertisements, these focused, detailed analyses are one of the highlights of the magazine’s long-running history. Examining a newspaper campaign for Facebook, Williamson notes that the photographs used, such as a post ball-game celebration, depict people in close proximity, with an emphasis on physical contact. Yet, Williamson notes, the moments commemorated in the images are the opposite of the actual experience of using social media, where only the device is touched.

The Nature of Facts

David Bate Essay
Source Issue 95 Autumn 2018

‘Nature’ is a complex word with many meanings. The idea that photographs depict the world ‘naturally’ goes back to the origins of photography and to early books such as William Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature (1844-46); an image from which illustrates David Bate’s essay along with the disputed aerial photographs comparing attendance at Obama and Trump’s inaugurations. Bate argues that photographic facts do not exist outside of interpretation - and so to speak of ‘post-truth’ in contrast to ‘photographic truth’ misses the point that such ideas are produced through discourse rather than any inherent ‘fact’ of the image.

Nature Gone Wild?

Dorothea Born Essay
Source Issue 99 Autumn 2019

Dorothea Born’s essay discusses the perceived nature of Nature itself. ‘Conceptions of Nature and climate change are entrenched in the visuals we use to represent them’, Born maintains. Such images tend to show Nature as an angry ‘other’, flooding and burning as it strikes back against the cruelties that human Culture has inflicted upon it. Twenty years of magazine covers with photographs of hurricanes, forest fires, cracked land and the adrift polar bear reinforce this point. Born argues that the Nature-Culture divide must be overcome to understand the interconnectedness of our situation and calls for imagery to do this justice.

Igbo Women

Adeaze Ihebom Portfolio
Source Issue 101 Summer 2020

The women embodied by Adeaze Ihebom in this series represent both Ihebom and what Will Rea describes as ‘an imagined Igbo lineage’. As Rea notes, the goddess Ala in the Igbo pantheon has been portrayed in various contemporary guises throughout the years. In each image of Igbo Women, Ihebom embodies a generation of the Okonkwo family. The performance is not hidden, the shutter release and direct gaze to the camera are usually visible. Each woman is both of their time and for all time. There is repetition and difference. The work is both of its time and for all time.

Other Archive Selections: