Sense of Place Exhibition

The inaugural exhibition hosted by Wobneb Magazine - with essay by Rob Hudson

Wobneb Magazine wants to provide opportunities for photographers to exhibit in group online exhibitions with no entry fee. This series of exhibitions is open to any amateur or professional photographer around the globe — with the goal of providing the chance for many different people to contribute to the theme. The inaugural theme for 2018 is Sense of Place.

On some level, each photographer tries to convey an observable sense of a place within a slice of a second; hopefully transcending mere documentation of physical appearance to impart a feeling of their experience or emotions. This exhibition is fortunate to have a range of styles and methods used to address the theme. Photojournalist Louise Wateridge’s image of a Syrian refugee child playing with a pigeon is reflective of her sense of place as an observer; capturing a moment of joy within a life of hardship, and creating a strong image without being overly invasive. The work of photographer J.M. Golding is connected to specific locations and presents a spiritual and philosophical connection to the world around her. She observes and transforms the views into what exists internally as well. The landscape by Ellen Jantzen takes a step further into how an artist can capture an image or images of a place, and create new realities in her process of looking beyond surface and trying to reveal something emotional through her manipulations.

Rob Hudson is a special contributor to this exhibition. In his essay, Hudson addresses the idea of place and how photographers try ultimately to show the uniqueness and insight each person brings to the table. In addition, Hudson and photographer Al Brydon contribute images from their respective regions of Wales and England to share their sense of place with respect to their own relationship with the land.

For this exhibition, we asked photographers to consider the following: What is the social or physical landscape where you live? How do you define your sense of place in the world? A sympathetic understanding is the goal of any photographer. Each one asks the viewer to look at what they’ve captured with their camera, recall their own personal experiences, and draw meaning from the connections. We asked contributors to show how they document or interpret the world around them, and convey a sense of place using their unique visual voice. This exhibition is an exploration of that idea, our surroundings, as well as ourselves.


A Sense of Place by Rob Hudson

I’ve just returned from spending a few days in somewhere that, to me at least, has a strong sense of place — the St. David’s peninsula in the far southwest of Wales. It was one of the places in Britain where the first Christians arrived from Ireland, now memorialized in both the place’s name, and the cathedral tucked into a little valley to hide it from Viking marauders. There’s a sense of human history here that is so close to the surface and obvious in such a sparsely populated area. It seems to shine forth in a way I don’t recognize or feel about in the city I live within.

The tilted rock strata produces a long line of low hills that seem to rise up from the surrounding plane with the character of mountains. They look like leaning triangles, and that feature is carried all the way to the sea cliffs and the outlying islands. If you imagine that line of hills to be the dorsal fins of a giant subterranean whale, several miles long, then the cliffs and jutting rocks are its teeth having taken giant bites out of the coastline.

A Pembrokeshire Triangulation -05 Rob Hudson
© Rob Hudson, from ‘A Pembrokeshire Triangulation’

I could tell you these things, and create the idea of a sense of place in your mind to illustrate how the uniqueness of a place makes it stand out. Is it uniqueness, or because I’ve been visiting here since I was a boy, and have a strong emotional connection to this place? Perhaps it is because there’s a commonality of features which we recognize as having a sense of place. I can also tell you that six different people from varying ages, genders or cultures have independently described this place as having something ‘magical’ about it (and it’s a term I’d happily subscribe to myself); but this brings us no closer to explaining or identifying any features that give a sense of place.

Al Brydon 2
© Al Brydon, from the ‘None Places’ series

The poet Edward Thomas wrote the phrase, ‘Within the spaces between’, which simply sums up the connection we make to the often unappreciated places we visit — especially when we engage with making an artistic response to them. A sense of place isn’t a simple concept to understand. We all recognize it when we feel that connection, but like many emotional responses it is more difficult to explain in words. Perhaps this is because a sense of place isn’t an inherent aspect of a place’s identity at all, but something we project onto it. In short, it is a social and cultural construct. This isn’t to suggest that a sense of place is lesser because of its human roots; landscape itself is an idea, and it doesn’t exist outside the human realm. Both terms express the power place can hold over us, the depth of our emotional connection.

A Pembrokeshire Triangulation -22 Rob Hudson
© Rob Hudson, from ‘A Pembrokeshire Triangulation’

Equally important is to consider what the opposite of a sense of place might entail — what is ‘placenessness’? Placeless spaces are just as valuable in artistic expression as those that have a sense of place. A few years ago my good friend and fellow founder member of the Inside the Outside collective made a series of photographs he termed ‘None Places’. Like others engaged with a radical interpretation of landscape, Al Brydon’s ‘None Places’ are sites of freedom, which allowing for a more anarchic expression. It is arguable that after we put a frame around a photograph of a place, it ceases to be placeless because we’ve begun the process of myth making and story telling, which contribute to the creation of a sense of place. This doesn’t mean they are invalidated, they are worthy of our exploration and expression, but we should also be aware of our own contradictions. As Gertrude Stein said, “There is no there there”.

Al Brydon 3
© Al Brydon, from the ‘None Places’ series

The truth is, we make or find a sense of place if we look long and hard enough. After all, that is the job of the artist or photographer — to show others our insights. In essence we’re trying to understand and express ourselves through the medium of our relationship to place. But, and this is an important ‘but’, we don’t all share the same experiences of place. Our world is so full of imagery; only an individual’s unique response to place will stand out. That’s easier than it sounds. We have to do the legwork. It’s taken me approximately 40 years to visually consummate my love for St. David’s peninsula; I hope you’ll achieve success somewhat faster.


Ed Fetahovic
© Ed Fetahovic, Smaller Like Man, Perth, Western Australia  http://www.edfetahovicphotography.com
KathyShorr
© Kathy Shorr, Bench, Miami, FL http://www.kathyshorr.com/
Eric Moore
© Eric Moore, untitled, Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Arizona https://elmoore.myportfolio.com
Ethan Lo
© Ethan Lo, Omission, Hong Kong http://www.ethanlo.co.uk
Juan Rodríguez Morales
© Juan Rodríguez Morales, Ghost World, Alcobendas, Madrid http://www.juanrodriguezmorales.com/
Emmanuel_Monzon
© Emmanuel Monzon, Urban Sprawl Emptiness, Yucca Valley, CA https://admonzon.format.com/#1
Ritam Talukdar
© Ritam Talukdar, And the journey ended, Pondicherry, India https://ritamsphotocreation.wordpress.com/
RobTM
© Rob™, Roads, Lancashire, UK http://www.robtm.co.uk
Yuriy Pavlov
© Yuriy Pavlov, Sacred place, Saint-Petersburg, https://www.ypavlov.com/
Amanda Le Kline
© Amanda Le Kline, Origins, Strausstown, Pennsylvania https://amandalekline.com/
J. M. Golding
© J. M. Golding, At the frontier of the known world, northern California http://www.jmgolding.com
Anne See
© Anne See, Walking Among Giants, Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA https://www.instagram.com/cheeksandchubs/
Cristóbal Carretero Cassinello
© Cristóbal Carretro Cassinello, Blue Almería, Almeria, Spain http://www.cccassinello.com
Amelia Morris
© Amelia Morris, Self Portrait as a Ghost, Indianapolis, IN http://www.thanksandsorryphotos.com
catherine_slye
© Catherine Slye, Nightlight, Tucson, AZ https://www.catslye.com/
Alexandr_Polyantsev_01
© Alexandr Polyantsev, Playground, Arkhangelsk region, Russia https://polyantsev.ru
Marc Sirinsky
© Marc Sirinsky, Plane, Leesburg, VA http://www.sirinsky.com
Kristel Collison
© Kristel Collison, Noticing the Unnoticed, Northern Pennines, UK, https://instagram.com//kristel.collison
Elizabeth Virgl
© Elizabeth Virgl, Oil Refinery, Roxanna, IL
Wioleta Kaminska
© Wioleta Kaminska, Inside Silence, San Francisco, CA http://wioletakaminska.com
© Aldebarán Solares, Untitled from Umbral series, Marsella, Fr
© Aldebarán Solares, Untitled from Umbral series, Marsella, France http://www.aldebaransolares.com
David Thackwell
© David Thackwell, The Wilderness – Prologue, Hooke Park, Dorset https://dthackwell.com
Jennifer Mayhall
© Jennifer Mayhall, Rite of Passage, Cincinnati, Ohio, https://www.instagram.com/inspiration_catalyst
Piercarlo Quecchia
© Piercarlo Quecchia, The New Tomorrow Myth, Gligino Hill, Dobrljin, Bosnia & Herzegovina https://piercarloquecchia.com
Tatyana Kolbatova
© Tatyana Kolbatova, Exit to, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, https://tatyanakolbatova.com/
Ellen Jantzen
© Ellen Jantzen, Equilibrium, New Mexico,  http://www.ellenjantzen.com/
Gina Costa
© Gina Costa,Neighborhood Night Stories, South Bend,IN, http://www.ginacosta.com
Mark Sawrie
© Mark Sawrie, Twins, Joshua Tree, CA https://www.artistslashsomethingorother.com
Allan Lewis
© Allan Lewis, Gin Parlour, London, ON, allanl.com
Abhiruk Lahiri
© Abhiruk Lahiri, Urban dreams, Delhi http://clweb.csa.iisc.ernet.in/res12/abhiruk.lahiri/phaotography
Nathan Gentry
© Nathan Gentry, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania http://www.nathangentryphoto.com
Andy Mellor
© Andrew Mellor, Yesterdays, Blackpool, UK http://www.andrewmellorphotography.com
Peter Ydeen
© Peter Ydeen, Bath Construction http://peterydeen.com/
Louise Wateridge
© Louise Wateridge, Life After War -Syrian Refugee Child playing with a Pigeon in a refugee camp in Beqaa Governate, Lebanon https://www.louisewateridge.com/
Gildo Spado
© Gildo Spado, Topsy Turvy, Astoria Queens, NY http://www.gildonyc.com
Allen Morris
© Allen Morris, untitled, Milwaukee, WI http://www.allenmorrisphoto.com
Diane Fenster
© Diane Fenster, I Hear the Mermaids Singing Each to Each, Pacifica, CA http://www.lensculture.com/diane-fenster
Mirja Paljakka
© Mirja Paljakka, My place, Ylojarvi / Finland, https://mirjapaljakka.weebly.com
Nicolas Guillen
© Nicolas Guillen, Estivation, Orléans, France http://www.nguillen.com
Callie Zimmerman
© Callie Zimmerman, Turf, Fowler, IN http://www.calliezimmerman.com
Julia Ivantei-Ershova
© Julia Ivantei-Ershova, Guest, Saint Petersburg, Russia https://uabymtvk6xec.wfolio.ru/
SolaresEstefania
© Estefania Pec, Full and empty, México city https://www.instagram.com/keenkll/
Alison Benbow UK
© Alison Benbow, untitled, Liverpool, UK
Naomi Lofkin
© Naomi Lofkin, Finding Space, Dartmoor, England, https://naomilofphoto.myportfolio.com
Alex Cavalco
© Alex Cavalco, Waffle House, Milwaukee, WI http://alexcaval.co
Michael Bach
© Michael Bach, Rt. 32. Waterviliet, NY, January 2018 http.// http://www.michaelpbach.crevado.com
Devon DeVaughn
© Devon DeVaughn, RV, Eugene, OR http://www.devondevaughn.com
Martin Buday
© Martin Buday, Prophetic Kingdom, Milford, DE. 2018. http://martinbuday.com
Audrey Gottlieb
© Audrey Gottlieb, Utopia Parkway, Flushing, Queens, NY_www.audreygottlieb.com
Arthur Fields
© Arthur Fields, OBB, Vincennes, IN http://www.arthurfields.net
Tasha Lutek
© Tasha Lutek, Kitchen, Rockwood, TN http://www.tashalutek.com

 


Sense of Place, October 2018 Wobneb Magazine

Rob Hudson is one of the co-founders of Inside the Outside, a collective of landscape photographers based in the UK. He has contributed to a number of books and projects on landscape photography, and his photographs have been shown in a number of prominent exhibitions throughout the UK.
www.robhudsonlandscape.net
Twitter @RobHudsonPhoto
Instagram @robhudson_

Al Brydon’s ‘None Places’ by kind permission www.al-brydon.com.

Inside the Outside collective:
www.inside-the-outside.com
Twitter @inside_the_out
Instagram @insidetheoutsidegroup

This exhibition is also published at on Medium.com. All images are used with permission. I want to sincerely thank all the contributors and artists for sharing their work. — Cary Benbow, Publisher, Wobneb Magazine

Advertisements

Submission? Advertising? Question? Contact Wobneb Magazine

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s