Andrew Mellor is a photographer based in Lancashire in the North West of England. His photography explores natural and man-made environments; and the interaction between the two with concerns over how we use the landscape and the social and political issues surrounding it. His work explores change and human impact.
Land – Sea : Artist Statement
For centuries Blackpool was just a hamlet by the sea. But by the middle of the 18th century, the practice of sea bathing to cure disease became very fashionable amongst the wealthier classes and people were making the journey to Blackpool solely for that purpose. Our current perceptions of the British seaside were formed during this Victorian period – childish innocence, the fun of the fair and the tranquillity of the sea itself; simple ‘old-fashioned’ fun – are all the stronger for having these Victorian roots.
Between the years 1856 and 1870, a Promenade was built along the sea front to prevent continual erosion and potential flooding and over many years the coastline witnessed significant geological and geographical changes.
It was built in several sections, which vary in height and profile, with the first completed stretch of sea defence being erected from Talbot Square to the site of where Blackpool tower was to be later built. All sections were subsequently designed by a succession of Borough Surveyors and landscape architects, which were also built in stages. This has resulted in different architectural compositions of varying construction and design. The visual stimulus created by the differing architecture is a fascinating feat of engineering and can be used to improve society, both socially and environmentally.
The marine frontage is approximately 12 miles long, from Blackpool to Fleetwood, and is in constant need of maintenance, as it is estimated that the average life span of a seawall is 50–100 years. Hard-erosion control methods provide a more permanent solution than soft-erosion control methods and because of their relative permanence, it is assumed that these structures can be a final solution to erosion.
There are many fabled stories, which provide a mythical backdrop to the seafront, with tales of bells tolling from lost villages and the revelry of the patrons from the penny o pint, which superstition says is supposed to signify a stormy night. Maps from before the late 1500’s indicate the North West coastline ventured out possibly a mile or two further than it does presently. Supposedly, several villages stood along this peninsula and were said to have been destroyed during a tidal flood, around 1554 or 1555; some archaeological evidence suggesting the existence of these villages has been found.
To see more of Andrew Mellor’s work, or connect to him via social media, check out his website and links below:
The colorful photographs in Julio’s House show us extravagant, Liberace-inspired interior living spaces within a modest Miami house. We see scenes of a very personal setting, but devoid of people. The only people shown in the book are in vintage photographs taken of Orestes Gonzalez’s uncle Julio, his uncle’s friends and lovers, and his life as a cruise ship entertainer. Julio worked as a magician, tour guide and entertainer aboard a ship that took tourists between Miami and Cuba before Castro took power in 1958.
Current images of Julio‘s house are juxtaposed with vintage photographs of the same rooms and largely unchanged decor from over 30–40 years ago. The bitter-sweetness is palpable. How does Gonzalez come to terms with the loss of a family member who was somewhat estranged by his family, and put it all into context while sorting through his belongings and walking through Julio’s personal spaces?
When I first saw photographs of this project almost a year ago, I recognized the importance and the weight of responsibility for photographing spaces that belonged to a significant person in one’s life. Gonzalez’s photos include rooms that feature knickknacks, reading material on a side table, and all the ephemera that were in place while his uncle was living in his home. So the photographs are part document, part remembrance. It is a potentially revealing and rewarding endeavor to explore the themes that come from this process, decipher meaning from all of it, and try to understand it.
I had the opportunity to photograph my grandparents house while they were both living. I went through their house with a large format camera and took careful photographs of each room. The images were originally taken as a documentary study of where they lived. Looking at those photographs over twenty years later, they have transformed into vignettes of spending time in the house as a child. When I asked Gonzalez about the images in his own project, which was developed into this wonderful book, he said, “They lasso you in to a reality, away from incorrectly fantasizing over a period of time or a place. My intent with the story was to shatter the stereotype of the gay man (that my generation grew up with) as just an effete, and not family orientated individual.”
Gonzalez’s text throughout the book is well paced with the images chosen. The interior scenes of the house are counterbalanced with personal photographs or close-ups of a setting that give us a real feel for what it was like to be in the home. We see the rooms, how they are decorated, personal effects on shelves and side tables, stuffed birds attached to black velvet in picture frames, striped foil wallpaper in the dining room and green shag carpet in the front room. Bright daylight floods the rooms in his images — a stark contrast to the nightlife chronicled in some of the text describing evening parties with energetic music, dancing, and Cuban food that went straight to the gut and soul of the merry-makers in Julio’s house.
One can sense Gonzalez’s conflict, from the way Julio was marginalized by his close family long ago. But while going through Julio’s belongings and paperwork, Gonzalez discovered that his uncle had scrimped and saved and lived modestly in order to eventually bring 12 members of his immediate family to the United States from Cuba. Gonzalez discovered his uncle was a caring, family-centric man who lived a life that was at odds with the stereotypes that gay men (Cuban-American men especially, according to Gonzalez) faced in the 1970s and beyond. His previously held opinion about Julio as a flamboyant, superficial man quickly transformed into pride for his uncle.
The book feels like a hand-written letter one would write and send it to someone who has been a significant influence in their life. A letter to convey the complex emotion: ‘I understand now better what you mean to me, what you meant to me, and why our relationship is important.’ So many things are seen clearer if given enough time and distance, whether it’s physical or emotional.
It would be easy to view this collection of photographs and written memories as primarily being a remembrance. But, I feel one should look at the project as a sense of discovery. Gonzalez is presenting a visual and written exploration of the over-arching question: what would his life possibly be like if he had experienced his family in a different way, and how would that difference impact his own life as an openly gay man? Does the myth of one’s past hold up to the scrutiny of the present? Gonzalez’s photographs are taken from the angle and perspective of an adult, and they were not naively taken nor considered. The narrative text is written by a man who is recalling the past, and providing context for the life and times of his uncle. This process of self discovery, as well as trying to understand the people who influence and mold your life, is potentially one of the most important things a person can undertake. And the act of treasuring or honoring the lives of those we love reminds us of our own mortality. With consideration to Julio’s House, one could say our own possessions might mean nothing to one person, but to another it may be the key to unlocking memories and understanding.
Julio’s House by Orestes Gonzalez
Essay by Roula Seikaly
10 x 8.5″ perfect-bound, hardcover
Limited edition of 400
Julio’s House received much deserved attention and accolades in 2017. Notably, the book was bought by The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) as part of their book collection in the Thomas J. Watson Library, and the images have been picked up by The Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Miami. The opening date for the show “Julios House”, at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery is Friday April 6th, 2018.
YIELD Magazine is hosting a series of online gatherings in anticipation of a virtual conference planned for the coming year. YIELD Magazine is a publication of the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame University.
A range of engaging topics have been covered in the online meetings thus far. Artist interviews, portfolio presentations, round table discussions, and an upcoming online gathering to highlight photographers using Instagram. These events are open to photographers who wish to participate or share their work, add to the discussion, and help cultivate appreciation of photography as an art form in the Midwest. Please see the webpage for YIELD Magazine for more information about these meetings and how to become involved; or you can also check their Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook accounts.
The second volume of Out of the Ordinary by Iain Sarjeant is a continuation of the project he has been working on for a number of years. The project, and two books thus far, has developed from the approach of Sarjeant’s spontaneous wandering, exploring, discovering, and observing. “The series explores the kind of places that most of us walk or drive past every day,” says Sarjeant, “without really noticing – places where the infrastructure of human habitation interacts with the natural environment. These are dynamic landscapes, constantly being altered, and part of the fascination for me is the element of chance involved in the photographs – coming across scenes that may look very different the following week or month.”
As with Volume 1, this new book captures scenes of the land Sarjeant encounters across Scotland. The witty interplay between geometric shapes, colors or textures is a strong part of his work. His body of work includes images that feature vehicles in all manner of use and function (or disfunction), buildings both commercial and residential, markings on pavement, graffiti, shadows and shipping containers. From a visual standpoint, Sarjeant takes advantage of Scottish overcast skies to give extra punch to the color that is either featured or included in the scenes. He compresses the space to heighten the sense of rhythm or repetition of shapes, or knows when to pull back to include more of the scene to set the stage. He has valuable use of line and it draws the viewer through the images, and the layout of the overall book as well. Artful placement of the images in sequencing this book make smart visual connections. Power lines and playground structures are connected visually, as are fence rows and street markings, or old growth hedges and growing saplings. Sarjeant’s use of visual association and interplay are used to their best again in this book. Out of the Ordinary, Vol. 2 is a joy to view and admire the craft of creating a multi-volume series of photography books.
Over several years, Another Place Press has been quietly building a cache of wonderful photo books dealing with the subject of the land, and peoples’ relationship and interaction with it.Out of the Ordinary is one of the books that anchors this theme. The third and final volume of Out of the Ordinary will tentatively publish at some time in 2018.
Iain Sarjeant is the founder and editor of Another Place, and Another Place Press which showcases contemporary landscape photography. He has worked with the photo collective, Documenting Britain, and works as a stock photographer.
To purchase a copy of Out of the Ordinary, Vol. 2 – please visit Another Place Press.
For more information, or to view Sarjeant’s personal work; please visit these sites:
Surreal and mysterious portraits and places in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom
In 2010, French photographer Stéphane Lavoué discovered a special landscape in the United States, called Northeast Kingdom. It is located along the border to Canada in the northeast corner of Vermont, comprising Essex, Orleans and Caledonia counties. This beautiful, rugged, remote area has a population of roughly 65,000 people. Lavoué’s series and book, The Kingdom is a personal tribute.
When Stéphane Lavoué and his family first came to the Northeast Kingdom, he immediately felt he found a very special place. In the beginning, he wanted to make a body of work like a journalistic investigation. Levoué started his series with this idea in mind, but the project and the resulting book are far more than photo reportage. His images transcend into narrative fiction, even if all the people and places are based on a real place.
I have the habit of browsing through a book from front to back, then working my way back toward the front again. As a result, I came across the accompanying text at the back of the book and read the account right after my first pass through the book. The story is about a woman traveling to the Kingdom. She is searching for her brother who has been absent for many years. Could all the people and places Levoué captured be evidence of this story?
The French writer and journalist, Judith Perrignon, was asked to write her short piece to accompany the images. Her text was written after the photo series was completed, so her story is a mix of invented memories and fictional events.With or without knowing this, an entirely new layer of meaning is applied when viewing the book with her text in mind. Before I knew the text was fictional, the portraits and scenes I had first encountered had me retracing my steps; wondering who and where Levoué had chosen to photograph because of their importance in the story. Levoué’s images have a timeless and surreal quality – natural lighting makes a man waring a hairnet and an Army graphic t-shirt look like a renaissance painting, and scenes of The Museum of Everyday Life could easily be mistaken for a setting from Twin Peaks, or a Wes Anderson film.
In addition to the striking images and text, the book itself feels great to hold. The embossed cover feels like leather, the printed end sheets of the book feature a map of the Northeast Kingdom; which invokes the idea that one is holding a personal journal, or an artifact that is a part of the mystery and the story within. The mystery deepened each time I went back to the images and re-read the text. Levoué’s world in The Kingdom had me revisit the work multiple times; and left me with more wonderful questions than answers.
Photos by Stéphane Lavoué, with text by Judith Perrignon Graphic design by l’atelier 25 French & English
170×240 mm Munken lynx 170 gr & woodstock grigio 110 gr embossed hard cover ISBN 978-2-9552412-4-0 2017 first edition
The Kingdom is published by éditions 77 – please visit their website to order a copy here. To see more work by Stéphane Levoué, please visit his website.
This is an edited version of the review first published in F-Stop Magazine in January, 2018.
Filter Photo is pleased to announce #Mass_Observation, a photographic installation by Krista Wortendyke, at Filter Space gallery.
#Mass_Observation is about the developing space of social media and how we use it not only as a way of collecting our own experiences, but as a way of connecting and consuming the experiences of others. Untrained observers continuously record world events, with the results posted to social media, such as Twitter and Instagram. With the rise of distrust in the major media outlets, we have turned to the non-professional, the Twittersphere, iPhone videos, and Instagram feeds for authentic and truthful windows to reality.
Wortendyke’s installation questions the aestheticization and mediation of violence in our culture by using images of racial riots, cropping them into Instagram-worthy squares, and combining them in a single space. The resulting installation mimics society’s comfort with Instagram while simultaneously calling into question the casualness with which we document and beautify events like riots.
Given the current state of racial politics and clashes in the United States, questioning and attempting to understand the role of mass media and the impact of social media in these conversations is essential. #Mass_Observation seeks to push audiences to consider their own consumption of mass and social media and the way each medium impacts the virtual spaces viewers curate for themselves.
#Mass_Observation Krista Wortendyke Exhibition Dates: January 5 – February 3, 2018 Opening Reception: January 5 | 6pm – 9pm Location: Filter Space 1821 W. Hubbard St., Ste. 207 Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday | 11am – 5pm
Filter Space is free and open to the public.
About the Artist:
Krista Wortendyke (b. 1979, Nyack, New York) is a Chicago-based conceptual artist. She received her MFA in Photography from Columbia College in 2007. Her ongoing work examines violence through the lens of photography. Her images are a result of a constant grappling with the mediation of war and brutality both locally and globally. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Schneider Gallery and Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago, The Griffin Museum in Winchester, MA, and many other venues across the United States. Her work is also in the permanent collections of both the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.
This annual open call for work celebrates the multiple perspectives and creative voices of contemporary photography. Open to all lens-based work, this exhibition is always exciting and filled with a great variety of artists. Scroll down for more details about the call and submit your work today!
Context 2018 will open March 16, 2018, at Filter Space and will be open through April 28. A juror’s choice award and an honorable mention will be awarded.
All types of photographic and lens-based work will be considered, including short videos.
The cost to submit to Context 2018 is $30.00 for up to five entries. The juror’s choice award comes with a $500 cash prize.
Juror and curator April M. Watson will consider all types of photographic work for this fourth annual survey exhibition of contemporary photography. This open theme allows for the widest understanding of the medium and current photographic practices. She is open to all interpretations and will accept photography and video. Important Dates:
January 14 – Submissions are due
Late January – Entrants are notified of juror’s decision
March 9 – Accepted work must arrive at the gallery
March 16th, 6 – 9 pm – Artists’ Reception and Exhibition Opens
April 28 – Exhibition Closes
About the Juror
April M. Watson is curator of photography at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO. She joined the museum in 2007, and since then has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions from the permanent Hallmark Photography collection, including Heartland: The Photographs of Terry Evans, a career retrospective of the artist; Through the Lens: Visions of African-American Experience, 1950-1970;American Soldier;About Face: Contemporary Portraiture; Time in the West: Photographs by Mark Klett & Byron Wolfe and Mark Ruwedel; and Human/Nature: Recent European Landscape Photography. In fall 2013, Watson served as the photography curator for Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet, an exhibition co-organized with the Saint Louis Art Museum. She is also co-curator of the upcoming retrospective Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time (2017), a show co-organized with Lisa Hostetler of the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY. Forthcoming projects include an exhibition of Gordon Parks’s photographs of Muhammad Ali, in collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation. Watson has contributed writing and scholarship to numerous exhibitions and catalogues, including Stories from the Camera (2016) and The Art of Frederick Sommer: Photography, Drawing, Collage (2005). Watson holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Kansas, Lawrence; an MA in Art and Art History from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and a BFA from Alfred University, NY.
I had the good fortune to review a number of great photo books this past year for Wobneb Magazine, F-Stop Magazine, and Vantage… and what would the end of the year be without a ‘Best Of 2017’ list? The past year has been eventful and insightful on many fronts – so my list of top books from my reviews covers a range of projects from the intimately personal to broad society.
Cig Harvey’s third monograph is a vibrant and bold book, capturing moments of awe, icons of the everyday, and life on the threshold between magic and disaster. The breathless moments of beauty in her images propel us to fathom the sacred in the split-seconds of everyday. A raw awareness of fragility permeates this work. Harvey’s moments captured in her camera speak to the temporal nature of life, and her intimate poetry weaves them together in this memoir of symbolism.
Conflicts come and go, but their legacies remain. It takes courage to be an advocate for something greater than ourselves. It requires something more than just the absence of fear. Any fool can be fearless. The essence of courage comes from the best version of ourselves, and the strength to do the right thing, to do hard things for the lasting benefit of others. It takes this type of courage to photograph people caught in the effects of war, in hopes that the quiet pairing of empathetic images and words speaks louder than the bloody spectacle of war. Duley’s personal story is secondary to this subject, and yet it is also intimately intertwined.
Many of the gun-violence survivors in Shorr’s new book SHOT have recovered against odds, put their lives back together and now taking an active role in inviting a public back into the tough dialogue about American gun violence. Kathy Shorr depicts the determination of the human spirit. The survivors are together in themselves and more importantly they are together collectively. Their lives from this point forward are made of a new set of challenges but they know they are not taking on these challenges in isolation. Shorr’s SHOT gives us a chance to listen.
This psychological evaluation of one’s current self against one’s past self reveals what we know to be true — we are not who we once were. By examining our past self, we change not only who we were, but who we are now. Through the process of creating ‘False Story’, Brydon’s conversation with his past self and destruction of his original images has actually revealed glimpses of his present self. This gem from Another Place Press is one of several I reviewed this past year – keep your eye out for more great books from them in 2018.
Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield is both a retrospective and an investigation into the subject of wealth over the last twenty-five years. Greenfield has traveled the world — from Los Angeles to Moscow, Dubai to China — bearing witness to the global boom-and-bust economy and documenting its complicated consequences. Provoking serious reflection, this book is not about the rich, but about the desire to be wealthy, at any cost.
My review for this book gets special consideration for 2017. The review published at the end of December 2016, and set the tone for the coming year. A black man has served as a two-term president. People of color have held some of the highest offices in the government — yet the nation has not seen many issues of race and inequality disappear in the everyday lives of many Americans. But the overall feeling I got from North of Dixie is a combination of hope mixed with disappointment. It is my personal hope that people of different races, color or creed will see there is far more to be gained in life by working together and accepting each other for who we are. North of Dixie brings to light numerous lesser-known historic photographic images and illuminates the story of the civil rights movement in the American North and West. The book reveals the power of photography to preserve historical memory, impact social consciousness, and stimulate critical dialogue among everyone interested in social justice, human rights, American history, the African American civil rights movement, Black studies, and photojournalism. And hopefully, by better understanding the failures of our past we can avoid the pitfalls of repeating it. North of Dixie certainly goes a long way to guide the path.
Cig Harvey’s third monograph is a vibrant and bold book, capturing moments of awe, icons of the everyday, and life on the threshold between magic and disaster. The breathless moments of beauty in her images propel us to fathom the sacred in the split-seconds of everyday. A raw awareness of fragility permeates this work.
I cannot fully understand the life events that take a woman through her youth and into middle age. However, I am a parent, a husband, and am squarely in middle age. My wife is a writer, and has introduced me to a number of poets. This expansion of my previously limited knowledge of great writers has made an immense difference – and thus, Harvey’s book spoke to me. The rawness of Harvey’s written passages and relevance to where she finds herself in life struck home. But you don’t need to be a peer of Harvey to get the drift. She photographs and writes with the passion of a Beat poet. To quote, and slightly edit, the poet Neal Cassady, “One should write, as nearly as possible, as if she were the first person on earth and was humbly and sincerely putting on paper that which she saw and experienced and loved and lost; what her passing thoughts were and her sorrows and desires.” Harvey does not hold back – with understated power, she records her broad experiences with the world. Harvey’s moments captured in her camera speak to the temporal nature of life, and her intimate poetry weaves them together in this memoir of symbolism.
“In my 20s I wear vintage dresses every day. / 1940s ball gowns to get coffee. Fringed flappers to the post office./ They are itchy and smell of someone else’s transgressions. But I am fearless and my life is a photograph. / When I turn forty, I retire them all in favor of tight jeans and high boots. / I put one thousand dresses in a room upstairs. / A room now a galaxy of velvet, taffeta, crinoline, lavender, silk, fur, cashmere, magenta, chartreuse, and moths like stars in the night sky. / I like the idea of the moths taking back the clothes of these women, slowly making dust of our stories.”
Cig Harvey’s hugely successful books You Look At Me Like An Emergency (2012) and Gardening At Night (2015) both sold out rapidly. Her photographs have been exhibited widely and are in the permanent collections of major museums, including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY. She has been a nominee for John Gutmann fellowship and the Santa Fe Prize, and a finalist for the BMW Prize at Paris Photo and for the Prix Virginia, an international photography prize for women. You Look At Me Like An Emergency was first exhibited at The Stenersen Museum, Oslo, Norway. Cig’s devotion to visual storytelling has lead to innovative international campaigns and features with New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Japan, Kate Spade, and Bloomingdales.
Design: Deb Wood
ISBN 978 90 5330 893 6
Format: 22.5 x 22.5 cm
Hardbound with cloth cover
144 pages with 72 photos in full colour
Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam
To order a copy of the book from the publisher, please visit their website here.
Filter Photo is pleased to announce once there was there wasn’t, a solo exhibition of work by Svetlana Bailey, at Filter Space gallery.
Until the age of eight, Svetlana Bailey’s childhood summers were spent at her grandmother’s house in the Russian countryside. It was an influential period in which she discovered the world on her own and her earliest memories were formed. Sixteen years ago her grandmother passed away and now the house stands empty. For this body of work, once there was there wasn’t, Bailey returned to her grandmother’s empty house to examine those early impressions. Through this journey of returning, she was transported in time, as if opening a time capsule. Here Bailey discovered layers of image fragments captured in stories, old objects, images in albums and magazines. They pointed to the invisible marks, the impressions and mental images that remain, and perhaps for this reason — besides the dust, spider webs and the thicket of birch and cherry trees that had enjungled the outside — the house did not seem abandoned.
Using still life techniques, Bailey constructed installations within and around the house that included the objects that she found on location with photographs that she brought with her of her life after leaving Russia. She followed a similar process with images from her parents home in Germany and her own home in the US, constructing photographs that visualized times and places that are in reality far apart yet exist together psychologically. Similar to the act of carrying pictures in wallets or pendants, on coffee mugs or lock screens, displaying pictures in living rooms or as tattoos — an impulse for continuity, where separate events are rebroadcast into the present through a jumble of images.
Svetlana Bailey was born in St Petersburg in 1984, and after the fall of the Soviet Union emigrated to Germany with her family. Commencing studies at FH Dortmund, Bailey moved to Australia to complete her BFA at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney. In 2011, she undertook a residency in Beijing at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, which shifted the focus of her practice to China, and she has, inter alia, been photographing there since. Bailey recently graduated with an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, and lives in New York and Sydney.
once there was there wasn’t — Svetlana Bailey
Exhibition Dates: December 1 — December 30, 2017 Opening Reception: December 1 | 6pm — 9pm Location: Filter Space 1821 W. Hubbard St., Ste. 207 Gallery Hours: Monday — Saturday | 11am — 5pm
Filter Space is free and open to the public.
An online magazine featuring contemporary photography