This week I am looking at photographers work, who are also poets. Poets who’s writings stimulate/inspire me to write. I have my image methodology down for my FMP; now I have to write poetry for the images. I want the audience to understand what I am attemting to communicate with out being denotative, I would like the images to be though provoking and stimulate the consumer in a way that they can relate their own lives, thus may be a little easier.
The book of Stephen Gill arrived: ‘Best Before End.’ He publishes his own books, and this one is very beautifully constructed. It is about 10″ x 14″ so almost the size of one standard of phtographic paper [11×14] The book has a canvas cover with numbers, letters and words written and printed on it. The title ‘Best Before End is displayed on the back cover, not the front. I found this refreshing.
The words and numbers give the impression of his possible calculations and writings that may have surfaced during the photography and printing of the book. The predominat color of the cover is black, with use of white blue and red in retrained amounts, and the texture of the canvas has a nice feeling in the hands, it feels like one is holding a painting. I will definitely consider covering mine in canvas, jute, cotton or some other natural fibre. I like painting on jute and canvas, partly because it has a very nice feeling in the hands, and I am tactile by nature.
The book opens up to the title page, then to a big 10 x 12 inch image titled: ‘React’ It looks like some sort of chemigram, mostly tints of blue, with a shade of blue in the top left hand corner. The shapes and forms created by the process are mainly circles and spheres of various sizes ranging from pure white to dark shades of blue, with very tiny species of magenta formed in the center. The eyes follow broad line in the center to a broad line below it, this stimulates the eye to search and find other formas and shapes throughout the image.
I am very partial to blue, it is one of my favorite colors, so when I see it used in paintings and photography, I have the tendency to linger on the image. The image has a very calming effect. This could be as it alludes to the feeling of soap bubbles or bubbles in sparkling water, and it stimulated audio in my head that has a fizzy sound, which for me is very refreshing.
The title: ‘React’ I presume is the result of Gill’s processing the film in energy drinks. These kinds of processes are not new. Film and paper can be processed in many liquids that can produce an image, ranging all the way from coffee to rose petals, so processing in energy drinks does not offer me any surprises.
Overall, I like the image, I respect and admire that he does a lot of interesting work, and that he publishes his own books. A very interesting and creative photographer. I enjoyed reading how he came to the point of using energy drinks to process the work. His poetry is definitely visual, and the words are well written by Will Self.
I like the fact that the words are distilled to two pages, and upfront. Then followed by two images side by side. (not a double page spread) they are two separate images. One titled: Blue Bolt, the other Pink Bolt. One gets to the essence of the information rapidly. (ideal for SASTP like myself)* I read, it gives me insight to the work, then I get on with looking at the images. This is why I prefer this format, as opposed to discourse on every page. I will most definitely consider this format for making my book.
The rest of the images are printed side by side, or single image on a page, the other left blank. All titles are below the image, and not on the blank page. This really allows one’s full concentration on the image and words, not being pulled by discourse on the blank page (which would not leave it blank).
It appears that all the images are composed for portrait, this may be the reason the the book is tall and thin. 14″ high x 10″ wide. The images have a theme, [Developed in energy drink] the images are made interesting by this fact. The book was designed by Malanie Mues, and it was interesting to note that the book was edited, sequenced and produced by Gill.
Very enjoyable look and read. Stimulates some ideas for my own book. (I am tempted to make my own, so looking into that possibility.) A very prolific photographer, interesting work, a good selection of his own books for sale. A very inspiring individual
Stephen Gill: https://www.stephengill.co.uk/portfolio/news
* SASTP Short Attention Span Theatre Patron.