The Illusion of Purpose by Victoria J Dean

Evening everyone

I hope you're keeping well. The nights are getting a little longer which is exciting me way more than it should. The adjustments in the sun's pitch could be seen clearly as I sailed back over the Irish Sea to Scotland after spending a few days in Northern Ireland with family. So whilst on the subject of Northern Ireland, I thought I would add a few words on a book I purchased from another photographer also from the the little province.

Victoria released The Illusion of Purpose at the beginning of 2018 with Another Place Press publishing the end product. It's another wonderful product created by the independent publisher from the Scottish Highlands. The layout and physical form of the book is bold and impactful, which perfectly highlights the subject matter.

This body of work by Victoria focuses on mankinds relentless voyage into a digital and 'cloud storing' age. An age where media and communications float past us without being seen and are rarely tactile in a physical form. This work is a graphic summation of what appears to not be important in modern living; bold and substantial structures that offer a simple and one dimensional function or service.

The book is thoroughly enjoyable. It does what other great books should do... It makes you ponder the message it is trying to send as you turn each page and it leaves you with further thought's and intrigue into the underlying message. The photographs are wonderfully rendered on what appears to be low contrast colour negatives which allow the images to breath and allow the viewer to digest at their own pace.

If you wish to purchase a copy please visit https://anotherplacepress.bigcartel.com/product/victoria-j-dean-the-illusion-of-purpose

Dan Wood's 'A Gap In The Hedge'

Evening all,

I sit here on a muggy August evening in central Scotland in amongst a busy personal period - I seem to have been saying this for years - searching for a little break on the horizon. What I have found is the interlude of a book by Dan Wood that I pre-ordered a number of months ago now before receiving it recently. I thought I would write a few words down on this blog/journal thing that I don't update enough.

I've never met Dan. However he seems like someone I would love to live closer to.  As he lives in south Wales, I rely on his engagement over social media to maintain conversation and, I suppose along side others, a friendship. What does shine through from his posts and conversation is someone that is genuine and true to himself and his upbringing. However none of this shines more brightly than how it does through his photographs.

Over the last 3 years Dan has been on a photographic journey over a route that he physically took frequently as a child. The Bwlch-y-Clawdd is a 25 mile road built 90 years ago which connects a number of valley towns to the larger town of Bridgend. Dan explores the natural landscape that is intertwined with small mining towns that are last to see economic growth that may be experienced elsewhere in the country. This somewhat harsh urban landscape is something that is explored with a delicate touch rather than being overly bleak. This sensitivity of the subject matter is seen throughout and has been a mainstay theme from the very start. What also shines through from the photographs is the sheer beauty of the place that surrounds the residents and this vital route.

Along with the photographs themselves, it has to be noted how strong the final production piece is. The book is a 132 pp hard back production by Iain Sarjeant at Another Place Press. This is their first venture into hard back after a hugely successful run at small soft back publications. It's no coincidence that Dan's work was chosen as the entry book into a new era for the small production company from the Scottish Highlands. Coupled with the expert eye of Greg at Kozu Books near Bath, England, the final piece is a joy to physically hold and devour. 

After following the project from its infancy, through the journey of the released work and pre-order stage, the whole thing in front of my own eyes is everything that I hoped it would be.

To get your own copy, please visit here: www.danwoodphoto.com

or, alternatively, you can visit here: 

https://anotherplacepress.bigcartel.com/product/dan-wood-gap-in-the-hedge

 

John x

 

 

Myrkvifiörd

I thought it was about time I wrote down a few words in relation to my most recent work; Myrkvifiörd. So I'll start from the beginning!

During 2017, my photography was in a state of flux. Not in a negative way, more a combination of exhaustion after Partition, not having the need for the meditative nature of my photography and not being able to find work that I was interested in. However, as the year developed, the requirement to find something grew.

So, what was the photography specification I was after? Something closer to home was required. Young family and limited time meant that this was essential. I also wanted a diverse subject matter. Not too loose in that it became vague, but broad enough to allow self-nterpretation and creativity.  The search began, both visually and mentally for a project that fitted the above criteria, but more importantly an assignment that would excite me.

And here we are, with the Firth of Forth and all that it brings being the focus of my efforts over the coming 18 months. I'm now 6 months in and the direction of the work is starting to take hold.  The work so far is providing a fairly accurate general picture of the diverse landscape that Forth holds.

What is the Firth of Forth anyway? Well it's geographic identity is one of a fjord. It lies on the eastern side of Scotland, with its main population in the capital city of Edinburgh. However it is much more than the holder of Scotland's second biggest city. It contains a diverse landscape both physically and demographically. It is the epicenter of industry, economy and tourism; aswell as little elements of everything thrown inbetween. It is home to thousands of people, dozens of towns and villages and the home to a multitude of wildlife.

The name Myrkvifiörd is the old Norse name for the Forth. It also contains in the title the geographic feature that it describes. So it's a title I used as it identifies with its form, has heritage but also provides slight intrigue into the work.

I've shown a few images below. If I'm honest, most are sketches. They demonstrate the intense level of research of the miles of coastline and islands that require to be explored. Some may get used in the final work, but most will be re-shot or left alone for a long time.

Let's see where the whole thing takes me... However I'm enjoying the whole process thoroughly.

 

 

I thought I could leave it all behind

Evening all

I do hope you're all safe and well!

I sit here on a Saturday evening, absorbing the damp scene through the living room window. Unfortunately, in this particular part of Scotland that I live in, we are not experiencing the fluffy white stuff that so many of you seem to be enjoying recently.

Despite the annoying lack of sledging opportunities, I'm enjoying the quaint peace and safety from the little home I share with my pregnant partner Emma and two sons, Kian and Elijah.

So, the reason for this post?

Towards the end of the summer, about 5 months ago now, I announced that I was leaving my photography behind. Plain and simple. This wasn't an overnight decision or a quest for attention, but more a deliberation that had been mulled over in my head for quite some time. Although, I have to admit, the abundance of lovely messages wishing me well were overwhelming.

What was the reason for my decision? Well, there were a number of factors. Cost and time were two huge ones and kind of go hand in hand. Further to this, I suppose the slight panic of discovering I was bringing another little person into the world brought this on! However, mostly, at the time I hadn't a need for photography to take me away from stress or upheaval.

Deep down I've always known that photography was a way of escaping stresses in my life. My life is wonderful, I must emphasise this, but at the same time I must acknowledge that photography rescued me from sustained periods of pressure. Photography brought escapism and distraction from times of mental hardship.  However the upcoming time restrictions accompanied with only wanting to create work that had a collective end product i.e. Partition book, made me rethink my photography and I couldn't see it being sustainable. And, at this time, I was totally comfortable with my decision.

However, in recent weeks, I've found myself reaching out for my camera. And to no suprise, it has also been a time of intense pressure on my shoulders. Thankfully I have a huge network of love and support so I will comfortably overcome any hurdles. My photography will only aid this.

So, in short, all I wanted to say was that I am back. I'm back with a camera. I'm back with a new project - details to follow - and I'm back supporting everyone who has supported my work over the years.

Maybe I was naive to say that I could disregard photography and its merits in my life. I won't be making that mistake again.

John