My Final Dissertation

OK so as promised I will post some of my work from my last years of University for prosperity purposes.

So first up is my dissertation:

Radical Visions:

What are the artistic and cultural influences shaping the nature of new colour photography in Britain during the 1980s?

By Alec Doubleday

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BA (Hons) Photography

PHO303

2014

 

 Contents

 

  • Introduction
  • Chapter one: Thatcherism and the critique of colour, Outlines the history of the development of the colour movement
  • Chapter two: A fresh perspective: emerging colour photography, A look at the growing artistic recognition of British photography, whilst introducing the work of Martin Parr, Paul Graham and Peter Fraser.
  • Chapter three: The second wave and the role of text, A Look at the work produced by the Farnham College of Art photographers Paul Seawright and Anna Fox.
  • Conclusion         
  • Appendix A, Transcript of a question to Paul Seawright in a panel discussion.
  • Appendix B, Transcript of an interview with Anna Fox
  • Bibliography                                                                                                                        

 

Introduction

 

I have always been enthused by contemporary documentary photography and its ability to station the vernacular as position of subject itself. More specifically I have been inspired by Martin Parr’s seemingly effortless ability to capture the mundane and elevate its status to anything but mundane.  I attended a photo-biographical lecture by Martin Parr at the Pheonix in Exeter on January the 9th 2013 and afterwards I had my recently purchased copy of The Last Resort, signed by Martin. On further reflection of the talk he gave and of the social and political climate in which this work found itself upon original release, it highlighted to me the importance of such a transformative piece of work in the photographic heritage of Britain.

This seminal project The Last Resort, which has more recently been voted into the Guardian’s ‘1000 artworks to see before you die’[1], but which was widely debunked by critics at the time, Is a project which continues to inspire my own photographic practise. This hostility to The Last resort is something which intrigues me and has encouraged me to broaden my scope to other colour works in the 1980s. I soon found an area of study which I want to discuss, which broadly speaking delves into the topics of Thatcherism, photographic theory and American influences on Photographic practise. But more specifically I want to discuss the nature of this new approach, since this was the standout characteristic of a new wave of Photographers in Britain during the 80s.

To investigate further I have interviewed Anna Fox, one of the leading female photographers to have come from this new colour movement. It was an incredible experience which has developed a continuing interest in understanding the intricacies of the overlooked and the everyday.

This essay then will begin by investigating the development of the colour documentary practise, from William Eggleston’s ground breaking exhibition to the development of the Art Councils new funding stream in Britain. Chapter one will outline the history of the artistic and cultural influences, looking at the social climate under Margaret Thatcher and highlighting the early difficulties affecting the development of new colour work. Chapter two will focus on the change in contemporary practise which coincided with new exhibitions and funding streams available for independent photography. With a strong personal identity to their work, I will present the key early colourists in Martin Parr, Peter Fraser and Paul Graham. Finally in chapter three I will introduce the work of what might be called a second generation of colourists in Anna Fox and Paul Seawright.[2] Citing the importance of the West Surrey College of Art and Design connection and exploring the different approaches and the role of text. I will conclude by summarizing the influences and drawing a perspective upon the significance of the movement and the impact it has on the continuing photographic culture of Britain.

 

Chapter One

Thatcherism and the critique of colour

 

. . . This was a critical time for the establishment of a new economy, fuelled by de-regulation and enterprise: in photography it found its counterpart in the invasion of excessive colour into realist documentary.[3] David Mellor

The social upheaval occurring under the guise of Thatcherism was the climate under which the new British colour movement found its early roots as the author David Mellor stresses above. Political developments shaped a decade of great change, although politics notwithstanding, there was of course other reasons for the development of the new colourist works. So in response to the opening quote by Mellor, this chapter will outline the political and social history of the period, looking at the myriad of influences which foregrounded the development of the colour movement and the difficulties it encountered.

Britain reached a political watershed moment in the election of its first female prime minister in 1979. A grocer’s daughter and polarizing cultural figure, Margaret Thatcher for many was a much needed tonic to the economic circumstances that Britain had endured. To others she was a capitalist tyrant whose sole interest was in the protection of hierarchical social norms. Drawing inspiration from her time working for her father’s Grocery store, she developed a keen sense of budgeting. What followed were the ensuing cut-backs in public spending and the elevation of a free market economy.[4]

Thatcher was such a Divisive figure, due impart to her ruthlessness to enact policies that she would often push through without heed of ensuing public disapproval. A famous phrase of hers was, ‘the lady is not for turning.’[5] Of course this ultimately placed many in opposition. Critical writer and photo theorist John Roberts vents strongly on this issue: ‘as far as the visual arts go within the structural limits on their democratisation under bourgeois culture, Thatcherism has further weakened the possibility of art’s place within a new counter-public sphere’.[6] Whilst it may have been true that her economic policies had adversely affected the arts, it did no harm to levels of creativity. BBC arts editor Will Compertz contemplates Thatcher’s art legacy:

To many, her attitude towards the arts was encapsulated in the notorious Saatchi & Saatchi ad campaign for the V&A, which carried the infamous tag line “An Ace Caff with Quite A Nice Museum Attached”. This was Thatcherism applied to high culture. Market economics over intellectual curiosity, consumption over contemplation.[7]

This consumption was a growing theme of the 1980s as free market economics took hold there was increasing consumerism and a challenge to what Thatcher viewed as the excess of the welfare state, resulting in a growth in the middle classes and economic inequality.[8] With such a platform of social upheaval Photographers would have a new challenge. In her book, Brett Rogers addresses this issue: ‘The ethical problem they posed themselves was how to respond to the radical social and political changes occurring in their country while not succumbing to the old myths about the power of the documentary aesthetic’.[9] This is what she determines as the ‘documentary dilemma’[10]. In direct terms, the authority of the photograph as ‘document’ or evidence was increasingly challenged. As Graham Clark, author of The Photograph, argues:

The notion of a literal and objective record of ‘history’ is a limited illusion. It ignores the entire cultural and social background against which the image was taken, just as it renders the photographer a neutral, passive, and invisible recorder of the scene.[11]

With the advent of postmodernism and the deconstructing of the ‘myth of originality’[12], the complex dynamics between the author and the subject were essentially the fundamental battlegrounds with which a postmodern audience was coming to terms with leading up to the 1980s. An issue made harder when considering photography had operated as an under-valued cultural object, when we consider its acceptance within the art community of Britain.

British photographic practise had been largely overlooked. For many like the former director of the New York Museum of Modern Art, John Szarkowski, British photographic heritage appeared to be dead and buried. He famously commented, ‘For purposes of approximate truth, it might be said that photographic tradition died in England sometime around 1905. . .’.   What he was referring to is his perception that British photographers were artistically frozen in a pictorial era. Of course as writer Peter Turner rightly counters:

Szarkowski’s problem with a tradition he found dead on arrival in 1905 was caused by looking in the wrong direction. Stated simply we have two traditions, and two notions of photography’s value as art, just as we did in 1857. One asserts itself through an alliance with art – photographers wanting works to look like Art. The other, often and misleadingly called documentary, presents a world unadorned by artifice and demanding that this be art enough.

In the America there had been large-scale support through Museums, with one American photographer, whose work is cited by many of the ensuing British colourists as having an integral influence on their decision to take up colour, William Eggleston. His exhibition in 1976 was a landmark occasion.[13] Colour photography had reached a new level of exposure.[14] This acceptance was not without fierce opposition however. Eggleston has countered many opponents to his choice of using colour in his career, Chief among them, French photographer and co-founder of Magnum photo agency, Henri-Cartier Bresson.[15] When Eggleston finally met with Bresson at a dinner party in Paris, the first thing he said to Eggleston was; ‘you know William, colour, its bullshit.’[16] Like their American counterparts, British photographer’s using colour as a tool to document the radical change in the social environment was just as controversial.

Martin Parr experienced first-hand this unfavourable reception, when his project The Last Resort (see figure 1.2) was exhibited at the Serpentine gallery in London. Critics lambasted it for its supposed anti-humanistic stand-point, believing it contrasted sharply with Britain’s rich heritage of social documentary reportage.[17] Martin Parr like William Eggleston before him also had to confront Photography’s old guard and rich photo-journalist establishment, when he tried to apply for the Magnum photo agency. He remarks, “I wanted to join Magnum because at heart I’m a populist and I wanted to have this method of getting my work out. I thought if I joined an agency I may as well join the most prestigious agency.”[18] It wasn’t until 1994 before he finally became a member. His application however was hugely controversial and when it came down to the final ballot he scraped in by a single vote.

Martin Parr has acknowledged the influence that Eggleston and other American colour photographers have had over his decision to change to colour film.  Likewise he has gone on to influence other British photographers to use colour. So it could be suggested, as author Susan Butler considers, that ‘It would be easy to take a dim view of all this recent colour work – does it really represent anything more than a simple bandwagoning effect?’[19]  Butler presents an intriguing argument, which reflects on whether British photographers were actively responding to their own motives as an agent of individual impulse or whether they are in fact a part of grander system of cultural and societal influences. However, in assessing the parameters between the American and political influences there are other conditions which affected the establishment of colour, which also needs considering.

Colour photography specifically for artistic direction had an enduring development. Among other factors is the practicality in using the medium. Although Colour film has existed for over a century its use was restricted within the domain of the advertising industry. The off-colour hues and vulgar tonality of the print complimented the notion of eye-catching advertisement.[20] Furthermore, the acutely laborious and costly processing procedure was also a discouragement to independent work outside of commercial practise.[21] Although this was not to say photographers hadn’t experimented with it for artistic possibility.[22] Nevertheless the practical side of colour photography was an early deterrent for artists which only began to change as technology advanced.

Further technological advancements In the 1980s produced new products like the Plaubel Makina camera, which soon became a favourite among British photographers like Martin Parr and Peter Fraser for its flexibility.[23] It enabled them to capture with more clarity and in more locations due to its efficient construction. With new techniques and technology at their disposal, photographers using colour film found it possible to acquire a whole new level of authenticity. A level no doubt, pioneers of the medium in America set before them.

Whilst technology may have steadily been creating new opportunities, on the contrary finding an output for new work was still relatively difficult. In 1976 British photography critic Gerry Badger published On British Photography: Some Personal thoughts.[24] In this article he claims that ‘there existed no moral support of photography, such as that provided to some degree in the United States by the Museum of Modern Art.’[25] Curator and author Susan Kismaric concurs, ‘there was no authoritative voice in Britain from which photographers might learn or against which they might react.’[26] Instead what we find is what Gerry Badger calls the ‘straight photographic aesthetic’, a form of style which was largely restricted to the back pages of British newspapers and magazines and was the domain of the working professional.[27] Public funding being used for art that may relay any political commentary other than that seen within the straight photographs of the newspaper print, was not encouraged, as Philip Wolmuth, in an article for the British Journal of Photography elaborates, ‘the idea that publicly funded community organisations could engage in “political” activity was regarded as unacceptable by both local and national government.’[28] Political motivation however was precisely the intent behind the pedagogy of photography spearheaded by socialist theorists like John Tagg, and Victor Burgin.

It was education that was vital then, to the photographic direction that had arisen out of Britain under the tutelage of a ‘new generation of colour photographers’[29]. Within this I include the Farnham photographers, Anna Fox and Paul Seawright who were mentored by Martin Parr and Paul Graham and the influence of Victor Burgin who taught fellow Farnham tutors Karen Knorr and Anne Williams at the Polytechnic of central London, who provided as John Roberts posits, ‘a framework for photography from which to attack the political credentials of the documentary tradition’.[30]

Paul Seawright reaffirmed this link during a talk he gave on the 4th of December at Plymouth University, stating that education has an incredible influence on photographers because of the way that you are exposed to other ideas.[31] He was referring to the time he spent Farnham, where the frame of reference seemed to be American photographers, Eggleston and Meyerowitz among others. It seems then that there is a continual ecosystem of photographic language, one which began to flourish in the 1980s and with the new funding stream made available from the British Arts Council around 1981.[32] Having this acknowledgement of photography as an art proved a catalyst for the movement which colourists were able to take advantage of. Using the medium as a weapon of politicized intent but with the acknowledgment of the limitations of the subjective account, photographers produced new projects interpreting their own experiences of society under Thatcher. Paul Graham in Beyond Caring (fig 1.3), presented a personal account of life on the dole in an era of high unemployment and Anna Fox infiltrated the cutthroat environments of offices in her native Basingstoke in Workstations (fig 1.4). Paul Seawright’s Sectarian murders, was a project whose political message carried a personal account. Martin Parr produced, The Cost of Living (fig 1.5), a project which echoes and embodies the consumerist ideals that found precedence in the 1980s.

 

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Fig 1.1 William Eggleston, William Eggleston’s Guide, 1976

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Fig 1.2 Martin Parr, The Last Resort, 1986

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Fig 1.3 Paul Graham, Beyond Caring, 1984-85

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Fig 1.4 Anna Fox, Work stations, 1988

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Fig 1.5 Martin Parr, The Cost of Living, 1989

 

 

Chapter two

A fresh perspective: emerging colour photography

 

 

      ‘His vivid colours describe with precision the new-found materialism of contemporary Britons as they spend their money and pursue their recreation’[33] Susan Kismaric

When looking at some of the most widely recognised projects from the 1980s, a few names crop up regularly. The cultural significance of these vibrant and radical images is still being digested today, with continuing articles in journals and newspapers divulging the impact that such works have made in the photographic history of Britain.[34] The significance has been compared by some like critic Andy Grundberg as a renaissance in contemporary British Photography[35].  Just as Susan Kismaric evaluates above, Martin Parr’s radical use of colour engaged with the radical political developments.

In this chapter I will outline the critical period of change in the photographic environment. With new exhibitions and publishing opportunities,  and presenting the resulting colour work from the early British colourists who have later gone on to be considered as the leading stalwarts of this aesthetic approach. It is at once worth pointing out however, that Martin Parr, Paul Graham and Peter Fraser were not the only ones who were practising in colour, but they have become reliably connected with its early roots, a factor perhaps, which could be ascribed to the closeness of the early photographic community and the teachings and outside influences affecting all of them.[36]

Emerging degree courses were becoming more prominent during the 1980s with Parr and Graham becoming mentors for a new crop of photographers. With the involvement of Victor Burgin and later John Tagg in The New Art, 1972, and Three Perspectives on Photography, 1979 exhibitions both at the Hayward gallery in London, new outlooks on art was beginning to redefine photography.[37]

Curator of ‘The New Art’ exhibition Anne Seymour in her introduction claimed that there was a mystification surrounding new art in Britain even after 6 or 7 years of becoming accustomed to it, and as such more information was needed for the general public in an area she claims loosely to be defined as, ‘work which does not necessarily presuppose the traditional categories of painting and sculpture- involving written material, philosophical ideas, photographs, sound, light, the earth itself, the artists themselves, actual objects.’[38] Essentially art which we could now assemble as forming part of a Postmodernist framework, and Seymour goes on to state that, ‘[T]here has certainly been no real acceptance in this country of the fact that art may never be the same again…’[39] Another photographer who exhibited alongside Burgin, Keith Arnatt, later went onto  explore colour photography. [40]

By 1979, The Three Perspectives on Photography exhibition also opened at the Hayward Gallery.[41] Under the auspices of the Arts Council photography panel, it was intended to be a biennial photographic survey of contemporary photography in Britain. It never materialised as shortly after the event there was disbandment of the Arts council photography panel, and in its place was the incorporation of photography into the Arts council’s visual arts culture. Paul Hill one of the shows Curators, makes the point that, ‘…the forward march of the medium was halted at 105 Piccadilly at the moment we thought it had arrived with the Hayward show.’[42]

Despite this the medium continued to flourish with the aid of the Arts council funding and the opening of new independent galleries like The Photographers’ Gallery in London, Which introduced exciting new work in the New Photography USA 1972 and New Work in Britain: Aspects of Photography in Britain Today 1981, group exhibitions[43].  With exhibitions in the Victoria and Albert Museum, gathering support from a public institution strengthened the position of photography as an art.

Another influential vehicle for the developing photographic culture was through the publication of artistic journals. Creative Camera was one such publication founded in the late 1960s as Creative Camera owner, its early intention to facilitate the hobbyist, as editor David Brittain highlights, ‘There was…virtually no meaningful discourse about the art of photography. Because photography was taught as an applied art, most photographers were technically trained and much of the literature on photography was aimed at this reader’.[44] Although reliant somewhat on American creative practise, by the 1980s it began to focus on the burgeoning British photographic identity. One such article on Peter Fraser titled; Open to interpretation 1986, emphasises this new outlook and acknowledges photography’s limitations.[45]

For William Bishop author of the article, the photographs contain an important element of authorship. He argues that, ‘the image represents a co-operative relationship between photographer and subject… colour relationships are felt rather than consciously observed, and so effects can be direct and strong, alternatively subtle and subliminal.’[46] The photographs he was referring to come from The Valleys project 1985. Looking at this photograph (see figure 2.1) which has come to signify the project, we can see how it is possible that the relationship of the author can disseminate through the referent, with David chandler claiming that the photograph, ‘…strikes a lightly ironic tone; a wry comment perhaps, about his place in the project and on the adverse reaction that his colour photographs had often encountered’.[47]

The Valleys Project was commissioned by Susan Beardmore and set up by another independent gallery, Ffotogallery in 1984. Although seen as controversial at the time due to Fraser’s unorthodox approach and use of colour, he was given artistic license and was encouraged by Beardmore, a staunch advocate of his work, to continue with this approach[48], an approach which focused on the remnants of human activity. The valleys project was also something of a personal journey for Fraser having grown up in the Welsh Valleys.

Whereas Martin Parr and Paul Graham were turning their attentions to highlighting the social conditions under Thatcherism in a more apparent manner, Fraser was turning his focus to more introspective views. With his earlier projects, 12 days journey and Everyday icons, Fraser manages to decentre the political, for a literal journey of seeing and making the form subject (see fig 2.2).[49] His self-professed following of William Eggleston is apparent in his methodology, a democratic attention to the objects surrounding us.[50]  In his book No Such Thing As society, David Mellor sums up Fraser’s attraction to colour, ‘Colour became a numinous cypher for Fraser, a single privileged element covering incidental objects; [whereas] for Graham and Parr it still maintained a link with the tensions of the social world.’[51]

One of the key revolutionary aspects of the colour images being produced by Fraser, Parr and Graham was the use of daytime flash, in accord with the developments of new technology. It’s perhaps not difficult to subscribe to the theory of technological determinism, however that would be far too convenient and a disregard to individual achievement. [52] The influence of Parr is widely recognised by his peers. The impression that Parr’s breakthrough project  The Last Resort, had on a burgeoning group of colour photographers is noted by one of Parr’s former students. Anna Fox states that, ‘…Martin’s pictures were the first ones I had seen that had this vividness to them. Of course the flash had the effect of making people look like cardboard cut-outs in the foreground so it exaggerated the illusionary quality of photography’.[53]

Having such an impact helped to disseminate Parr’s wider brand with Fox acknowledging how well Parr promoted himself. It shows, as he continues to produce work at a prolific rate, currently having over eighty published photo books to his name.[54] When looking back to his earlier endeavours we come across a collection of books published during a time when photographic publishing in Britain was just emerging. With new funding, photographers could now launch a career through self-publishing.[55]

By looking over some of the titles of Parr’s early projects: Bad Weather 1982 (fig 2.3), The last resort 1986, The Cost of living 1989, we can see the sort of satirical humour intrinsic to Parr’s brand and whilst on the surface his subjects may seem diverse, they are but fragments of a Britishness that Parr iconizes, as he describes the peculiarities of British life.[56] Thomas Weski continues,

At first glance, his photographs seem exaggerated or even grotesque. The motifs he chooses are strange, the colours are garish and the perspectives are unusual… But at the same time they show us in a penetrating way that we live, how we present ourselves to others, and what we value.[57]

Looking at this photograph from The Last Resort (see fig 2.4) where Parr captures an elderly couple eating chips within a Victorian seaside shelter, adjacent to a baby in a push chair. Surrounding them is fish and chips litter, dilapidation, and the sweltering conditions of the hot summer weather, an acerbic vision of New Brighton. There is something not as easily identifiable if initial critical interpretations are to be favoured and that is the vivacious life which is undeniably present.

There were numerous unforgiving reviews. Writing for the British Journal of Photography, Robert Morris raged, ‘This is a clammy, claustrophobic nightmare world where people lie knee-deep in chip papers, swim in polluted black pools, and stare at a bleak horizon of urban dereliction.’[58] Similar reviews ran along the lines that Parr was mocking the working class with his detached voyeuristic gaze. And yet in an almost full retaliation to such claims, in his very next published project The Cost of Living 1989, Martin turns this gaze on the ‘comfortable classes’[59] as he terms it, documenting similar themes of ambivalence towards his subjects (see fig 2.5).

Gerry Badger highlights that part of Parr’s satiric gaze comes from the influence of his Grand Father ‘who not only introduced him to photography, but to the northern English resorts of Scarborough’. He continues, ‘…an indisputable truism, was formed in the mind of the young Parr. Tacky frequently means lively.’[60] Further to this, Anna Fox raises an interesting allusion to the tradition of satire and like Parr the parental influence. She reminisces, ‘Martin was influenced by people like Tony Hancock which is also the sort of people my parents were interested in. so I immediately grasped that interest’.[61]

There is, however, something else peculiar about those early photo books, Parr’s transition to colour. Martin Parr remarks that “…it wasn’t until 1982 when I moved back from Ireland that I took to colour in a serious way.”[62] Part of this he remarks as happening due to the impact John Hinde’s colour postcards had on him. “The bright, saturated colours are there, and that’s part of the reason why I liked those pictures. If you took serious photography in the 70s, it was in black and white”.[63]

There was a growing momentum behind new colour work, with Paul Graham already producing work in colour and Parr’s other stated influence the more obvious connection in American photographers Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz and William Eggleston.[64] Not surprisingly these names are cited by other British photographers keen to apply a new sense of direction in the British practise. However as Andy Grundberg Art critic for the New York Times has commented,

The renaissance of contemporary British and European photography is especially interesting, in part because it comes from countries supposedly in thrall to American popular culture. But the world view of “Dallas” and “Entertainment Tonight” seems the farthest things from the minds and eyes of photographers like the five young photographers whose work is featured in “British Photography from the Thatcher Years”[65]

Because of this exhibition, British and indeed European photographers were taking their work to new audiences across the Atlantic, with their own unique style. A style which Andy Grundberg posits that, ‘in the case of the British, the emphasis is on an updated version of social-documentary photography- one that limns, often in colour, the contradictions of everyday life in England and Ireland.’[66]

Paul Graham, one of the five involved in the exhibition, perfectly embodies this idea of the radical social-documentarian. In Beyond caring, Graham photographed the unemployed from his own situation. He captures them candidly, often with barricades of chairs that jar across the image (see fig 2.6). His use of colour describes in fine detail the layers of grime, graffiti and weariness that the economic situation has befallen upon many people under the Thatcher regime and he achieves it all with a sardonic malaise, a malaise that to Grundberg would appear to be a theme of British photography from the Thatcher years.[67]

Bearing a resemblance to the great road trips made by Americans Stephen shore and William Eggleston, in 1982 Graham set out on a journey to document Britain in A1 The Great North Road (see fig 2.7). Further motivation was found from his admiration for the Creative Camera magazines and having a deep understanding of the writings of John Tagg and Victor Burgin[68]. Graham carries forth an attention to a wider context which he utilises, realising the potential for a fresh perspective. Though he was for some part a head of his time, with David Chandler stating: ‘For many in the photographic hierarchy, this infusing and balancing of social concern with overt aesthetics, with those colour ‘distractions’, would remain unpalatable for years to come’.[69]

His later project Troubled Land and Beyond Caring, were both commissioned by the Photographers’ Gallery as a view to highlighting the social concerns under Thatcher.[70] The latter, Troubled Land in particular had a resonating impact on later generations, as the tensions of ideological divisions were probed in such radical new way. One of the prominent photographs from the series, the Roundabout in Andersontown (see fig 2.8), one can observe Graham’s trademark stance, one of subtle indicators of a trauma that lies beneath the surface. The ‘IRA’ scratched into the railing, the cluster of rubble and the soldiers running past in the background.[71] On reflection of this poignant image, BBC picture editor Phil coombes announces, ‘Some photographs change the way we look at the world, some change the way we look at photography, and some do both’. [72]As it would turn out, there would later be a real upturn in interest for photography in Northern Ireland, with Among others, Paul Seawright  later going on to produce Sectarian Murder.[73]

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Fig 2.1 Peter Fraser, The Valleys Project, 1985

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Fig 2.2 Peter Fraser, 12 Day Journey, 1984

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Fig 2.3 Martin Parr, Bad Weather, 1982

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Fig 2.4 Martin Parr, The Last Resort, 1986

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Fig 2.5 Martin Parr, The Last Resort, 1986

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Fig 2.7 Paul Graham, Beyond Caring, 1984

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Fig 2.8 Paul Graham, A1 The Great North Road, 1982

Roundabout, Andersonstown, Belfast 1984, printed 1993-4 by Paul Graham born 1956

Roundabout, Andersonstown, Belfast 1984, printed 1993-4 Paul Graham born 1956 Presented by Tate Members 2007 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P79342

Fig 2.9 Paul Graham, Troubled Land, 1984

 

 

Chapter Three

Maturing colour and the role of text

 

 

       ‘…[U]ltimately the new colour photography was taken up as a critical and satirical weapon by a generation… discovering in photography a new means to articulate strongly held personal and political views.’[74] David Chandler

Towards the late 1980’s Colour photography had become widely practised, though something which perhaps had not been particularly evident before was how many photographers were coming through the emerging degree courses.[75] Keen to apply the tools they had learnt to photograph their own environments. This Chapter will explore some of this work, introducing two photographers who could be said to form part of a second generation of colour photographers as David chandler defines it,[76] whose work was directly influenced by the former.

The tensions that Parr and Graham maintained were apparent in the projects of Anna Fox and Paul Seawright. We see a focus on the political subject. Being taught together had a factor on this. Looking at Paul Seawright’s provocatively titled project Sectarian murder 1988, we see a return to the scenes where the tit-for-tat murders took place, conversely documenting the impartiality of the setting. Drawing parallels with Fraser and his choice to largely omit humans from the photograph. Here the context paints a far more disturbing picture for the viewer, a pre-supposition seen in horror films where the implied suspense is far more terrible than the visually represented.[77]

Paul acknowledges in a recent talk he gave, that before he went to the West Surrey Institute of Art and Design, and was ultimately exposed to new ideas, he practised black and white photography. He explains, ‘I got onto that course with a photographic portfolio, looking back I would cringe at the work I had done before I went to art school’.[78] For Paul the sensibility of photography incessant on romanticizing the landscape ultimately brought an avoidance of the real issues. An avoidance found in a culture of suppression. He continues, ‘I worked at a shoe shop in the city centre and there would be a huge bang and people would say, “Was that a bomb”? And that would be it. There was no going on to talk about why there was a bomb and all that sort of stuff. So there was an avoiding of that narrative’[79]. Realising the potential for uncovering narrative, Paul would go onto confront these social taboos by documenting the remnants of Belfast’s violent history.

The decision to make the personal journey for Paul Seawright was formed whilst studying at the West Surrey College of Art and Design. Anna Fox explained that Paul Graham’s Troubled Land project was a huge motivation for Seawright to return to Belfast after graduating.[80] There were also large contingents of Irish photography students at Farnham many of whom have since graduated back to teach in Ireland, no small part due to the impact of the Troubled Land series.

With the photographic theories being advanced by John Tagg and Victor Burgin which was filtered down through lecturers like Anne Williams and Karen Knorr, and through discourse in academic journals, strategies evolved around constructing a narrative. One such strategy is the use of captions.[81] In Sectarian Murder, by detailing the events of the murders as reported at the time and by inserting the date that the events occurred, the context solidifies a reality which would at first seem abstract in such an impartial setting. Take for example one such photograph from the series (see fig 3.1), the incongruity of seeing such a banal scene littered with the traces of human activity, a left over high heel, muddied suitcases and various other detritus, takes a chilling turn once the caption is read: ‘The man left home to go to a bar for a drink, and never returned. He was found the following morning dumped on waste ground behind the Glencairn estate. He had been stabbed in the back and chest, and his body showed signs of torture.’[82]

In another photograph (see fig 3.2), the text takes on an essential role in retaining cohesion with the overarching narrative. Here Seawright utilises a snapshot aesthetic by holding the camera so low to the ground that it is obstructed by the grass, and by including the fleeting glance of a dog as it passes in front of the lens, all emphasising the extreme contrast between the relative harmony of the landscape and the violent history which foregrounds it.[83] Of course this is precisely the point Seawright is trying to make, that the narrative of this landscape of troubles seems over-looked and disregarded like the rest of Northern Ireland’s suppressed history. For Paul the personal experience is very much evident throughout his continuing oeuvre of work. In an interview with Cristín Leach Hughes he again revisits the effects Belfast has on him. Feelings of fear, violence and death contribute towards a common theme which he transcribes onto foreign subjects.[84]

During much of the history of professional photography in Britain leading up to the 1980s there was a considerable imbalance in the amount of women recognised in the medium. Val Williams makes the point that, ‘Woman photographers found it equally difficult to penetrate the clubbish camaraderie of the independent movement of photographers emerging from the new polytechnics.’[85] This began to change in the 1980s with help from the Arts Council funding; publishers like Dewi Lewis was able to promote further works from the likes of Fraser, Parr and Graham and by the mid-1980s the Arts council began to address the imbalance in opportunities for female or ethnic representation in Art.[86]  Anna Fox was one such photographer to benefit from this adjustment, as she explains, ‘They might have favoured applications from the Arts Council for women photographers. There was a positive discrimination thing going on, because Paul Graham was up for the commission for Work Stations as well, but I got it’.[87]

Her project which was jointly commissioned by Camerawork and the Museum of London drew on her experience with working in an office environment[88], and at the same time feeling a sense of alienation with the cut-throat culture, a signature of the growing affluence of the middle-classes under Thatcher.[89]

Unusual to some degree considering that her contemporaries were focusing their lenses on the more socially deprived, Fox was tuning in to an altogether different narrative, one which she explains in an interview with Niccolò Fano at American Suburb X, ‘…at that time I had been looking at suburbia by Bill Owens and thought it was a fantastically satirical narrative about modern North America, a desperately depressing and timely critique of the American Dream’.[90] Though as Fox would go onto explain, it wasn’t just the hidden narratives of fiction which made the photograph worth capturing, there was a more deliberate intent behind her work which delves into the common themes of the colour photographers. As she explains:

Camerawork wanted me to concentrate on woman at work but I objected to that- I mean, it felt like they had employed a woman photographer simply because it would mean I would want to photograph women! I didn’t. I was more interested in politics, society and power structures within the working environment of the office…[91]

This political aspect is what connects a lot of the photographers’ work which has been explored in this essay. It’s perhaps as vital as the use of colour, when ascribing value to the descriptive qualities of the work. Anna Fox continues to explain why this political aspect came about:

My parents were concerned with politics but they never promoted particular ideologies. So my only interest would have come from things like the Camerawork gallery and magazine and at some point the Ten.8 magazines, which were always debating politics. And we were taught about how politics and photography were connected.[92]

Fox’s mention of Camerawork and Ten.8 magazines here is revealing. It’s important to realise that at this time there was only a few dedicated literary outputs for contemporary photography and what were available were largely propagating left-wing views.[93] This fact combined with a virtually non-existent art market for photography meant photographers like Anna Fox and Paul Seawright had limited contemporary resources to respond to, certainly in terms of the theoretical ideas.[94] This helps somewhat to explain the closely related themes arising from the colour movement. With Anna Fox’s photographs there is a closer tie with the satirical elements evident in Martin Parr’s work, and In Basingstoke 1986, a project she started whilst at Farnham, Fox like Seawright, utilises the textual element to draw the viewer into a dialogue with the image.[95]

Fox goes to great lengths in Workstations gathering snippets of information by reading relevant essays, magazines and interviewing people. This is a more scientific approach and one which Fox indicates as deriving from Paul Graham. She continues: ‘Paul was a huge influence on me particularly on the way he used narrative. With all his projects he does a lot of reading around politics and social events’.[96] Interestingly Fox goes onto to emphasise that the influences of her two tutors Parr and Graham is split down the middle, whereas she considers that most of her colleagues would just state Parr as their main influence.[97]

Whereas with Paul Seawright the use of the caption creates the setting and adds elements of suspense, with Fox the text reinforces the sense of the ironic and detached viewpoint. For Example, with this caption: ‘Fortunes are being made that are in line with the dreams of avarice’[98] (See fig 3.3). We can see how it reinforces the connotations of greed and consumption which foregrounds the wider environment. This coupled with the tight close-up angle and the use of glaring flash, scrutinises the distorted expression of the office worker as he devours his full English with disregard for anything around him.

Following on from the Workstations project, Fox produced Friendly Fire 1988, which was a direct result of learning whilst in the offices, of the paint-ball games that the office workers would go on for team building exercises.[99] Whereas in her previous work text played an important role, here the text is omitted altogether. Seemingly the striking visual drama was potent enough in relaying, as David chandler advances: ‘…a form of personal and social aggression spreading like a disease, one that seems evident in every gesture, every pose, every point of human interaction’.[100] In another photograph (see fig 3.4), a sardonic view of Margaret Thatcher used as a target; splattered with orange paint, further symbolising the tension apparent in a divided society. Whereas with Seawright’s images there is an apparent step back to observe the wider scene, With Fox the angle of approach appears closer to the action. Again we can see the influence of Martin Parr. Anna Fox explains, ‘…Martin was very pushy at telling people to use a medium format camera. He would say, “You got to use a wide angle lens and get closer”, that was his mantra’.[101]

Having interviewed Anna Fox and heard from Paul Seawright in person, a picture begins to emerge of just how influential their time at Farnham was in shaping their practise and further extending the range of the colour movement. It’s also important to acknowledge the different individual characteristics, whether through angle of approach, or through the use of text, that makes their work seminal ground for a growing plurality of approaches. It cannot be understated enough though, that for large parts the second generation of colourists owe their status to the early incarnations of Paul Graham, Peter Fraser and Martin Parr.

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Fig 3.1 Paul Seawright, Sectarian Murder, 1988

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Fig 3.2 Paul Seawright, Sectarian Murder, 1988

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Fig 3.3 Anna Fox, Workstations, 1988

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Fig 3.4 Anna Fox, Workstations, 1988

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

In this Essay I have reviewed a multiplicity of influences, from the artistic in the developments’ of particular photographers, through the cultural significance of the politics of the time. Stewardship over an emerging group of photographers through new degree courses created an ecosystem of ideas for further photographers to respond to and react against. Furthermore, the Parental influence on photographers style and indeed the decision to take up photography, the aspects which we relate to being British, the social upheaval creating something to rail against, American photographers and advocates of the new colourist work like Sally Eauclaire who further propagated recognition of colour photography and the closeness of the photographic community at the time, all enabled such a channelled range of thinking to take precedence.

There is one aspect however that is perhaps more easily overlooked; the change in attitude towards the ‘reading’ of photography, for it is this that we use in retrospect to develop a discourse and attribute a value to a photograph. With fiction given as much weight as any factual occurrence, so too, the colour medium could be identified as signalling a new found ownership of photography, less scientific, more personal and deliberate. Of course the colourists were absorbing many influences and channelling them towards a similar style, but one which was united under the irony of realism. An irony that could be understood and further propagated retrospectively.

In his book The Art of Interruption, John Roberts attempts to attribute some context to the foundations of the rise of photographic theory and the critique of realism:

The Origins of this are twofold: the radicalisation of a younger generation of artists and intellectuals in the wake of May 1968, keen to apply the New French theory (in particular Althusser and Lacan) to what was perceived as the moribund empiricism of British culture and imported American Modernism; and the entry of working-class and lower-middle-class students into higher education with little formal attachment to the virtues of high culture.[102]

In a poststructuralist sense it is difficult if not highly subjective to suggest anything but a fluidity of non-deterministic influence, for we are all inclusively authors, viewers and subjects of a continuum of culture.[103] And this at once, contradicts the ability to make an empiric observation, invalidating the position of the positivist- social documentary photographer which once dominated the practise of photography.[104] Nevertheless it is not difficult to subscribe the efforts of the theorists like Victor Burgin and the teachings at the Polytechnic College of London in some form, who helped to inform the developing practitioners of this realisation.

By introducing her book Documentary Dilemmas, Brett Rogers argues that, ‘From what appears at first glance to be a confusing array of subjects, a unifying theme emerges – the manner in which post-industrial culture has affected the physical and social landscape of contemporary Britain.’[105] However, rather than observe what on the surface looks like a certain signifier. Returning to the basis of this argument, perhaps it would be just as easy to interpret how the social and physical landscape has inflected our perception. So looking back at the opening photograph from The Last Resort (see fig 4.1), on a rather solemn vision of a pair of elderly pensioners sitting in a drab and archaic looking café, one can acknowledge the fragility of our cultural reading, as if for example, it were easy to interpret it as being reflected through this vision of ageing and inevitable transpiration. Or in another photograph (see fig 4.2), by looking at the row upon row of sun bathers blissfully reclining in the searing heat of the mid-80s summer sun, one could also read a sense of nostalgia for the loss of the working class haven. Even the title could have textual reference, to some a nod to the 1980s skinhead subculture.[106] Whatever the individual perception, they are inflected by a continuum of cultural influences that affect us and the British colour documentary movement was just as valid to this continuum as the colour photography emerging out of America before or the growing plurality of approaches after.

Despite this, if there was one observation to make, it is the unlikely legacy formed from the artistic possibilities that sprung under Thatcherism, as a period rich in political debate and with issues that needed be represented.

 

 

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Fig 4.1 Martin Parr, The Last Resort, 1985

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Fig 4.2 Martin Parr, The Last Resort, 1985

 

 

Appendix A

 

The following transcript was recorded from a panel discussion involving Paul Seawright, during the Everywhere and Nowhere photography symposium held on the 4th of December 2013. I asked a question regarding Paul Seawright’s influences and decision to use colour.

 

AD: You mentioned before about how you and Paul Graham were talking about the effects of new camera technology and how they were instrumental at the time, and I would just like to elaborate a bit on that, and ask you what your influences were and why you chose colour?

PS: Interestingly before I went to art school, I did my foundation course like many of you would have done and I got onto that course with a photographic portfolio. Looking back now, I would cringe at the work I had done before. I was very much into black and white printing. I thought it was very romantic. I liked John Blakemore. I mean that was late 70s and early 80s and that was the kind of work that was published and that was the sort of work I was making. So it would be Irish landscapes that were quite romantic, in black and white and were certainly nothing to do with the political situation. And I guess that, at the time that was a reflection of how people coped with the situation. Nobody discussed it. It would never be a topic of social or familial conversation. You rarely talked about those issues, apart from at work. I worked at a shoe shop in the city centre and there would be a huge bang. And people would say, ‘was that a bomb?’ And that would be it. There was no going on to talk about why there was a bomb and all that sort of stuff. So there was a sort of avoiding of that narrative.

So going away to Art College was a first realisation that I wasn’t interested in making romantic images. And the photographs I was making were about photography and not anything else. And I wanted to make photos that weren’t about photography. So that was the first realisation. And then I wanted to make work which was content and subject driven. And then I think, and I’m sure u have experienced here. I guess predominantly people are making landscape imagery.

I guess there is probably a bit of tension about that, in the same way people say to us in Belfast it’s a documentary course, which it is not, but with Donovan Wylie, me and Ken Grantham, you can imagine that’s what ends up emerging. So the people who are teaching you have an incredible influence, in a way that they don’t necessarily intend but they do because they are exposing you to their frame of reference, their ideas and what’s influencing them.

Paul Graham, Martin Parr and Peter Fraser, who were all at Farnham at that time, all working in colour and the frame of reference was William Eggleston and Joel Meyerowitz and that’s what they talked about. Therefore it just seemed… I mean it really was the moment… so Anna Fox, David Muir and I were all there at that time and we all started using medium format colour, and I honestly think it was because of where we were. In fact I did a talk recently in Dublin, where I didn’t talk about my work at all. It was all talking about that time and I created a family tree of photographers and lecturers and it’s a really interesting image. You see who taught where. You know Gareth McConnell was taught by me and then by Anna Fox, you know all this kind of stuff and it’s interesting. And that’s how it happens. I think a lot of those choices are not really one hundred percent your choices, they are because of the environment you are in and the ecosystem you are exposed to. You kind of become part of it. So it wasn’t conscious, I didn’t think, ‘oh that’s the fashion I will make colour pictures’. For me it was about getting away from what I had done before which was black and white infrared pictures or landscape pictures of Ireland.

 

 

 

Appendix B

 

 

The following interview took place at Anna Fox’s garden studio in the village of Selborne, Hampshire on the 3rd of February 2014.

 

Whilst arriving at Alton Train station to meet up with Anna who very kindly offered to drive me to her studio for the interview, it was immediately apparent that there had been a communication mishap over times we had agreed on meeting. In short Anna had arrived early and wasn’t aware of when I would arrive until I contacted her 30 minutes prior to arrival, resulting in Anna having to pop into the Supermarket opposite the train station for an unscheduled shop to fill the time, and myself arriving to meet her with shopping trolley in hand, outside the entrance at 1pm. It was a rather chaotic but charming first encounter which set the tone for the ensuing interview. The following is the transcript of the rather informal interview, admittedly with a lack of effort by me to adhere to the pre-planned structure, instead falling for the casual charm, a sentiment to the ease of Anna Fox’s company.

 

AD: Why did you take up photography in the first place?

AF: My father was a very keen amateur photographer and my grandfather was photographing whilst in the navy.  I got quite excited by seeing the two very different ways of photographing their work and my grandfather had albums which contained the first ever photographs taken of Ascension Island. They look like survey photos, beautifully hand printed. He wasn’t just an amateur photographer he did it for a purpose and to record things. My father probably would have been a photographer if he had confidence to make a living out of it. Instead he was doing lots of keen amateur documentary type work and he was one of the people who got into travelling around Europe in a car whilst other people were still back at home. He got into adventures like going up unmade roads in Spain. It was all very exciting.

AD: Around what time was that?

AF: I did, Desert Island Pics with Stephen Bull and I used one of the photos. It was in 1961 and in this one photo he was in a Morris Minor half way up an unmade road in the Sierra Nevada and my mother told me she was seven months pregnant with me. So it was unbelievable that they set off on this journey in the first place. So that was in the 1960s and he carried on documenting in black and white when we were kids, while taking us camping around the south of France and Spain, when nobody was really doing that. He then started photographing in colour, which I thought was never quite as interesting as his Black and white shots which were very classical and dignified.

AD: Would you say that was anything to do with the quality of the colour reproduction?

AF: He was into Black and white photography because people were using that as the art form of the day. But he left school very young and went and worked in a shipyard. He was a middle class guy but for some reason he left school. Then he got a job for a paper company and they sent him on a course to study printing, funnily enough at the London College of Communication, which is where I used to work. So he learnt about printing and got into photography that way. He was also passionate about French photography and had books by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï and Eugène Atget. All that contextual stuff was at home, so I had a combination of books, my father’s interests, my mother being an illustrator and then graphic designer and her interests in literature, which all had an influence on me.

My father bought me a Nikon FM camera when I was 15 and he had a darkroom so I dabbled in it at home. Later I was doing art and design A-levels and went onto a foundation course at Farnham [The West Surrey College of Art and Design]. Although I was interested in sculpture and installation, I decided that photography would be the best bet to earn a living. However after I applied for various courses with no luck, I went to work in insurance, then catering and did some travelling to North Africa and Europe. After a few years away I applied again and still didn’t get into any of them, though I was on a reserve list at Farnham. Having been interviewed by Martin Parr and two others, somebody didn’t turn up so I got a place. [And the rest is history]

AD: How did you apply? Did you show a portfolio of work?

AF: Really the same method; by filling out a form and sending a few photographs and short essay.  They chose who they wanted to interview and then you would get called in with 3 members of staff for the interview. There is a lot more places now but when I applied there weren’t many courses around, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of moving far, so I applied for Farnham, Westminster and the London College of Communication.

AD: And of course Farnham has that reputation.

AF: Well it was just beginning, but it did have another reputation through its interesting history, as it was a very interesting industrial photographer Walter Nuremburg, who started the course. So it had a serious weighty social implication to it right from the start and some people who studied early on were Jane Bown, Sunil Gupta and Stuart Franklin the Magnum photographer. Then by the time I arrived Martin Parr, Paul Graham and Karen Knorr were teaching there. Before I arrived there was also Martin Roberts who sadly died through a car accident, but he was an early colour photographer. He and the new documentary photographer Bill Wise were on the look at for new ideas coming in and out of Britain and Martin Parr was just starting and was keen on education so they bought him and others in as sessional lecturers.

AD: Would there be any influence from the Three Perspectives exhibition?

AF: I didn’t see that. The reason I had all those creative camera magazines in the back of my car is that my father read them, so I might have seen them in there, but it’s not something I went to see.

AD: Victor Burgin, Paul Graham and Martin Parr were all involved in it, so whether there was any connection there.

AF: Well that would have meant that the art schools wanted to get them in for teaching and they gravitated towards the places that gave them the best opportunities and that they thought were the most interesting. I know Martin taught at Newport as well.

AD: And he studied at Manchester polytechnic.

AF: Martin did and that was with Brian Griffin and John Davies. Paul Graham studied biochemistry, which tells you he is a very good technician, especially at printing. The reason I wanted to study at Farnham is that I had known a small amount of history around photography from my father’s library. I had learnt a bit on my arts A-level course, but more conceptually driven stuff rather than documentary. We were shown a lot of Avant-Garde art, when I was at Winchester by some interesting art teachers. But the thing that appealed to me when I was being talked to by Anne, Martin and Paul predominantly was they were shooting the everyday, and not travelling far to document big news stories.  It suddenly seemed feasible to achieve that.

AD: Because of the rise of independent art movement?

AF: Well what they called the independent movement, but it was never really independent. It was only independent from what was considered commerce. There wasn’t really an art market place at the time for photography. I just found it really fascinating to photograph really bizarre but ordinary things, and there was a lot of humour to it. Martin Parr’s book Bad Weather was really funny. I know about literature through my mother but hadn’t been a thorough reader at that time whilst my father was in to comedy, and Martin was influenced by people like Tony Hancock which is also the sort of people my parents were interested in. so I immediately grasped that interest.

AD: In the 1970s Britain was going through a tough economic time, so perhaps humour was a remedy somewhat?

AF: But there is also a tradition of satire in Britain which I then linked onto later when I started reading literature like Jane Austin’s work, which used satire a lot. Indeed there were American works of literature which I picked up on as they cleverly talked about real issues in a well written way. Another thing that occurred which Paul Seawright has referenced in a recent talk, is that a woman called Sally Eauclaire who wrote three books, came over from the US, and Martin Parr got her to give a lecture at Farnham. That was huge. And I had been taught by Anne Williams to look at people like Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Lewis Baltz and the New Topographics. The slightly off-piste way of looking at the world, it felt terribly quirky and interesting but also lent the possibility of using photography as a language to tell stories about things you knew personally. You know that if you went miles from home to do a story, to find out what’s really happening it is very difficult.

AD: Because you’re always coming from an outsider’s perspective?

AF: Yes although there is a use for that in some cases. But you have to be a very good investigator to find out what has pieced it all together. Whereas when it’s your own territory, it’s all in you already, so you know about the stories of the past and why things happened. So it was an interesting way into photography and for me I wanted to tell stories about the ordinary and the everyday. one of the problems I was taught about and I believed about photography when it was dealing with news issues is that it was always looking at the results instead of what was behind the scenes and what might have caused things. So there is much more scope for looking at the causes for things when you look at the everyday, what might emerge and what we are responsible for as opposed to what they might be doing over there. There is something about the capacity to tell stories which have a very different sensibility to them, than the conventions of documentary reportage, which I also admire but it is different.

*Queue the surprise of seeing a dog running past the window of her garden studio from a field adjacent to the garden, followed by a neighbour with a tennis ball in his hand.

AD: You were talking about how some would go far away to photograph whereas you would shoot things around you that were familiar. There is a lot of information about the rise of theory in the 1970s and 1980s which coincided with postmodernist views. Photographer’s relaying part of themselves, the idea that the image is perhaps more revealing about the photographer than the subject. So there is that turn of interpretation and I wondered if that was something you were aware of or advocated?

AF: I was not an avid reader of the theories although Anne William’s was a brilliant lecturer and translated it into a way we could easily understand, and I was interested in the idea that the author became the author, who was recognised for their ideas or stories in the photograph, as well as the reality in them. It became much more akin to a fiction writer, writing about a real issue. That’s what I was interested in. I was uncomfortable when people talked as if it were a downright representation of reality, therefore not so happy to use it. Then you realise that there is a blend of fact and fiction, not particular to any one literature and there is much more scope. Obviously you want to tell stories that have some truth, but you don’t want to be stuck within the limits of – this is a black and white image of a particular size that tells a truth.

AD: Wasn’t it Susan Kismaric that used the phrase,’ good fictions’?

AF: Yes that’s a nice phrase to describe it.

AD: And the influence of victor Burgin?

AF: He wasn’t a big influence on me, but he was on Anne Williams which then filtered down to us.

AD: So it was all a significant component of the colour movement. Which feeds on to my next question; why do you think photographers started using colour?

AF: Well there are two clear reasons for me. Martin and Paul came in and they were very influential and dynamic and Sally Eauclaire came and showed us the new colour work and it all made sense. Firstly as it was simply a new medium to explore and colour printing was exciting. But secondly colour gave you more immediacy in the work. Whereas black and white gives you a sense of drama and distance, a colour photograph makes you feel like you’re really there.  I know that sounds odd considering I’m talking about the fiction as well, but what’s important about the photograph is that the relationship with reality is so intense and so you use that very effectively in trying to tell a story. It’s very seductive, the illusion is very fantastic; it’s magical in fact. The one thing I didn’t like about the theories that I read is that there becomes a loss of some of that magic if you over read them. It became a little dry and uninteresting. That said, it became more interesting when filtered through over people. It really was those two factors. Also when I went on a field trip with eight others to Martin Parr’s house and when he was just making The Last Resort, I can remember the shock of seeing those images.

AD: Was that the first colour work you’d seen in that respect?

AF: Well aside from in magazines and Sunday supplements which were pretty good at the time. But it wasn’t just colour it was the use of flash which gave you really vivid colours. One of the things I was always interested in when studying art at A-level, was the Renaissance painters like Giorgione and Mantegna who had a real handle of colour. His skies were fantastic. A lot of other photographers were influenced by paintings and Martin’s pictures were the first ones I had seen that had this vividness to them. Of course the flash had the effect of making people look like cardboard cut-outs in the foreground so it exaggerated the illusionary quality of photography. It was almost like it was connected to surrealism.

AD: Hyper real?

AF: Yes it was extraordinary. I think it was irresistible to try it. Whilst Martin was very pushy at telling people to use a medium format camera, and ‘you got to use a wide angle lens’ and ‘get closer’, that was his mantra. Paul Graham wasn’t the same, Paul was much more subtle. When I look back at my projects I can see the influences from each of them, and can see as being right down the middle, whereas a lot of others would just state Martin. Paul was a huge influence on me particularly on the way he used narrative. With all his projects he does a lot of reading around politics and social events, he has a lot of that in the background, which I had but maybe to his level of intensity. I would always see him reading as I shared a darkroom with him, there were books hanging about. They continued to work in colour which encouraged others to continue as well.

AD: And you used the Plaubel camera.

AF: And you notice now everyone is using the Canon 5D, again Martin is very persuasive. If Martin and Paul were using the Plaubel you would want to use the same.

AD: I am trying to pin point what the influences were for  Martin and Paul, obviously you have the American photographers but interestingly I read on Martin’s website that he was somewhat influenced by looking at John Hinde’s postcards.

AF: Yes well he was looking at advertising and he also might have seen Luigi Ghirri’s work. Luigi was already using colour as was French photographer François Hers. But the thing was we were not getting that influence in the UK. We got it from the States. People were all looking to the states.

AD: There was a big overflow of American popular culture.

AF: Photography had been accepted for far longer over there. We had only had a couple of big shows and nobody was collecting photography and there was only Karen Knorr who had work in a commercial gallery selling prints in Britain in the 1980s.

AD: How politically motivated were you? Would you say the colour movement as a whole was a reaction to the politics under Margaret Thatcher?

AF: Well I think Margaret Thatcher gave a reason for it, because there were so many radical things happening like the selling off of council estates. It was very clear what to rally against if you like. Whereas nowadays it all seems much of a muchness whoever comes in to power.

AD: Coalitions for the foreseeable future.

AF: Yes and I think things are more hidden now, it’s harder. There was the huge growth in consumerism and the idea of the individual being more important than society. Thatcher’s famous saying ‘there is no such thing as society.’ That was always being bounded around, a bit like the ‘big society’ catchphrase is now. So it felt like something to rail against. Although I didn’t come from an overly politicized family background, my parents were concerned with politics but they never promoted particular ideologies. So my only interest would have come from things like the Camerawork gallery and magazine and at some point the Ten.8 magazines, which were always debating politics. And we were taught about how politics and photography were connected. I wouldn’t say my work was overtly political at all, but it does have…

AD: Connotations?

AF: Well it has this underlying theme that it wants to say something about the society we live in, in a critical way. So I suppose it would come down as looking more left wing than anything else. But if you look at Paul Reas’s work for example, I would say that his is much more strongly politically and socially motivated.

AD: Then there is Paul Seawright who grew up in Belfast, a very different environment which was involved in his work.

AF: Totally, he had a subject on his doorstep that needed to be represented. It had only been represented by people coming to the UK from America. Paul was also taught by Paul Graham and Troubled Land was a big motivating project for Paul. It motivated him to make a project about his own personal experience with growing up there.

Interestingly there were a lot of Northern and Southern Irish students who came to study at Farnham. It was one of the courses they came to if they were interested in photography and many of them have since graduated back there and are working with the University of Ulster. So there was a big desire for people to be talking about it from their own perspectives. Ireland was a big pilgrimage place, Martin did a project there called A Fair Day, and Koudelka had been there also.

AD: Martin Parr photographed there also.

AF: yes.

AD: From what I read he switched to colour after he came back from Ireland.

AF: Well Martin grasped lots of ideas from different places and combined them into his works. Also he was terribly good at being influential. So you can see how he really made it happen by pushing it on the people he was teaching and promoting it as well.

AD: As we have covered a lot of the influences so far- I have a more specific question now. When you were interviewed by Nicolò Fano, I was intrigued about your mention of fiction you had read at school when trying to explain your thought processes particularly in the development of the Work Stations project. I wondered how important that fiction was in showing the oddities of the everyday in the office environment and the sinister reality of the state of affairs?

AF: Well I hadn’t really read that much when I was young. I read the things that we had to read at school. They all had a level of sinister-ness to them. Lord of the Flies, 1984 by George Orwell was another.

AD: I remember reading Lord of the Flies at school as well. It’s interesting this idea of the repeating institutionalised influences.

AF: Well I think it has changed a bit now with my kids, but they all had something frightening about them. Another was Huxley’s A Brave New World and a Thomas Hardy book which was very alarming. I wasn’t very good at reading and writing those sorts of things but they stayed with me. And then later on I found another interest which came from Val Williams. She is a massive reader who always talked about books.

When I was a student I lived in Jane Austin’s brother’s house which had gone to rack and ruin because the descendants of Edward Austin who inherited the house had become gamblers and alcoholics. The house became infiltrated by groups of Goths and Punks and students living in it. But I hadn’t even read a book of hers and Val Williams said I must. Since I have started reading them, I can’t stop, as its set around here and it’s about middle class life. Again all these things developed my interest more so in the everyday and the society we make up, and photography and literature can give a voice to certain things which don’t have one normally. The more voices that surround something the more people would listen.

Actually I have a great quote, as I am currently working on women on photography conference at the moment with my university and the Tate modern. It’s quite important to tell the stories of women photographers as they have been left out of a lot of recent histories. Although, it’s not as bad as with film or comedy or as I found out this morning in classical music.

The director of the south bank Jude Kelly said, ‘Gender equality is the story of the 21ts century but if young women don’t see female leading figures celebrated as being at the top of their industry then they will not be inspired to follow, and also we need more men involved in the discussion after all many of them have daughters and they must want them to succeed’. So she was talking about the field of conducting classical music and how there is hardly any women involved with it. So again that’s a story that everyone thinks is solved and we are now all equal, but I find that an interesting topic around women’s lives. I’m not quite sure why I have laid into that but it’s something you feel you can do with photography.

AD: Well it’s all relevant because when you were involved in the colour movement you were one of the few female representatives of it. I remember reading  in that interview you had with American Suburb X that you said you had felt you were given the commission by Camerawork for the Work Stations project, purely because of being a female photographer, as they wanted you to concentrate on representing the women in the work place. I have read that at that time there was a more concerted effort to tackle the imbalance of female and indeed ethnic representation.

AF: They might have favoured applications from the Arts Council for women photographers. There was positive discrimination thing going on, because Paul Graham was up for the commission for Work Stations as well, but I got it. There was a lot of positive discrimination going on then, which is now considered bad. I was then involved in the women’s photography festival called Signals in the early 90s. And I thought then that we would move away from the issue as it had that function of separating people. It’s been only recently that I come round to thinking again there needs to be a new celebration of women in photography and it ties in with this globalisation of photography history. There is a power to be had through sharing stories and knowledge that would help insure histories of women and photography are inserted in the narratives.

For not want of moaning, if you look at the brilliant The Genius of Photography programme for example, there are hardly any women in it. It’s not because they didn’t exist, it’s because they weren’t included. Of course there were fewer at the beginning. I have done a lot of research on the percentages of women who have been published and some of the biggest publishers have between 2-5% women and the same as in art collections. I was talking to a designer who happens to be one of my graduates and he says yes they had been talking about it in his office of why they can’t get women into this? I said it’s not because you can’t. It’s because you’re not looking or thinking about it. They are there.

Carolina and I wrote that book, Behind the Image and we didn’t think we had to do positive discrimination but at the end when we counted up the female to male photographers, it was equal. Important figures like Lisette Model, she doesn’t figure a lot in photography histories even though she was an important influence on Diane Arbus. Helen Levitt is as important as Walker Evans even though he is lorded as the key when looking back at this idea of how photography moved away from Pictorialism if you like. There was a small rise with feminism in the 1970s and 1980s and now it has died back again. If you ask a lot of people who they are, they don’t know which I find fascinating. I didn’t think about it until other people brought the topic up, such as Val Williams and Brigitte Lardinois who used to work for Magnum. Even now there are young women who are coming up in documentary who don’t get talked about as much as the young men.

AD: That’s really interesting. From my own experience women have seemed to outnumber the men on the courses I have taken and yet as you say there is still an imbalance there.

AF: Well they are on the courses and even at Farnham there have been more women photographers than men for quite a few years now and it’s now predominantly women staff. But something happens after college. I’m looking at the next generation of women photographers coming up, and it’s interesting that they are all doing good work, but I think when I see somebody like Tom Hunter for example, he is rising above them all. His work is good, but I don’t understand why some of the women’s work isn’t rising at the same time.

AD: It’s almost like there is still an institutionalised discrimination present which although hidden it’s there it exists.

AF: I think there is a mythologizing about photography that fits very well with the male psyche. Like the male on the road- lone photographer sort of thing. I think in society there are huge problems with women who have children, in Britain in particular, as it’s not the same as in Scandinavia which is interesting. There isn’t a social system which helps them out and there is still a division of labour that goes against them. There is still a part of me that thinks -although some women would not agree- that there is quite a bit of work done by women that’s uncomfortable for that very male role of photography. It’s worse in film. Kathryn Bigelow is the only female director who has won an Oscar. So I’m now thinking that as I have gone onto to being reasonably successful, I think it’s important to devote some of my time back to the emerging women.

AD: You’re one of the most influential voices in that respect.

AF: Karen Knorr is also important.

AD: Finally looking back then, in retrospect how does it feel to be associated with the colour movement and what do you see as its legacy?

AF: It’s great. Although again going back to the women issue, I do feel like I achieve something being connected to it because I think it was a struggle for women photographers at that time. And the legacy, I feel like it’s similar to the New Topographics movement in America, seen as a point when things changed. And It was influenced somewhat by the American practise as it sort of lead on from that, but it was different as well. And now there are so many people involved doing so many different things and photography is in a lot more places and taken a lot more seriously. It’s harder to have movements like that again.

AD: That’s interesting, because while I was listening to a talk at Plymouth University called Everywhere and Nowhere, various photographers including Paul Seawright were there given lectures. I asked him about his influences in the panel discussion at the end. And after he finished explaining his answer another photographer who gave a talk Peter Bialobrzeski waded in an said, ‘well I’m playing devil’s advocate here, because you said you were all responding at the time to the heritage of black and white as that was the previous mainstream format, and so colour was a reaction to that. But where do photographers go from here as colour is now part of the mainstream, what do they react to now?’ Paul’s response was: ‘oh well as a photographer we carry on with what we do, but as a new upcoming photographer yes it is very difficult’. So it seems it would be very difficult to see another shift in photography. That’s more of an open ended question really.

AF: But I think there are things new photographers are doing.  But certainly there is not so much of that group thing and you mentioned before- was it because of Thatcherism? And I think that was a part of it. But also there were smaller networks of photographers and Creative Camera was one of the few publications to read and everyone was reading them. Whereas now it’s hard to say which one everyone is reading and there is a lot more of them. There was a lot closer thinking going on and so subjects that seem obvious were the ones to choose. I still think there is innovation and I know Paul Graham does this a lot with his evolving techniques. And that is something I have begun doing in my reason projects as I have never worked with a 5×4 and digital Hasselblad camera on location with a lighting designer and technical assistants, and people doing model release forms on shoots. There are between three and eight of us on every shoot and I had never tried that before. On the basis of this I was invited to do a project in France based on the leisure industry. Again they are based on the ideas of fiction and reality merging together.

 

After the interview, as Anna was dropping me back to the train station. I thanked her once again, and she pointed out how important she felt it was to invest time as an artist and lecturer in helping students in a sort of grand theme of things. As she mentioned this I suddenly realised how the revolving pedagogy of photography works, and by having such a close knit community you might have a close tie on the sort of ideas and influences bounding around, whereas with the globalised situation and diverse gathering of artists and influences, the direction becomes ever more plural and harder to categorise- let alone lump together to form a movement.

 

 

 

 Bibliography

 

 

Books

Arnatt, K. et al. The New Art, London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972

Backhouse, R. Fontaine, P. The History of the Social Sciences since 1945, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Badger, G. The Last Resort, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2012.

Badger, G. Through the Looking Glass: Photographic Art in Britain 1945- 1989, London: Barbican Art Gallery, 1989.

Benge, H. A Short History of Photography, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2007.

Beardmore, S. Caiger-smith, M. Keith Arnatt: Rubbish and Recollections, London: The Photographers’ Gallery, 1989.

Brittain, D. Creative Camera: Thirty Years of Writing, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000.

Burgin, V. Thinking Photography, Basingstoke: Macmillian Education ltd, 1982.

Burgin, V. Two Essays on Art Photography and Semiotics, London: Robert Self (publications), 1976.

Chandler, D. Peter Fraser, London: Tate Publishing, 2013.

Chandler, D. Mack, M. Almereyda, M. Paul Graham: Photographs 1981- 2006, Göttingen: Stiedlmack, 2009.

Eauclaire, S. American Independents: Eighteen Color Photographers, New York: Abbeville Press, 1987.

Eauclaire, S. The New Color Photography, New York: Abbeville Press, 1981.

Elkins, J. (ed.) Photography Theory, New York: Routledge, 2007.

Fox, A. Work Stations: Office Life in London, London: Camerawork, 1988

Fraser, P. Peter Fraser, Portland: Nazraeli Press, 2006.

Clarke, G. The Photograph, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Graham, P. Beyond Caring, London: Grey Editions, 1986.

Grundberg, A. Crisis of the Real, second edition, New York: Aperture, 2005.

Hutcheon, L. The Politics of Postmodernism, Second edition, London: Routledge, 2002.

Kismaric, S. British Photography: From the Thatcher years, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1990.

MacDonald, B. Cape Light: Color Photographs by Joel Meyerowitz, third edition, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1981.

Warner Marien, M. Photography: A Cultural History, third edition, London: Lawrence King Publishing, 2009.

Mellor, D. No such thing as society, London: Hayward Publishing, 2007.

Orvell, M. American Photography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Parr, M. Badger, G. The Photobook: A History volume II, London: Phaidon, 2006.

Parr, M. Chesshyre, R. The Cost of Living, Manchester: Corner House Publications, 1989

Parr, M. Walker, I. The Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton by Martin Parr, second edition, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 1998

Roberts, J. Postmodernism, Politics and Art, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990.

Roberts, J. The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998.

Rogers, B. Documentary Dilemmas, London: The British Council, 1994.

Smith, M R. Marx, L. Does Technology Drive History? : The Dilemma of Technological Determinism, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994.

Smith, P. Riley, A. Cultural theory: an introduction, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2009.

Spence, J. Cultural Sniping: The Art of Transgression, London: Routledge, 1995.

Sussman, E. Weski, T. William Eggleston Democratic camera: Photographs and video, 1961-2008, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Szarkowski, J. William Eggleston’s Guide, second edition, New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2002.

Wells, L. Photography: A Critical Introduction, fourth edition, Oxford: Routledge, 2009

Williams, V. Martin Parr, London: Phaidon, 2002.

Williams, V. Bright, S. How we are Photographing Britain: From the 1840s to the Present, London: Tate Publishing, 2007.

Williams, V. et al. Anna Fox: Photographs 1983- 2007, Brighton: Photoworks, 2007.

Wilson, A. et al. Paul graham, London: Phaidon Press, 1996.

Journals

Bate, D. ‘After Thought Part II: Neo Realism and Postmodernism’, Source, no. 41, Winter 2004, pp. 34-39.

Bate, D. ‘Thirty Years: British Photography Since 1979’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, pp. 4-7.

Barnes, M. ‘One Perspective on Three Perspectives’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, pp. 8-11.

Bishop, W. ‘New British Colour’, British Journal of Photography, vol. 133, no. 21, May 1986, pp. 619-622.

Bishop, W. ‘Open to Interpretation: Photographs by Peter Fraser’, Creative Camera, no. 257, May 1986, pp. 18-25.

Butet-Roch, L. ‘Perfectly Banal’, British Journal of Photography, vol. 160, no. 7812, May 2013, pp. 24-33.

Butler, S. ‘Bob Phillips: English Colour’, Creative Camera, no. 245, May 1985, pp. 17-26.

Butler, S. ‘From Today Black and White is Dead’, Creative Camera, no. 252, Dec 1985, pp. 13-15.

Dahlberg, L. ‘Starburst: Color Photography in America, 1970-1980’, Aperture, no. 202, Spring 2011, p. 14.

Golden, R. ‘Shore Thing’, British Journal of Photography, vol. 157, no. 7782, Nov 2010, pp. 60-65.

Grundberg, A. ‘Black-and-White Outshines Color Photography’, The New York Times, Vol. 137, May 1988, p. 35.

Grundberg, A. ‘Maybe Paul Simon had it all Wrong’, The New York Times, Vol. 143, Oct 1993, p. 19.

Grundberg, A. ‘Teaching Black and White when most use Color’, The New York Times, Vol. 136, Nov 1986, p. 18.

Hare, D. ‘The Myth of Originality in Contemporary Art’, Art Journal, vol.24, no. 2, Winter 1964, pp. 139-142.

Lewis, D. ‘Changing Perspectives’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, pp. 112-115.

Miller, A. ‘Return to the Real’, Source, no. 41, Winter 2004, pp. 34-39.

Murphy, G. ‘An Aesthetic of the Banal’, Source, no. 18, Spring 1999, pp. 31-32.

Porter, A. ‘Colour Works: A New Reality’, Camera, no. 4, April 1980, p. 3.

Porter, A. ‘How Colour Pictures are Transmitted’, Camera, no. 7, July 1979, p. 26.

Roberts, J. ‘Victor Burgin another Knowledge for Photography?’, Creative Camera, no. 258, June 1986, pp. 32, 39.

Thomas, J. ‘Bound in by History: The Winter of Discontent in British Politics, 1979-2004’, Media, Culture & Society, Vol. 29, no. 2, March 2007, pp. 263-283.

Video and Film

The Iron Lady. Film. Dir. Phyllida Lloyd. Writer. Abi Morgan. Pathe Intl, 2012. 105 minutes.

Television

Parr, M. ‘Snap Judgements’ The Genius of Photography, British Broadcasting Corporation, 29 May 2009. Video, 60 minutes.

World Wide Web

‘1980: Thatcher Not for Turning’ [online] http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/10/newsid_2541000/2541071.stm [12th February 2014]

‘Color Photographs by William Eggleston’ [online] http://www.egglestontrust.com/moma76.html [20th January 2014]

‘Exhibition list’ [online] http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/images/exhibitionList_TemporaryFormat_52f50145dfb9a.pdf [21st January 2014] ‘

‘Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century’ [online] http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/968 [25th November 2013]

Badger, G. ‘Eventually, Everything Connects’ [online] http://www.peterfraser.net/?page_id=245 [10th February 2014]

Badger , G. ‘The Pleasures of Good Photographs, Essays by Gerry Badger’ [online] http://www.gerrybadger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ParrByBadger.pdf [12th January 2014]

Coomes, P. ‘Paul Graham: Photographs 1981-2006’ [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-13133461 [25th January 2014]

Davies, L. ‘Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr: Photographing the English’ [online] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/10287039/Tony-Ray-Jones-and-Martin-Parr-Photographing-the-English.html [11th January 2014]

Davies, L. ‘Saul Leiter: The Anti-Celebrity Photographer’ [online] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/10607211/Saul-Leiter-The-anti-celebrity-photographer.html [5th February 2014]

Durden, M. ‘Eyes Wide Open: Interview with John Szarkowski’ [online] http://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/11/theory-eyes-wide-open-interview-with.html [12th January 2014]

Fano, N. ‘Interview with Anna Fox’ [online] http://www.americansuburbx.com/2013/06/interview-anna-fox-asx-interviews-anna-fox-2013.html [10th January 2014]

Gayford, M. ‘Ordinary lives, extraordinary photographs’ [online] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3615454/Ordinary-lives-extraordinary-photographs.html [15th January 2014]

Gompertz, W. ‘Margaret Thatcher: An Inspiration to Artists?’ [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22072552 [10th January 2014]

Grundberg, A. ‘Old World Images that are New’ [online] http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/22/arts/critic-s-notebook-old-world-images-that-are-new.html [17th January 2014]

Hughes, C. ‘Interview with Paul Seawright, 1999’[online] https://audioboo.fm/boos/1162354-interview-with-paul-seawright-1999 [1st February 2014]

Kelly, J. ‘Nicky Crane: The secret double life of a gay neo-Nazi’ [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25142557 [12th February 2014]

King, S. ‘From Danse Macabre’ [online] https://www.wuhsd.org/cms/lib/CA01000258/Centricity/Domain/18/assignment_e1.pdf [25th January 2014]

Laurent, O. ‘The Best Photobooks of the Year: Martin Parr takes his pick’ [online] http://www.bjp-online.com/2013/11/the-best-photobooks-of-the-year-martin-parr-takes-his-pick/ [20th December 2013]

Parr, M. ‘Faq’ [online] http://www.martinparr.com/faq/ [25th January 2014]

Stoepel, W. ‘The Dye-Transfer Process’ [online] http://fnewsmagazine.com/2010/04/the-dye-transfer-process/ [13th November 2013]

Stovel, J. ‘Photography’s Golden Age’ [online] http://www.jprof.com/2013/05/20/photographys-golden-age/ [5th February 2014]

Watney, S. ‘Tunnel Vision: Photographic Education in Britain in the 1980s’ [online] http://www.americansuburbx.com/2009/05/theory-tunnel-vision-photographic.html [10th February 2014]

Weski, T. ‘Martin Parr CV’ [online] http://www.martinparr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Martin-Parr-December-20131.pdf [25th November 2013]

Wolmuth, P. ‘Radical Losses’ [online] http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/opinion/1651091/radical-losses [6th December 2013]

 

 

[1] Badger, G. The Last Resort, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2012, p. 7.

[2] Chandler, D. ‘Vile Bodies’ in Williams, V. et al. Anna Fox: Photographs 1983- 2007, Brighton: Photoworks, 2007, p. 15.

[3] Mellor, D. No such thing as society, London: Hayward Publishing, 2007, p. 129.

[4] The Iron Lady. Film. Dir. Phyllida Lloyd. Writer. Abi Morgan. Pathe Intl, 2012. 105 minutes.

[5] ‘1980: Thatcher Not for Turning’ [online] http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/10/newsid_2541000/2541071.stm [12th February 2014]

[6] Roberts, J. Postmodernism, Politics and Art, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990, p. 59.

[7] Gompertz, W. ‘Margaret Thatcher: An Inspiration to Artists?’ [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22072552 [10th January 2014]

[8] Backhouse, R. ‘Economics’ in Backhouse, R. Fontaine, P. The History of the Social Sciences since 1945, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp.38-69.

[9] Rogers, B. Documentary Dilemmas, London: The British Council, 1994, p. 9.

[10] Ibid., p. 9.

[11] Clarke, G. The Photograph, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 146.

[12] Hare, D. ‘The Myth of Originality in Contemporary Art’, Art Journal, vol.24, no. 2, Winter 1964, pp. 139-142.

[13] A Press release, stating that it was the New York Museum of Modern Art’s first publication on colour photography can be seen on the Eggleston Trust website, see for example, ‘Color Photographs by William Eggleston’ [online] http://www.egglestontrust.com/moma76.html  [20th January 2014]

[14] Szarkowski, J. William Eggleston’s Guide, second edition, New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2002

[15] Bresson was something of a hero to Eggleston, Who he counted as having a shared believe in the influence of paintings on their compositions and organization, see for example Butet-Roch, L. ‘Perfectly Banal’, British Journal of Photography, vol. 160, no. 7812, May 2013, p. 25.

[16] Ibid., p. 25.

[17] Badger, G. The Last Resort, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2012, p. 6.

[18] Parr, M. ‘Snap Judgements’ The Genius of Photography, British Broadcasting Corporation, 29 May 2009. Video, 60 minutes.

[19] Butler, S. ‘From Today Black and White is Dead’, Creative Camera, no. 252, Dec 1985, pp. 13-15.

[20] Davies, L. ‘Saul Leiter: The Anti-Celebrity Photographer’ [online] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/10607211/Saul-Leiter-The-anti-celebrity-photographer.html [5th February 2014]

[21] Grundberg, A. ‘Teaching Black and White when most use Color’, The New York Times, Vol. 136, Nov 1986, p. 18.

[22] See for example Saul Leiter’s pioneering colour photographs.

[23] Badger, G. The Last Resort, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2012, p. 5.

[24] Badger, G. ‘On British Photography: Some Personal Notes’, cited in Kismaric, S. British Photography: From the Thatcher years, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1990, p. 7.

[25] Ibid., p. 7.

[26] Quoted from her introduction to the exhibition, see for example, Kismaric, S. British Photography: From the Thatcher years, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1990, p. 7.

[27] Badger, G. ‘On British Photography’ in Kismaric, S. British Photography: From the Thatcher years, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1990, p. 7.

[28] Wolmuth, P. ‘Radical Losses’ [online] http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/opinion/1651091/radical-losses [6th December 2013]

[29] Chandler, D. Peter Fraser, London: Tate Publishing, 2013, p. 17.

[30] John Roberts was surmising that Burgin was a key influence on academic prestige of post-structuralism in the left-avant-garde photography community. Roberts, J. ‘The Rise of Theory and the Critique of Realism’ in Roberts, J. The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998, p. 152.

[31] Seawright, P. Personal communication notes, 4th December 2013. See appendix A, p. 46.

[32] As Brett Rogers explains, ‘at the British council, photography was finally absorbed into the sector of Fine Art…’ See for example Rogers, B. Documentary Dilemmas, London: The British Council, 1994, p. 129.

[33] Kismaric, S. British Photography: From the Thatcher years, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1990, p. 14

[34] See for example news articles in bibliography.

[35] Grundberg, A. ‘Old World Images that are New’ [online] http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/22/arts/critic-s-notebook-old-world-images-that-are-new.html [17th January 2014]

[36] See appendix B, for a discussion on this with Anna Fox, p. 59.

[37] Paul Hill explains how the debates and discourses going on in the emerging photographic degree courses where reflected in The Three Perspectives of photography Exhibition. Paul Hill, interview for Portfolio Magazine, July 2009 in Lewis, D. ‘Changing Perspectives’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, p. 112.

[38] Arnatt, K. et al. The New Art, London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972, p. 5.

[39] Ibid., p. 5.

[40] Despite largely excluding Keith Arnatt from this essay for purposes of narrowing the scope, it should be noted that Arnatt has a strong association with the colour movement in part due to his inclusion within the British Councils collection of new colour photography as represented in the No Such Thing as Society exhibition.

[41] Paul Hill, Angela Kelly and John Tagg were invited to curate work from a formalist, feminist and socialist perspective. For further reading see, Bate, D. ‘Thirty Years: British Photography Since 1979’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, pp. 4-7.

[42] Paul Hill, Interview for Portfolio Magazine, July 2009, cited in Lewis, D. ‘Changing of Perspectives’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, p. 112. (‘105 Piccadilly’ was the headquarters of the Arts Council.)

[43] See for a full list of exhibitions, ‘Exhibition list’ [online] http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/images/exhibitionList_TemporaryFormat_52f50145dfb9a.pdf [21st January 2014] ‘

[44] Brittain, D. Creative Camera: Thirty Years of Writing, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000, p. 3.

[45] Bishop, W. ‘Open to Interpretation: Photographs by Peter Fraser’, Creative Camera, no. 257, May 1986, pp. 18-25.

[46] Ibid., p. 18.

[47] Chandler, D. Peter Fraser, London: Tate Publishing, 2013, p. 48.

[48] Ibid., pp. 46-47.

[49] Ibid., p. 46.

[50] In 1984 Fraser spent two months in Memphis with Eggleston. Cited in Badger, G. ‘Eventually, Everything Connects’ [online] http://www.peterfraser.net/?page_id=245 [10th February 2014]

[51] Mellor, D. No such thing as society, London: Hayward Publishing, 2007, p. 131.

[52] Technological determinism is a theory that society is driven by its technological advancements. See Smith, M R. Marx, L. Does Technology Drive History? : The Dilemma of Technological Determinism, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994.)

[53] She describes the shock she felt when she first saw the images from the Last Resort during a field trip to Parr’s house along with eight fellow colleagues- Quoted from an interview with the author 3rd February 2014, See appendix B, p. 53.

[54] Parr has recently produced a photo book on the history of photo books and has voted on the top photo books of the year. See for example Parr, M. Badger, G. The Photobook: A History volume II, London: Phaidon, 2006. Laurent, O. ‘The Best Photobooks of the Year: Martin Parr takes his pick’ [online] http://www.bjp-online.com/2013/11/the-best-photobooks-of-the-year-martin-parr-takes-his-pick/ [20th December 2013]

[55] Lewis, D. ‘Changing of Perspectives’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, p. 114.

[56] Parr was influenced somewhat by the late Tony Ray-Jones. See for example, an article based on the recent exhibition in which Parr curates. Davies, L. ‘Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr: Photographing the English’ [online] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/10287039/Tony-Ray-Jones-and-Martin-Parr-Photographing-the-English.html [11th January 2014]

[57] Weski, T. ‘Martin Parr CV’ [online] http://www.martinparr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Martin-Parr-December-20131.pdf [25th November 2013]

[58] Morris, R. ‘Review of The Last Resort’, British Journal of Photography, August 1986 cited in Badger, G. The Last Resort, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2012. p. 6.

[59] Sourced from an introduction to The Cost of Living, see for example: [online] http://www.martinparr.com/books/ [12th November 2014]

[60] Badger ,G. ‘The Pleasures of Good Photographs, Essays by Gerry Badger’ [online] http://www.gerrybadger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ParrByBadger.pdf [12th January 2014]

[61] From an interview with the author 3rd February 2014, see appendix B, p. 50.

[62] Parr, M. ‘Faq’ [online] http://www.martinparr.com/faq/ [25th January 2014]

[63] Gayford, M. ‘Ordinary lives, extraordinary photographs’ [online] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3615454/Ordinary-lives-extraordinary-photographs.html [15th January 2014]

[64] Parr, M. ‘Faq’ [online] http://www.martinparr.com/faq/ [25th January 2014]

[65] Grundberg, A. ‘Old World Images that are New’ [online] http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/22/arts/critic-s-notebook-old-world-images-that-are-new.html [17th January 2014]

[66] Ibid.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Wilson, A. et al. Paul graham, London: Phaidon Press, 1996, p. 6.

[69] Chandler, D. Mack, M. Almereyda, M. Paul Graham: Photographs 1981- 2006, Göttingen: Stiedlmack, 2009, p. 27.

[70] Ibid., p 28.

[71] On taking the image a soldier confronted Graham to demand he stop photographing.

[72] Coomes, P. ‘Paul Graham: Photographs 1981-2006’ [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-13133461 [25th January 2014]

[73] Anna Fox explained how many Irish students came to the West Surrey College of Art and Design, and how Paul Graham was a huge influence, in an interview with the author, see appendix B, p. 55.

[74] Chandler, D. ‘Vile Bodies’ in Williams, V. et al. Anna Fox: Photographs 1983- 2007, Brighton: Photoworks, 2007. p.17

[75] In the 1970s there was a move to upgrade diploma’s in Art education to degree status with the consolidation of Art Schools into newly established Polytechnics, cited in Wells, L. Photography: A Critical Introduction, fourth edition, Oxford: Routledge, 2009, p. 281.

[76] Chandler, op. cit. (2007) p. 15.

[77] Horror fiction writer Stephen King remarks that William F. Nolan once expressed, ‘Nothing is so frightening as what’s behind the closed door’, at a World Fantasy Convention in 1979. See for example, King, S. ‘From Danse Macabre’ [online] https://www.wuhsd.org/cms/lib/CA01000258/Centricity/Domain/18/assignment_e1.pdf [25th January 2014]

[78] Personal communication notes 4th December 2014, see appendix A, p. 45.

[79] Ibid., p. 46.

[80] From an interview with the author 3rd February 2014, see appendix B, p. 55.

[81] Anna Fox explained why constructing narrative became important: ‘I was not an avid reader of the theories although Anne William’s was a brilliant lecturer and translated it into a way we could easily understand, and I was interested in the idea that the author became the author, who was recognised for their ideas or stories in the photograph, as well as the reality in them’. Ibid., p. 52.

[82] Sectarian Murder Collection Imperial War Museum London [online] http://www.paulseawright.com/sectarian1.html [10th February 2014]

[83] On surmising about the cultural impact of the photography of Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston, the Snapshot Aesthetic is suggested by John Szarkowski, to describe a form of photograph characteristically seen in family albums. See for example, Durden, M. ‘Eyes Wide Open: Interview with John Szarkowski’ [online] http://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/11/theory-eyes-wide-open-interview-with.html [12th January 2014]

[84] Hughes, C. ‘Interview with Paul Seawright, 1999’[online] https://audioboo.fm/boos/1162354-interview-with-paul-seawright-1999 [1st February 2014]

[85] Williams, V. Bright, S. How we are Photographing Britain: From the 1840s to the Present, London: Tate Publishing, 2007. p. 138.

[86] Lewis, D. ‘Changing of Perspectives’, Portfolio, no. 50, November 2009, pp. 112-113.

[87] From an interview with author 3rd February 2014, see appendix B, p. 57.

[88] Anna Fox worked for an insurance company before she was accepted onto the course at the West Surrey College of Art and Design.

[89] Chandler, op. cit. (2007) p. 19.

[90] Fano, N. ‘Interview with Anna Fox’ [online] http://www.americansuburbx.com/2013/06/interview-anna-fox-asx-interviews-anna-fox-2013.html [10th January 2014]

[91] Ibid.

[92] From an interview with the author 3rd February 2014, see appendix B, p. 54.

[93] Watney, S. ‘Tunnel Vision: Photographic Education in Britain in the 1980s’ [online] http://www.americansuburbx.com/2009/05/theory-tunnel-vision-photographic.html [10th February 2014]

[94] Lewis, op. cit. (2009) p. 113.

[95] As explained by Anna Fox in an introduction to her photographs in, Williams, V. et al. Anna Fox: Photographs 1983- 2007, Brighton: Photoworks, 2007, p. 26.

[96] From an interview with the author 3rd February 2014, see appendix B, p. 53.

[97] Ibid., p. 53.

[98] Caption as quoted from, Williams, V. et al. Anna Fox: Photographs 1983- 2007, Brighton: Photoworks, 2007. p. 45.

[99] Chandler, op. cit. (2007) p. 21.

[100] Ibid., p. 14.

[101] From an interview with the author 3rd February 2014, see appendix B, p. 53.

[102] Roberts, J. ‘The Rise of Theory and the Critique of Realism: Photography in Britain in the 1980s’, in The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998, p. 144.

[103] Burgin proposes in an introduction to his essay that: ‘the author is no more the producer of texts than he or she is the product of texts whose prior formations determine the spaces within which his or her “own” text may be inscribed’. Cited in Burgin, V. Two Essays on Art Photography and Semiotics, London: Robert Self (publications), 1976, pp. 2-3.

[104] Roberts, J. op. cit. (1998) p. 146.

[105] Rogers, B. Documentary Dilemmas, London: The British Council, 1994, p. 5.

[106] The Last Resort was the name of a clothes shop favoured by skinheads in London’s Whitechapel. See Kelly, J. ‘Nicky Crane: The secret double life of a gay neo-Nazi’ [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25142557 [12th February 2014]

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