Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The City and Photography.

"If landscape photography fed from earlier developments in landscape painting and aesthetics, then the photography of the city has its foundations in the way urban spaces were beginning to be viewed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We need to remember that photography established itself in a period when the growth of the city and industry had already provoked a formidable literature and art in response to the increasing influence of urban areas, especially such cities as London, Paris and New York. Photography takes its place in this process, but it does so in a consistently active sense, simultaneously responding to the variety and multiplicity of urban life and experience, and to the questions of how urban space was to be perceived and represented. In brief, its underlying response has always been in relation to the visual complexity of a city as both image and experience." Graham Clarke - The Photograph.

There have been so many photographers who have approached 'The City' with their camera's, Alfred Stieglitz; abandoning the street as an area of interest concentrating instead on perspectives of the New York sky line. Lewis Hine; gave us views of the city as a social and economic reality. Walker Evans who used concealed cameras beneath his coat giving us a candid view, Brassai gave us his vision of Paris maybe as more of a voyeur and someone who peeped. Too many photographers to mention here. Today we seem to find ourselves looking at images of cities, not such as London, Paris and New York, but of Beijing, Tokyo, Mumbai etc, cities with different implications and conditions. For me photographing a city makes me part of that city, blending with the walls, allowing the traffic to flow over me, spending hours walking the streets, to feel and see it. Using photography to come to understanding when we can ponder over an image made for minutes, days and weeks. These two images were made in the city of Kaoshan, Taiwan, a city of contrasts from that of huge modern buildings to the subtleties of history that fill in the gaps. Surrounded by water, an enigmatic harbour to a man singing karaoke on the beach.

Kaoshan thank you for having me and letting me get to know you a little.

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