[18Mar] The cmat. states that "Ingrid Pollard addresses her feelings towards the rural countryside as a non-white British subject, articulating her profound sense of being an outsider to these spaces" and describes Pollard's practices of hand-coloured monochrome prints, regarding this as subversive on two levels, a play on "colour" and ironically evoking the nostalgic practice of hand-tinting.
[19Mar, p.144] Examples provided are Alishia Farnan’s Social State, looking at social clubs in Scotland, with a rather patronising explanation of what a working men's [sic] club is, but, in fairness, adds, "(w)hen heavy industries died out in the West of Scotland so too did the material basis of their existence. In the eighties globalisation and robots were replacing our physical labour just as now t hey are replacing our intellectual labour".
[24 Mar, p.147] The cmat. states that "Britishness and the British landscape have especially strong connections with military culture" (LPE p.147). I'm not sure that's the case, unless you live near Salisbury Plain or another military training ground. The first artist cited is Melanie Friend: were are told, "The Home Front explores the seductiveness of war and how the military-industrial complex maintains its position in the popular consciousness". On her web site, Friend states,
The Home Front images, taken over a four year period (2009-12), reflect on ‘the perennial seductiveness of war’ analysed by Susan Sontag(I), but as experienced on the home front, rather than in the conflict zone. Through its focus on air shows, the work aims to inspire reflection on the normalisation of war in our culture – on how militarization is ‘woven into the fabric of civic culture’
The cmat. speaks of "the modern military … ‘market[s]’ itself through grand public spectacles and a savvy use of popular media and culture" [LPE p.147] — again, I am not aware of this, so not very grand and not that savvy. As I write, the Russian invasion of the Ukraine continues, so although my personal inclinations are pacifist, perhaps the military-industrial complex has a point.
Now to Matthew Flintham who in Military-Pastoral Geometries adds graphics to landscape images to demonstrate invisible military dimensions. The title and accompanying text for fig. C2 on Flintham;'s' web site states,
The Wash: High angle dives and loft/toss bombing attacks
The Wash is a vast tidal estuary of tributaries, mud flats, and low-lying marsh lands. It is also used as a bombing range for NATO and British aircraft which regularly pass over at very low altitude releasing inert payloads or firing acoustic signals at targets in the distance.
Friend's book The Plain (2020) includes an essay by Flintham
[25Mar] To Chloe Dewe Mathews, who, readers will remember from C&N, produced a seemingly innocuous series, Shot at Dawn, showing the execution sites of WW1 soldiers found guilty of various forms of "cowardice". The photographs were made 100 years after the executions at approximately the same time. The photographs appear innocent, mundane, until their purpose is explained. I found this series probably the most affecting I have encountered on this course: it deploys both poignancy and stealth, the latter a quality I greatly admire — Stealth is militant subtlety.
Research Task: Military Perspectives
1. Do some online research into the approach taken by Friend, Flintham and Dewe-Mathews.
2. Which approach resonates most with you as a viewer?
I made it clear in my comments above that my admiration lies with Dewe-Mathews. Friend's images are a sub-Parr or Simon Roberts typography of military enthusiasts at play.
Flintham's are contrived, inelegant and obscure.
Dewe-Mathews series manifests a unique (in my experience) retrospective punctum, where some of the images have a profound impact, but only when they have been explained. The punctum effect, as explained in Part 3 Exercise 6, is an occasional, profound, personal resonance with an image, normally the result of the image triggering an associated memory or deep feeling. Here the trigger is indirect and delayed - without an explanation of the image, it would not happen at all.
Fay Godwin Box D
Stained Glass and
Fay Godwin's Chatsworth Rinaldi lion
[26Mar, p.150] Fay Godwin, as mentioned elsewhere, is a photographer for whom my admiration is boundless. Her image of one of the Chatsworth Rinaldi lions has been on my parlour wall for many years.
Godwin has already been mentioned in Part 3 for her negative reaction to so-called picturesque postcards. In the current context, her concern is restrictions on access to the countryside. Her images often feature fences, No Trespassing signs and the like: she was active in the Ramblers' Association and was elected its president in 1987. The cmat. shows pages from Our Forbidden Land (1990), but I prefer Nightguard (it may be in the book). The cmat. states (my emphasis),
Godwin paid careful attention to light conditions and ordered her
compositions along traditional, pictorial conventions, which is one of the reasons why her photographs have remained so appealing. This stealth tactic allows the viewer to be taken in by the aesthetics o f the image; once the viewer is engaged, Godwin is able to pose more challenging questions about the landscape.
We are then invited to listen to Godwin on Desert Island Disks, a good opportunity for practicing unusual Harvard Referencing. Entirely appropriately, Godwin's choices included Cole Porter, Don't Fence Me In (fig. F1) and the method of referencing radio and TV programs is covered in the LIT Library guide (fig. F2).
Contributor name, initial(s). (year) Interview on Title of Programme [format], Name of Channel, Date of transmission, time of transmission
Godwin, F. (2002) Interview on Desert Island Disks [radio], BBC Radio 4, 17 March 2002.
Kirby, P. (2017) Write it Right [online]. library.lit.ie. Available from https://library.lit.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/WriteitRightPDFOct2017.pdf [Accessed 27 March 2022].
In the broadcast, Godwin explains how her interest in photography started with photographing her family, then visitors to her home, including literary figures because her role in publishing and in turn to commissions to photograph writers and poets. She had met Ted Hughes and they later collaborated on a book of landscape photographs and poems that reinforced her move to that genre. She stayed with landscape for most of her career, but when ill health restricted her mobility began to concentrate on local detail (she says in the interview that she was already moving in that direction).
b: 1955 Bolton Site - WikipediaClive Landen
no active links found
[27Mar, p.151] The Foot and Mouth outbreak of 2001 was documented by John Darwell in Dark Days (2001-02) and Clive Landen in Abyss (2001): both come with a trigger warning.
Landen, "collaborated with the military and was seconded to a regiment, which allowed him free rein to access the sites where cattle were being burned and buried. Although the pictures are quite explicit and upsetting to view, Landen photographed the horror with profound sensitivity" (LPE p.151).
[27Mar] This is a mop-up page for examples of divers UK landscape photo-projects.