The Deutsche Bank Collection

The Deutsche Bank has an incredible art collection and in particular a wonderful photography collection. A great ammount of this collection actaully hangs on the office walls of the banks buildings.

It also runs a very good online magazine that is worth having a look at, you can access the archive here: http://www.db-artmag.de/2008/5/e/archiv.php

Of particular interest for me is this article on Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs of wax work figures, including the one of Henry VIII that I have written about before.

Ending and Continuation

Just a quick post to say that even though in many ways the Tower Residency has finished, I will be continuing to post blogs until after the work has been exhibited.

Although the photographs have been taken and now printed there is much work to do until it is shown to the public. There is the whole process of finding a suitable location and then working out how best to show the finished work in this location. Also I’m currently very busy working out the text/titles that will accompany the pictures.

Over the summer I plan to return to the Tower of London and make use of the 5×4 Large Format Camera for some pictures I have in mind that don’t really fall into the same area as the completed work.

On top of reporting on these elements of the post-residency experience I will also be talking about my efforts to promote the work to a wider audience.  I have also been asked by some of you to continue posting links to photographers/exhibitions/websites that I am looking at.

I hope you will continue to follow the blog over the summer and also I hope to see you all when the work is finally exhibited.

An Ever Present Doubt

I now have all exhibition prints, bar one, in my posession. I will be honest since picking up the prints I have suffered from a sudden rush of doubt. I must add that this is a familiar feeling for me when working on a body of work, especially as the end looms up. Knowing this doesn’t make the feelings any easier.

Seeing the images in their finished state I begin to quietly question all my choices – the pictures, the size, the way they have been printed. In some ways the work takes on a life of its own, like it or not its become its own thing, its moved slightly out of my control.

Im now taking some time to live with the pictures again, a few are taped up on the wall and will stay there for a couple of weeks while I get used to them again.

I still find that listening to Max Richter and Sylvain Chauveau helps.

The Education Projects – Downside Fisher Youth Club

In January we began an education project with some young people from the Downside Fisher Youth Club. The project was similar to the portrait project that we ran with Evelyn Lowe school, but due to the age of the participants and the fact that it was run outside of school hours it created a very different body of work.

Alex, Zinta and I went to meet the group at the Youth Club where we discussed the idea for the project and did some work around personal image and the portraits. Unlike the school based projects, where a lot of the planning of the portraits was done before the actual ‘shoot’, the majority of the creative work with the young people from Downside Fisher was done on location with input from the whole group. This made for a really exciting atmosphere in our chosen location – the Tower of London’s Medieval Palace (even though it was very, very cold). Some of the behind the scenes pictures of the sessions in the palace can be seen here. I had a great time working with this group and was genuinely impressed by their creativity, hard work and sense of humour. As my personal work can be a quiet and solitary experience I find these lively, energetic sessions a lot of fun and really boost my confidence in the creativity of today’s young people.

The gallery below shows the final pictures that the participants decided were their favourites, each of them received a framed copy of their image to take home. The plan is that these pictures will be displayed for the public in the Tower in the near future.

The Education Projects – Evelyn Lowe Portrait Project

During my time as Photographer in residence at the Tower of London I have worked with the Education Department on three projects with children and young people from local schools and community groups. Over the next few posts on this blog I want to show some of the images that were made during these projects.

The first project was back in December of last year working with pupils from Evelyn Lowe Primary School. The children visited the Tower for the day and we worked with them looking at how portraits communicate information about the people in them. We looked specifically at images of Henry VIII and other portraits linked to the Tower, we then compared these pictures with contemporary photographic portraits and noticed that the visual language of old paintings are still used in today’s photographs. The children then worked on their ideas for their own portraits, we asked them to imagine that it would be the only picture that would survive into the future – what would you like people to think of you when they found the photograph, how would you like to be remembered?

The pupils understood that historic painted portraits cost a lot of money to make and were usually only of very rich and powerful people. Therefore the artist would often have to be very flattering of his subject if he wanted to work again. With this in mind I said the children could create their image however they wanted.

About a week or so after the session at the Tower, I went along to the school (with Alex Drago) to work with the children on their portraits. We created a studio, with lighting and a white backdrop in a spare class room and one by one the pupils came in and told us how they wanted to be photographed. We did several different shots with each child according to the portrait they had planned in the teaching session and then loaded them onto the laptop. The pupil then picked the photograph that they thought matched their original idea best. Below is a selection of the results.

From the Edit

bins

A theme I have noticed in a lot of work I have edited from the residency photographs seems to be layers. When I talk about the Tower of London project to people I often refer to the layers of interpretation that exist on such an important historic site. Im sure I have also mentioned it here on the blog in the past. In some ways the Tower of London is like a celebrity building, with its very own, clearly defined public image.

The picture above is taken from the final edit for the exhibition, the bins contain mortar being used in the conservation of the White Tower. The building materials are carefully made to compliment the buildings historic integrity, in a way these bins contain a new layer of the Towers image.

I was given access to the areas where the conservation work is taking place, I was told about the complicated job of researching and gathering exactly the right materials to keep the repairs historically accurate and also to the highest building standards.

At the end of the coming week I will be able to pick up the exhibition prints and deliver them to the company that is framing the work, this will be the first time I have seen the whole body of work, printed full size and all together.