Saved by Thumb #03

 

Selected by Matt Martin | The Photocopy Club & Doomed Gallery Curator | @luckygoldteeth 

"Photographers and artists I love.  Saved images for inspiration." 

Jannike Stelling | @jannikestelling

Jannike Stelling | @jannikestelling

Ryan McGinley | @ryanmcginleystudios

Ryan McGinley | @ryanmcginleystudios

Dana Lauren Goldstein | @danalaurengoldstein

Dana Lauren Goldstein | @danalaurengoldstein

Ian Kenneth Bird | @ikbird

Ian Kenneth Bird | @ikbird

Kingsley Ifill | @kingsley_ifill

Kingsley Ifill | @kingsley_ifill


Saved by Thumb invites curators, editors and publishers to share five images saved to their personal Instagram account. 

 

Josh Jones | 99 Peace Walls

 
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 99 Peace Walls is two things; a beginning of an explorative journey of Northern Ireland and a continuation of an earlier project undertaken in Birmingham, which focussed on the Irish community. After spending time in Digbeth documenting the ageing and dwindling Irish population, Josh rounded things off by producing a dummy book. He then decided to turn his attention to the inhabitants of Belfast, and balanced working at the annual Photo Festival 2017 with photographing the start of this new project.

As a foreigner to the country, Josh was provided with an opportunity to observe and witness the city's people, but also to engage as an outsider, which does not necessarily equate to being distant. He was met with an apparent social, religious and political divide among the people of East and West Belfast, but did not aim to obviously portray this within his photographs. However, the politics of the city clearly had an effect, whether subconsciously or not. The Union Jack colour scheme is sprinkled throughout the series; the tracksuit top of the girl with hooped earrings, the bunting strung across the garden and even the 'PAW Patrol' toy car parked outside the West Peace Wall.

These photographs were all taken within a two week time frame in both ends of the city. This work is ongoing. Josh hopes to revisit Belfast, explore other parts of Northern Ireland and possibly venture into the Republic of Ireland too.


 

Alex Ingram | David's House

 

St Davids is the UKs smallest city, located on the most Western point of the Pembrokeshire coast with a population of just 1841. This project explores the connection between people and place, seeking to understand the connections that the subjects have with the landscape, and their reasoning and choices for spending their lives in such a secluded part of the world. St Davids is where I was brought up, and through this personal connection with the landscape, I was able to offer a thoughtful and insightful documentation of this tightly formed community, in which I spent his childhood.

The project has evolved from my initial connection with my neighbour, Dai, and the life he has spent in St Davids and the stories he had to tell. Broadening the work to the wider community, I am in search of what connects other members of the community to the place and explores how St Davids has impacted their lives.


 

Scarlett O'Flaherty | Powolani przez Boga

 
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Powolani przez Boga is a documentation of the feminine adoration of God that explores beyond a superficial perspective of women’s role in the Catholic Church, through seeking to understand what makes these women give their lives to God. The sisters display an inner contentment that many in a contemporary society would envy. This comes from the belief that they have been called by God. The calling and dedication to the church is not tangible, some would argue that the presence of God does not exist, however for the women of the Felician Franciscan Congregation it determines their path through life.


 

Megan Wilson-De La Mare | Flirting with Monsters

 
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Based on her personal experiences and observations of our collective expression of femininity Flirting with Monsters considers that which exists outside established social norms and clichéd notions of the ideal female form. Megan’s creative process sets portraits of women and still life images against a backdrop of powerful Icelandic landscapes, exploring and questioning our obsession with beauty and a contrived ideal form of femininity. This project seeks to instigate a new dialogue around female subjectivities.


 

Grace Jackson | Whispers of the Sea

 

Whispers of the Sea is a series about me and my attachment to the sea but also how the sea makes me feel and how it has helped healed me, it was the first place I felt safe, it was the first place I went on my own and now it has been somewhere I always feel calm. After being sexually assaulted I contained myself in my own flat too scared to leave the comfort, too scared of the unknown. I started travelling to the coast and taking photographs and writing down all the things I could never say, as I stayed there for hours photographing, thinking and writing this is how I started to make work again, it started with a series called Shell Casing, then leading to The Fractures of our Soul and now continuing with Whispers of the Sea, since the first two series I have now been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I have learnt the ways I can cope with the nightmares and the flashbacks, and one of these is being by the sea. All the work is shot on analogue ranging from large format to medium format. I use analogue photography because I love the control I have over it, after what happened I need to always feel in control, and although it can become obsessive, by loading, developing and printing all my own work in my own darkroom it becomes cathartic to work on the print and get the outcome I really want and showcase how I feel, but also it is a way of me putting this trauma into my work, and giving myself a voice I have never felt I have had since the attack as for 18 months I was silent and once I started talking about what happened I faced a lot of criticisms and set backs as many people didn’t believe me including the police, my family and friends, I started to doubt myself and not know if the nightmares and flashbacks were real, I started to doubt my own memory and sanity, therefore the series allows me to say what I want without having to utter the words or worry about someone else’s reaction or judgement, my photographs can speak for me. Further from this I want to generate conversation, conservation about sexual assaults and why our society shuts down and victim shames the women who have suffered enough pain, why the first words out of peoples mouths are “were you on your own”, “what were you wearing”, “was it late at night” – like any of these questions should matter, but just because we are women we have to protect ourselves instead teaching that rape is wrong. I layer both the landscapes and the nudes because to me the landscape is a body as well, it is talking about the female form alongside my safety, I choose nudes because the topics I am talking about I want bare skin I want the fragility of the female body next to the place I feel safe. By layering I am also putting my own touch on the series, it is very personal to myself and is a way to help myself heal.


 

Saved by Thumb #02

 

Selected by | Max Ferguson | Splash & Grab Editor | @maxferguson

"My choices represent the wide range of photographers we work with at Splash & Grab. These are some of our favourite photographs from people who have taken over our Instagram account".

Iacopo Pasqui | @iacopopasqui

Iacopo Pasqui | @iacopopasqui

Tori Ferenc | @toriferenc

Tori Ferenc | @toriferenc

Cian Oba-Smith | @cianobasmith

Cian Oba-Smith | @cianobasmith

Jess Farran | @j_farran

Jess Farran | @j_farran

Felix von der Osten | @fvdo

Felix von der Osten | @fvdo


Saved by Thumb invites curators, editors and publishers to share five images saved to their personal Instagram account. 

 

Rebecca Gray | In Between

 
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In a society that weighs heavily on teaching young people how to work hard and get the best grades, we often overlook mental health. Resilience is a series of portraits and corresponding still life photographs of people who work with young people (11 to 25), who suffer with mental health problems. With each person, I discussed their views on current political and social attitudes towards mental health and what they believe would be a positive way for our society to improve its stance on the matter. Unanimously, they offered a solution of preventative action, providing children with a better awareness of their own and others mental health. Giving people the opportunity to be mentally resilient.


 

William McCleland | Out of Step

 

The Hardcore music scene gives a sense of belonging to many struggling to find a place in an uncertain society. Looking at a group of young men, it is possible to see those seeking direction, aligning themselves to what seems an aggressive movement, for a sense of belonging and meaning. 

The fragility of those involved is often only exposed to those on the inside, causing a dichotomy between the public perception and the private reality. 


 

Giulia Parlato | Isola

 

The concept of Isola originated from an unresolved question I have been asking myself for the past three years; about home and the impossibility of finding one. The 'photographic act' has always been a way to isolate myself and feel at home within my images. This sort of inner dislocation I reach while I photograph, brought me to the creation of a fictitious island, which almost became a symbolic dwelling.

When I started to construct a critical thought around this project, I knew it had to be about Sicily, depicted as a surreal and arcane place and strongly linked to its myths. Throughout the development of my work, this partially changed and focusing on my origins became mostly a familiar and personal way of articulating a discourse on a more broad and complex concept.

My journey of twenty-five days through the mediterranean sea, started after a rereading of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's Lighea and Homer's Odyssey, focusing particularly on Ulysses adventures across the south of Italy. When I decided to plan my own route, I was ultimately inspired by the tales my father used to tell me. All of these stories were based on Ferdinandea, which was a small Sicilian island that rose from the water in 1831 and then disappeared again underwater (to lie just below the surface) in 1832.

In winter, the Sicilian landscape shifts from being a desirable tourist destination, to a desert and silent scene.

The desolation of Sicily and the small island which surround it made me focus on their idyllic appearance. Meditating on the primitive uses of the cave, which are extremely common throughout the island group, I though of each cavern as a dwelling in its purest and simplest structure; a contained space, which is possible to enter and which recalls the ideal form of the shelter.

By exploring this territory, I was allured by the idea of enclosure in the shapes of igneous rocks and cliffs, encompassing the traveller and welcoming him to stay. The symbology of the cave, antechamber of an hidden world, is a central theme of my research. The cave here is seen as an intricate space, similar to the one of the human viscera, as well as a place where a reconnection with Mother Earth and our original state of humanity is possible.

Isola formed around the idea of narrating, like in a travel journal, a fictional voyage from an adventurer's perspective; from approaching an imaginary island to venturing into its core.

Celebrating the beauty of the classical forms, the nude figures in the landscape evoke a sense of a dreamlike dimension, in which the viewer is invited to immerse themselves. Concentrating the narrative more on their gestures, rather than their identity, my subjects are faceless islanders, accompanying foreigners through their visit.
The objects I have collected throughout the making of my work, have been taken out of their original context and photographed individually, against a simple black background. This enhances their evocative power and shifts the focus onto their symbolic value. As fragments of an ended voyage, the objects almost become 'organs' of the island itself, organic pieces that have been secretly removed from it.

Isola is not a specific place and it does not belong to a specific time. Impenetrable, it exists only in images.


 

Notes on Clean Rooms, Low Rates

 

By Brendan Barry and Jeff Parker

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I tried calling everyone. I called again and again. I left messages. I sent texts. Where are you guys? I wrote. Where the fuck is everybody? No one was there. No one was anywhere.

So I checked myself into a room, and I found a drinking establishment there with wood-panel walls. 

The shift had already started, and the girls were already forgetting to give change. In front of the taps, they twisted curling irons through their hair. They adjusted their polka-dotted tops. They chugged Red Bulls.

One of them looked at me with eyes like gouges in her face. She was saying "This side of Thysyrus, our rendezvous Al-lah ta-ting."

"What?" I said.

"Do you have any interest in a menu or anything?" she said. Her head bent awkwardly. I had never seen a creature like this before. She had a vile turquoise stone hanging from a black thread around her neck. A silver ball poked through her lip. She frightened me.

"I'm fine," I said. Of course I was anything but fine.
She poured green beer into pitchers marked off like measuring cups. I was the only one alone there, and that seemed wrong. A motel like that should be full of alone people who were there for the purpose of being alone together.
 
I put quarters on the challenge table but the together guys before me left when they were done. I played me. I challenged myself. I beat me in a very close game.

The guys playing pool before me had left a pitcher with two cups, sixteen ounces, one pint of green beer still in it. I drank off it. It tasted like company. Right unnatural green-tinted company.

"Hey," I said to a waitress, the one with white pigtails sprouting over both ears. "When's St. Patrick's Day?"

"It was Monday," she said.

"What day's today?"

"Friday."

She noticed I was drinking the left-behind old green beer and not buying old green beer myself. She whispered into the ears of the other girls. I finished the left-behind old green beer.
It had been a long time since I couldn't get in touch with anybody. I wondered where they all were. I wondered how long until I'd be able to reach them again. 

"How was the audition?" the terrifying one said to the blond one.

"Good," the blond one said.

"What was it for again?"

"What?"

"What was it for again?"

"The lead in"--I couldn't hear this part. "It starts shooting in May." The blond waitress electrified the place, as blond waitresses will.

"Hell's Bells" played.

Some guy charged behind the bar. He hugged the waitresses. Of all the men in the world, he was their favorite.

"How was your party?" the terrifying waitress asked him.

"You should have been there 'cause I was smashed."

"Shut up," she said.

"We were finding wealthy men," the blond one shouted. "And they were buying us martinis."

"What's the cheapest beer?" I interrupted. They all looked at me.

"The green beer," the terrifying waitress said.

"What kind of beer is the green beer?"

"Cool."

"Cool?"

"Cool."

I looked at her.

"I don't recommend it," she said.

"Okay then," I said. "Give me Cool."
She didn't want to, but she poured one for me, and I paid her, and I drank it, and I went back to my room.


Brendan Barry is a fine art photographer based in the South West of England. In the past his work has been primarily concerned with the notion of the journey and photography as a tool for exploration, although recently he is more interested about building cameras out of random things, like pineapples and Lego, and is interested in the construction behind the photographic process and developing a more performance based and participatory practice. www.brendanbarry.co.uk

Jeff Parker is the author of the novel Ovenman and the short story collection The Taste of Penny. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Clean Rooms, Low Rates will be published by Mount Analogue in October 2017. 


Notes on features contemporary photography accompanied by creative or critical writing. 

 

Anne Erhard | From the Trees We Run Between

 

"Together as carpenters with hammers
We have taught the distance
How to build a roof
From the trees we run between"

John Berger

One morning, staring out of a car window into dense red fir forests lining the road, I noticed the strange patterns created by the bright trees and the slivers of dark air caught among them. Sometimes, the trunks appear black instead, leaving only the gaps between them illuminated. 

Based on the ancient legends of the world tree, a central axis supporting heaven and earth, this project expands into a poetic study of the notion of origin, the cyclical nature of devotion, and the anonymity of craft. Traditions of building open up a circumnavigation of sites of worship; surpassing landscape as visual construct and returning to land as graspable object. Drawing from countless mythologies of the forest, my concern lies in keeping visible those fragments of knowledge embedded so deeply in collective memory they are on the brink of eclipsing themselves. Collating multiple narratives into a story of endurance, this body of work oscillates between the boundaries of the found and made. Layers of imagery are eroded, gathered, and compressed again by the force of interwoven histories; a built land gradually reveals its marks of engagement and possession. 

Shot between England, Germany, and the Czech Republic, physical locations are extracted and re-arranged, created anew within the space of the photographs. My own family lies at the centre of a web of connections to living and working in the woods of our shared past; the traces of these relations continue to take root in my practice. From following workmen setting controlled fires, leaving behind an earth burnt but renewed, to photographing the woods my grandfathers owned, my images arrest the transformation of matter at various stages - from wood to stone, from bone to ash, to dust and soil, to a state loosened from the successive structure of past, present, and future.


 

Bookshelf #01 | Heavy Volume II

 

Heavy Volume II is an exploration of images and text on the printed page, compiled and published by The Heavy Collective

The new volume features photographic contributions from:

Dana Lixenberg, Susan Lipper, Irina Rozovsky, Stephen Shames, Curran Hatleberg, Daniel Shea, Mark Peckmezian, Deanna Templeton, Yoshinori Mizutani, Joanna Piotrowska, Aglaia Konrad & Katrin Koenning

And words by:

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, Wilfred Brandt, Hideko Ono, Claire Monneraye, Daniel Boetker-Smith, Ashley McNelis, Geordie Cargill, Alex Ward, Lola Pinder & Jack Harries

The Heavy Collective believes firmly in printed matter and the vitally important role it plays in being a vehicle for transmission. They explore publishing from a place of necessity, integral to photographic literacy. Volume II is a pairing of images and text. A conversation between photographer and viewer, writer and reader. Starting out of the blocks in 2015 with the release of Volume I, II pushes the dialogue further, putting photographer and writer face to face, landing firmly at the confluence of where images are made and how they are read.

Heavy Volume II – First edition 1000 copies, 176 Pages, 200mm x 271mm, ISBN 978-0-9943122-1-1


Volume II Launches within the IPF London programme at The Photographer's Gallery on May 25 2017, 18:00 - 20:00 including a book signing by Susan Lipper. 

Purchase here

 

Notes on Taking Care

 
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Take Care (first edition) can be purchased here


Do you remember your first days in Oslo? When everything was strange and new to you? They are a magical few days. Even going to the shop or taking the bus is an adventure. The buildings, the streets, the people, the air and the light has its own character and you observe it with curiosity and fascination. The brain is in overdrive, you see something entirely new and you know this is something you are going to remember. You nervously jump on the bus, butterflies in your stomach, you still do not know if this is the right one, even if your phone tells you it is: this is your first time. The bus cradles you around corners and roundabouts, accelerates up straight roads, shops, people, trees and parks flash by and are seen for the first time by your eyes. 

You start your new job, here too everything is new, and you struggle a bit in the beginning, even the simplest tasks require the highest concentration, but after a few months you get the hang of it. The streets you saw for the first time not long ago have become familiar, you walk the same paths every time, to the shop, to town, to friends, to work, to school. It is not new anymore, it has become the place where you live. Everywhere you go, all the things you do, the food you eat, the people you meet, you have been in contact with them before and they become part of your routines which in sum make up your life. The routines are safe and good. You know how to handle them.

Months pass and you barely notice. You are on autopilot. You get drunk in the weekends in an attempt to break things up, but even your nights out have become routine and rarely offer anything new. The excitement is gone. The sweet nervousness you felt when you got on the bus that first time is so far away now that you barely remember it. Nothing surprises you anymore. Your train is on a straight and isolated track, and you can see all the way to the last stop. It cannot go on like this, you think. Or is this just life? You feel deflated, but continue like before. The wheel must keep on turning. 

One day something happens. You have finally had it with the boredom. You seek out something entirely new, you are vulnerable and alone. There are no familiar faces here. What are you feeling in your stomach now? Someone comes up to you and asks if you want a cigarette. You don’t smoke, you say, but you join them anyway because you have been waiting for this. Next to you is a person you have never seen before. You greet and discover that you are both here by yourself. From this moment it becomes apparent that this is no ordinary meeting. 

She lights her second smoke. You continue talking, you and this fantastic person, you keep on talking about things you have never talked about before. It is the middle of the night in the city you thought you knew so well, which you thought had stopped surprising you. The hours pass, night slowly turns into to morning, you say goodbye and jump on the bus home. It accelerates up the familiar streets, which seem to glitter and glow in the rays of the early morning sun, but it is not just the light; the city has suddenly changed for you, and you are filled with an intense feeling of happiness.


Notes on features contemporary photography accompanied by creative or critical writing. 

 

Lola Paprocka | Blokovi

 

Photographed by Lola Paprocka in the summer of 2015, Blokovi documents Serbia's capital city, Belgrade.  Working primarily with a medium format camera in scorching heat, the work consists of New Belgrade apartment blocks and those who reside within them.

Each original has been hand printed, defining the warmness which is cast throughout.  In turn, this process allows the series to move away from any cold preconceptions which may still surround the homes given to tenants in the communist era. Formed by Lola's admiration for brutalist architecture, the project functions from an understanding of place.  Coupled with the intention to photograph genuinely with the strangers she was meeting, Blokovi presents an honest and heartwarming take on the area and the varied lives it is home to. 

Lola also runs the London-based publishing house Palm* Studios, printing a first edition of the title in 2016, which went on to win the Unveil'd Photobook Award. The publication is a collaboration with Belgrade locals Mima Bulj, and Architect Ljubica Slavkovic who beautifully concludes the book with a piece of writing. 

Unveil'd is currently working with Lola to re-show the works in a solo exhibition with a Bristol gallery, following a successful launch of the now sold out photobook. 

lolapaprocka.com

palmstudios.co.uk