17 August 2011

Better than your average holiday snaps

Hello my little blog-babies - this is a slightly shorter and less text-heavy post than usual, partly due to time pressures (team Hayward Publishing are hard at work on this at the moment) and also just because, y'know.. variety is the spice of life..

I am due to go on holiday at the end of this week and I'm not ashamed to say I am limping towards the finishing line. It's only four months since I last had a break but I'm as tired and run down as can be, so it's nice to take a moment, look at some great photographs and breathe a (vicarious) breath of fresh, Mediterranean air. The great photographs in question are by a young man named William Matthew Harvey, who also happens to work at Aperture Foundation - one of my favourite photobook publishers, and home of the very beautiful Aperture magazine.

The photos were taken near Lake Garda, in Italy - as if the warm light and hazy atmosphere in some of the shots weren't enough to tip you off. Sun-burnished buildings, vivid flowers and foliage, and rocky terrain all give you a sense of the landscape and climate, but what I like best about these photos as a series is that you really get the send of someone wandering - taking their time to explore a new terrain and taking pictures whenever something appealing catches the eye. Apologies to Matt if I grossly misrepresent his process here!

Considering that these are, broadly speaking, photographs of landscape, it's interesting that the photographer doesn't use that format much - focussing instead on the edges of buildings or placing some complex feature of the scene, like the creeping plant above, in the centre of the, vertically-orientated, frame. The images are all the more intense for it, and the partial views presented preserve the sense of movement or 'wandering' that I mentioned above, even when the subjects are static.

The photo above is definitely one of my favourites in the set  - the way this building is framed, and it's broad, brightly-coloured 'facing' is emphasized, really throws your attention onto the light effect of the low evening sun. It's a sensory image, in that you are made to identify with the building, leaning into the last of the day's light. I also love the way those fine cables and the filaments of the aerial are arranged in the top of the space - situating the building in space in really delicate fashion.

The expanse of warm rock above has some of the same effect as that beautiful yellow house - it can really be felt outside the frame, and, as a subject, is reclaimed from the stock, holiday-scenery background by it's scale and presence. Some of the images above also remind me, dare I say it, of John Gossage's interest in the boundaries between different kinds of space, not least the natural and manmade worlds.

Anyway, a big thankyou to Mr Harvey for allowing me to put these images on my blog and jot down some of my thoughts on them. I will leave readers with the image that best represents my feelings this week.. The holiday scene, so near yet so distant, obscured by the dark, obfuscatory foliage of the workaday week... Am I being suitably melodramatic? See you all on the other side, when I will return refreshed and hopefully less prone to the excessive prose..