Assignment 4 – Preliminary research

Assignment 4 asks to look at some of the ways in which artists have integrated photography into their practice, makes six suggestions at possible options in this respect and invites to choose one and write a short essay on the relationship between the artworks, their artistic message and the use of photography within the art process, with particular regard to the main themes of time and place. Having done a preliminary research online, I shall be focusing my essay on David Hockney‘s photocollages such as Pearl Blossom Highway 2 (1986) and My Mother, Bolton Abbey (1982).

Suggested topics (Creative Arts Today, page 177)
  • Photography combined with text to produce combined narratives, such as those by Duane Michals (1932),  an American photographer who is known for using sequences of photographs that often incorporate texts, as in his book Sequences (1970) in which text was handwritten beside the images to enrich and integrate photographic information (Wikipedia, Duane Michals)

I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody’s face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways.

—Duane Michals (

The sequences make use of a cinematic frame-by-frame format. The texts do not so much explain what we see in the photographs, as they add ‘another dimension to the images’ meaning and give voice to Michals’s singular musings, which are poetic, tragic, and humorous, often all at once.’ (DCMoore Gallery)


  • Accumulating photographs together as a way of producing a hybrid between film and still. La Jetée, a 1962 French science fiction short film by Chris Marker, is constructed almost entirely from still photographs and tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel. The 1995 science-fiction film 12 Monkeys was inspired by and borrows several concepts directly from La Jetée.


A prisoner in the aftermath of World War III in post-apocalyptic Paris is obsessed by a memory from his pre-war childhood of a woman he had seen on the observation platform (“the jetty”) at Orly airport, hence the title. (Wikipedia, La Jetée)


  • Andy Warhol‘s screen prints generated from photographs

The screenprinting process – an evolution from simple stenciling – and how it was successfully and efficiently used by Andy Warhol to make serial art is well explained on this page by


This act of undermining any translation or evidence of the artist’s hand in favor of a mass-produced, machine-like look appealed to Warhol. Once he discovered the process and implications of working with silk screens, the content of Warhol’s output as a painter became inextricably linked to the process by which he created his art. (Sotheby, 2013).


  • Andy Goldsworthy‘s ephemeral sculptures which had been already briefly touched upon in Project 2.

Andy Goldsworthy (1956) is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings. He lives and works in Scotland. (Wikipedia, Andy Godsworthy)

He keeps an artist website: and within it a section dedicated to his photography: in which he explains why and how he uses photographs.

Here is a video about Goldsworthy’s work:

There are several books on Goldsworthy’s work, one of the latest is: Andy Goldsworthy – Ephemeral Works 2004-2014, Abrams, New York

Book cover by Abrams, New York

  • The political collages of Peter Kennard, for example Santa’s Ghetto (2006), Union Mask (1981), Haywain with Cruise Missiles (1980).


‘That sense of ripping into an image, unveiling a surface, going through that surface into an unrevealed truth, is at the core of photomontage …The photojournalist goes out and takes the pictures; I sit in a room with the tools of my trade and try to pummel these pictures into revealing invisible connections, disconnecting them from direct representation into statement and argument … The point of my work is to use easily recognisable iconic images, but to render them unacceptable … After breaking them, to show new possibilities emerging in the cracks and splintered fragments of the old reality.’

from Peter Kennard’s website


With a career spanning almost 50 years, Peter Kennard is without doubt Britain’s most important political artist and its leading practitioner of photomontage. His adoption of the medium in the late 1960s restored an association with radical politics, and drew inspiration from the anti-Nazi montages of John Heartfield in the 1930s.

Kerley, 2015








  • On Duane Michals:

Wikipedia(2016). ‘Article Duane Michals’ [online] At: (Accessed 5/06/2017) (2015) ‘Book Review/Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals’ [online] At: (Accessed 5/06/2017) (2016), ‘Duane Michals – Artists – DC Moore Gallery’ [online] At: (Accessed 5/06/2017)


  •  On La Jetée by Chris Marker:

Wikipedia (2016). Article La Jetée. [online] At: (Accessed 5/06/2017)

Vimeo (2016) (Accessed 5/06/2017)

Chris (2016). ‘Chris Marker – Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory.’ [online] At: (Accessed 5/06/2017)


  • On Andy Warhol‘s screen prints:

http://www.revolverwarholgallery (2016) ‘Andy Warhol Screenprints – The process and History’ [online] At: (Accessed 5/06/2017)

Youtube (2011) At: (Accessed 5/06/2017) (2013) ‘Andy Warhol and His Process’ [online] At: (Accessed 5/06/2017)


  • On Andy Goldsworthy‘s ephemeral sculptures:

Wikipedia (2017) article on Andy Goldsworthy [online] At: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Andy Goldsworthy’s website: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Youtube (2015) Video on Andy Goldsworthy by xstuporman [online] At: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Abrams, New York: (Accessed 19/05/2017)


  • On Peter Kennard‘s political collages:

Peter Kennard’s website at: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Slocombe, R. (2015) ‘Protest and survive: why Peter Kennard is political dynamite’ In 1.05.2015 [online] At: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Kerley, P. (2015) ‘Peter Kennard: A very unofficial war artist’ In: BBC News Magazine 14.05.2015 [online] At: (Accessed 19/05/2017)





Research point: Mitch Epstein and Fay Godwin

The New Topographics exhibition of 1975, and particularly the work of Robert Adams, has influenced ‘many other photographers who have campaigned around environmental issues’ (Creative Arts Today, page 173), and OCA suggests to investigate two projects in this area:

Mitch Epstein’s American Power (2003 onwards)
Poca High School and Amos Coal Power Plant, West Virginia 2004

Mitch Epstein, Poca High School and Amos Coal Power Plant, West Virginia 2004, from

‘American Power examines how energy is produced and used in the American landscape, and how energy influences American lives. Made on forays to production sites and their environs, these pictures question the power of nature, government, corporations, and mass consumption—as well as the power of looking—in the United States.’ (Mitch Epstein website)

The artist’s website documents his work and publications so far, and includes an exhaustive list of links to reviews and essays.

In that section I found an interview with him by William Carroll published in Places Journal, December 2013 and focusing on the theatrical performance based on American Power. After being born in 2003 as a photographic project,  American Power has since taken many forms: exhibitions, books, billboards, a website, and also this theatrical performance. The image below, as the caption says, is from the stage production of the project made in cooperation with musician and composer Erik Friedlander and the interview was registered the week after the 2013 performance.

American Power, performance by Mitch Epstein and Erik Friedlander, 2013, William and Nadine McGuire Theater at the Walker Art Center. [Photo by Greg Beckel, © Walker Art]

I find Epstein’s way of working with series of photographs within the frame of a strong and ambitious project really engaging. As he explains in his website he concentrated first on the production of energy in the United States and its impact on landscape and people’s lives and then extended his analysis to other forms of power – not only to produce energy, but to the other ways in which the political, corporate and mass consumption powers can exert influence on society at large.

I think that the juxtaposition of industrial sites and daily life is forcefully compelling: together they make such an interesting story, much more so than separately. I read that Epstein is very critic of how power in its various forms negatively affects American lives, but curiously his photographs, with its pleasant colours and domestic surroundings, convey to me the feeling that life is not all that bad also in a problematic environment, that people have their personal ways to cope with changes and keep on with their daily activities in all conditions with natural resilience.

My only objection is that the project about power is so vast that it becomes almost undefined at the end and can include practically everything, but plausibly the artist’s intention was exactly to engage in an open-ended project to show how the network of power really extends to all aspects of our lives.

Fay Godwin’s Our Forbidden Land (1990)

Fay Godwin, image from The Forbidden Land, at: https://paulwalshphotographyblog.wordpress/2013/06/27/forbidden-land/

Fay Godwin’s work The Forbidden Land was also born as a project having political and social meaning. Like the title implies, her photographs were polemically concerned with the destruction of English countryside and the requisition of it by the authorities and the private owners, with more and more land subtracted from the public. So it fundamentally questions the ownership of the land and the right to it for the common citizens. The book includes 120 black and white photographs and accompanying texts by Fay Godwin.

I have looked at her images online which are not only important but also deeply beautiful and moving: they are empty of people and there is in them a feeling of solitude and desolation, a nostalgia for a disappearing countryside and with it for a way of life that is getting lost. I think that there is nothing sentimental in her photographs, and little hope too, but at the same time there is in them also a profound love and deeply felt sensitivity for nature. I read that she was a strong advocate of organic food and of the environment and that she campaigned against the fencing off of land and its preservation.


Mitch Epstein’s website: (Accessed 25/05/2017)

American Power: Live (2013) In: December 2013 [online] At: (Accessed 25/05/2017)

Fay Godwin’s website: (Accessed 30/05/2017)

Drabble, M. (2011) ‘Fay Godwin at the National Media Museum’ In: 8/01/2011 At: (Accessed 30/05/2017)

Clark, D. (2010) ‘Fay Godwin 1931-2005 – Iconic Photographer’ In: 9/11/2010 At: (Accessed 30/05/2017)

Images of the ‘beautiful’

A 1975 exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape in Rochester, New York, had ten photographers exhibiting ‘work that showed the effect that man has had on the landscape (Creative Arts Today, page 173).

Eight out of ten photographers selected for this show ‘that epitomized a key moment in American landscape photography’ were Americans (Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, Nicholas Nixon, John Schott, Stephen Shore, and Henry Wessel, Jr.), the other two were a couple, Bernd and Hilla Becher from Germany. (Wikipedia/New Topographics)

‘The show consisted of 168 rigorously formal, black-and-white prints of streets, warehouses, city centres, industrial sites and suburban houses. Taken collectively, they seemed to posit an aesthetic of the banal.’ (O’Hagan, 2010)

‘Looking back, one can see how these images of the “man-altered landscape” carried a political message and reflected, unconsciously or otherwise, the growing unease about how the natural landscape was being eroded by industrial development and the spread of cities.’ (O’Hagan, 2010)

Lewis Baltz, Park City, image by the ASX Team (2012)


The photograph above is taken from an essay (2012) about that seminal exhibition, consulted online from (The AXS Team, 2012), showing also several images from it.

‘The exhibition’s title was clearly a nod to nineteenth-century topographic photography under the initial exploratory auspices of the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as an acknowledgment of the alteration of that terrain during the century intervening—an acknowledgement missing from mid-century photographs by Ansel Adams … while New Topographic photographs appear to be of western landscapes, trees, deserts, houses, roads, and construction, they are nonetheless about the aesthetic discourse of landscape photography, and about “a man-made wilderness” (Ratliff, 1976, p.86): that is, they are about the American myths of the West, suburban expansion, the American dream, and the exploitation and destruction of natural resources.’ (The AXS Team, 2012)

This is only a short quote from the essay that is an important contribution to the vast field of landscape photography. I made a print-out of it for further study.

On similar issues seen from a British perspective Creative Arts Today mentions Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts’ book Edgelands: Journeys into England’s True Wilderness (2011). I have no access to the book at the moment but I read a review online from The Guardian to get a general idea of what it is about.




Wikipedia article, New Topographics: (Accessed 24/05/2017)

O’Hagan, S. (2010) ‘New Topographics: photographs that find beauty in the banal’ In 8/02/2010 [online] At: (Accessed 24/05/2017)

The ASX Team (2012) ‘New Topographics: Landscape and the West – Irony and Critique in New Topographic Photography (2005) In: 14/05/2012 [online] At: (Accessed 25/05/2017)

Macfarlane, R. (2011) ‘Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts – review’ In: 19/02/2011 [online] At: (Accessed 25/05/2017)

Introduction to Project 3: A sense of place

Exploring the ground ahead with Creative Arts Today (pages 167-170)

Landscape photography is a whole area to itself, to explore it further CAT suggests reading Malcolm Andrews (1999) Landscape and Western Art, Oxford: OUP for a good introduction.

Basic Question: How do photographs convey a sense of place?

It’s necessary to consider space, placement and depth in images, by means of juxtaposition and perspective.

A sense of depth can be created by placing smaller objects near to the camera and larger objects further away.

Ian Berry 1974

England. Whitby. A sunny Sunday afternoon brings tourists and…, from (Accessed 23/05/2017)
I think that without people in the foreground this image would look flat and uninteresting.
I’m trying now a simple experiment with two objects – a big bottle and a small cup – placed in front of my Iphone to see what happens inverting their placement

It seems to me that the placement of the bottle near the camera stops the eye from moving behind it (left), while advancing the cup to the foreground helps moving the eye forward.

Scale in photographs relies on placing familiar subjects within the frame, by way of comparison: I know how tall people roughly are, so I judge the rest of the image from them.

I am now having a good look at ‘Cathedral’, Box Freestone Quarry, Wiltshire by Jesse Alexander (, accessed 23/05/2017).

The absence of familiar subjects in the image makes it difficult to evaluate distances and sizes of what I am seeing.

In photographs the three-dimensional world is reduced to two dimensions, but we assume that the arrangement of objects and their orientation in the spaces correspond to the view we have in front of us. ‘This ‘realism’ comes into question when wide-angle or telephoto lenses are used to give, respectively, either a much wider field of view than our own eyesight, or a far narrower one.’ (page 169)

Will Crites-Krumm at: (Accessed 23/05/2017) explains in simple words (that I understand) what happens when we use a wide-angle and a telephoto lens respectively.

‘This is the most basic difference between the two lens types: wide lenses give you a wide view, telephoto lenses give you a narrow view. And while landscapes look great in their entirety, it’s a good habit to take a moment and look for details. There are beautiful elements of the landscape that might get shrunken, or ignored in the expanse of a wide-angle image. This is where your telephoto lens comes in. Its narrow field of view is perfect for trimming off the extra elements, and focusing right on small, beautiful scenes like the curve of a mountain, a reflection in a far-off pond, or the silhouette of a tree.


‘In the two images above, you can see this in action. They were both taken from Olmstead point in Yosemite National Park, one with a wide angle lens and the other with a telephoto. In the first image, the wide angle shows off the total landscape. It includes both sides of the valley, the up-close textures of the rocks and the far off peak of Half Dome. In the second image, the telephoto lens brings the eye right up to the mountains, showing off their shapes and the details of the geology.’


Still quoting from Digital Photography School:

‘Here’s an easy way to summarize it with a simple idea:

Wide angle lenses show off space, telephotos show off objects.

The wide angle lens’s big field of view, ease of uniform focus, and depth-distorting abilities, are great at showing off big, expansive landscapes. However, they take focus away from individual elements within the landscape in favor of showing the whole. Telephoto lenses are naturally the opposite: they’re great at showing off the size, shape, and intricacy, of detail of individual elements within the landscape. But their narrow field of view, small depth of field, and depth-compressing qualities make it hard to capture the landscape as a whole.’

But as CAT explains (page 169, the bold characters are mine), there is more to it than it seems, since ‘in addition to the realism of the two versions offered by wide-angle and telephoto lenses, they can have a profound impact upon what the image communicates.’

‘The telephoto image crops into a scene and so excluded the viewer from information that was available to the photographer … the telephoto lens can lead to quite ‘immersive’ imagery, i.e. the scene is crammed into the frame and the viewer ‘homes in’ on a particular part of the view. In that sense, the telephoto view epitomises the subjectivity of the photographer’s gaze. The wide-angle view, on the other hand, offers a more ‘naturalistic’ viewing experience. It shows the ‘depth’ of the scene.’ (page 169)

Artists producing ephemeral artworks documented by photographs

Creative Arts Today (page 166) introduces me to other two artists whose work is concerned in different ways with landscape and photography.

Aleksandra Mir: First Woman on the Moon (1999)

Creative Arts Today sees this work as a critique of large earthworks projects

The primary source for information on this Swedish-American artist is her own website which documents at length her projects: (Accessed 22/05/2017)

A section of her website retells in compelling way the story of First Woman on the Moon (2009), how the event-installation was born and developed, and what it has become of it in the following years. It shows the original video, several photographs and texts:

As Mir told an in interview, the meanings and interpretations of that project are open-ended:

The work is open-ended. I received both congratulatory telegrams from Australian gender studies departments, as well as hate mail from American feminists who opposed my conflation of gender issues with imperialism (The use of the American flag in Holland). I also received severe protests from the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, contesting NASA’s monopoly on space travel, and saying that my work was showing the mere impotence of regular people’s capacity for space travel, as I wasn’t really intending to ‘go anywhere’ but muck around in the sands. I get all sorts of readings and that is my point, keeping the ball in the air. If the work can serve you in any way and you can kick the ball further, it is relevant. (Accademia del Giglio, 2009)

‘The project’s scale recalls the monumental ambitions of 1960s Land Art, though the emphasis here is on the involvement of the local community and the media.

First Woman on the Moon looks back at the space race as a chauvinist power play, showing how the meaning of any event can be manipulated through media representation. The video mixes knowingly ‘cheap’ footage of the event with clips aired by Dutch TV stations, and the soundtrack features original NASA communications and excerpts from Kennedy’s 1961 speech. Mir also sent the video to figures such as astronaut Neil Armstrong and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, whose replies are reproduced here.

My work is often described as ‘feminist’’ Mir has said, ‘but … the content of my projects almost always pulls in the opposite direction, showing frailty, vulnerability and pathetic incompetence towards the status quo … I guess ambivalence is always part of a good artwork.’ (The Tate, What’s on)



Keith Arnatt (1930-2008): Self-burial (Television Interference Project) (1969)

On a much smaller scale than land art already considered, this work is made up by a sequence of nine black and white stills, showing the artist slowly disappearing into the ground. (Creative Arts Today, page 166)

Self-Burial, 1969

At: (Accessed 22/05/2017)

‘This sequence of photographs was broadcast on German television in October 1969. One photo was shown each day, for about two seconds, sometimes interrupting whatever programme was being shown at peak viewing time. They were neither announced nor explained – viewers had to make what sense of them they could.’ (The Tate, Art and Artists)



Alexandra Mir’s website: (Accessed 22/05/2017)

Accademia del Giglio (2009) ‘Venice Biennale 2009: interview with Aleksandra Mir’ In: 28/05/2009 [online] At: (Accessed 22/05/2017)

The Tate: (Accessed 22/05/2017)

Keith Arnatt’s website: (Accessed 22/05/2017)

The Tate: (Accessed 22/05/2017)


Research point 3: Clarrie Wallis speaking about Richard Long

Tate Britain held in 2009 the exhibition Richard Long: Heaven and Earth, and in coincidence with that show the curator Clarrie Wallis had a talk about the practice of walking and its creative, meditative and philosophical value, besides its physical and psychological benefits.

At: (Accessed 21/05/2017)

The exhibition offered an opportunity to understand the relationship between art and landscape according to the artist’s vision. His work is born from the practice of making solitary walks through rural areas both in Britain and in remote parts of the world as in the plains of Canada, Mongolia and Bolivia.

‘Long never makes significant alterations to the landscapes he passes through. Instead he marks the ground or adjusts the natural features of a place by upending stones for example, or making simple traces. He usually works in the landscape but sometimes uses natural materials in the gallery. His work explores relationships between time, distance, geography, measurement and movement.’ (Heaven and Earth, 2009)

With more than 80 works, Heaven and Earth included sculptures, large-scale mud wall works, and new photographic and text works documenting his walks together with artists’ books, postcards and other printed matter.

The Telegraph published a review of the exhibition by Richard Dorment (2009) which underlined how sensitively Long worked with the land, showing humility, respect for nature and lightness of touch (Dorment, 2009).

‘In A Line Made by Walking we can see exactly how the path was made, approximate the time it took to make it, and guess how long it will remain visible before it is obliterated by the elements. And yet it is also mysterious. It looks as though it appeared out of nowhere, with no footprints leading up to it or away from it, at once a sign of the artist’s presence and of his absence.’ (Dorment, 2009)

Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking (1967)

At: (Accessed 21/05/2017)

More information on Richard Long and his work can be obtained from his website.



Video for Heath and Heaven exhibition: (Accessed 21/05/2017)

Richard Long: Heaven and Earth (2009) At: [online] (Accessed 21/05/2017)

Dorment, R. (2009) ‘Richard Long: Heaven and Earth at Tate Britain , review’ In: 1.06.2009 [online]  At: (Accessed 21.05.2017)

Richard Long’s website: (Accessed 21.05.2017)




Photography and land art

Earth Art or Land Art (from the Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms, 2016, page 159-60))

‘It can be seen as a part of the wider Conceptual art movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Land artists began working directly in the landscape, sculpting into earthworks or making structures with rocks or twigs. Some of them used mechanical earth-moving equipment, but Richard Long simply walked up and down until he had made a mark in the earth. Land art was usually documented in artworks using photographs and maps that the artist could exhibit in a gallery. Land artists also made artworks in the gallery by bringing in material from the landscape and using it to create installations.’

Famous land artists are: Robert Smithson (Spiral Jetty, 1970), Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer and Dennis Oppenheim.

As Creative Arts Today notes (page 164), photography has a special relationship with transient art forms, such as land art or performance art. In land art, the landscape itself becomes the artwork, and since many of these art forms are remote and ephemeral photographs and films are the only way they can survive and be seen also after their disappearance.


Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970)

Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture constructed in April 1970 that is considered to be the central work of American sculptor Robert Smithson. Smithson documented the construction of the sculpture in a 32-minute color film also titled Spiral Jetty.

Built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud, salt crystals, and basalt rocks, Spiral Jetty forms a 1,500-foot-long (460 m), 15-foot-wide (4.6 m) counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake. (Wikipedia)



At: (Accessed 19/05/2017)


Hamish Fulton

‘Hamish Fulton (born 1946) is a British walking artist. Since 1972 he has only made works based on the experience of walks. He translates his walks into a variety of media, including photography, illustrations, and wall texts. Since 1994 he has begun practicing group walks. Fulton argues that ‘walking is an artform in its own right’ and argues for wider acknowledgement of walking art. Hamish Fulton is represented in London by Maureen Paley.'(Wikipedia)

In 2002 The Tate had an exhibition about his work: ‘Hamish Fulton: Walking Journey’, consisting of texts and photographs as documents.

The Cornwall Workshop, a weeklong intensive residential workshop for artists, curators and writers, organized in 2006 communal walks in Penzance led by Hamish Fulton of which photographs and videos were taken:


Penzance communal walk (2006)

Penzance communal walk (2006)


On him also an article in The Guardian (2012).


Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy (1956) is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings. He lives and works in Scotland. (Wikipedia)

He keeps an artist website: and within it a section dedicated to his photography: in which he explains why and how he uses photographs.

Here is a video about Goldsworthy’s work:


There are several books on Goldsworthy’s work, one of the latest is: Andy Goldsworthy – Ephemeral Works 2004-2014, Abrams, New York

Book cover by Abrams, New York




Wilson, S. and Lack, J. (2008) The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms. London: Thames and Hudson

Wikipedia article on Spiral Jetty (1970): (accessed 19/05/2017)

Vázquez-Concepción, A. R. (2013)  ‘The Spiral Jetty, 1970, by Robert Smithson’ At: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Maureen Pauly Art Gallery, London: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Wikipedia article on Jamish Fulton: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

The Cornwall Workshop: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Cumming, L. (2012) ‘Hamish Fulton: Walk; Turner and the Elements – review’ In: 29.01.2012 [online] At: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Wikipedia article on Andy Goldsworthy: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Andy Goldsworthy’s website: (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Video on Andy Goldsworthy by xstuporman (2015) : (Accessed 19/05/2017)

Abrams, New York: (Accessed 19/05/2017)