Another approach to my landscape imagery – distortion

I think my earlier experiment with blocking aspects of photos didn’t work for several reasons. Firstly I used images additional to my original set this introduced new issues (countryside v urban for example) that I never intended to address and so they clouded the issue. Secondly, the images did not work for me at an aesthetic level – they just were not interesting enough. So I need to go back to working with the original set of images. So I have begun to experiment with distortion and symbolism rather than redaction or addition.

The first image is straight and our reference point. The second image is both monochrome and heavily distorted. The third photo is almost straight but hints at difference through a small area of distortion while the fourth and last photo uses a tiny symbol to evoke notions and disability within the image.

Straight and distorted

Spoiled and referenced

I have also played around with the idea of embedding and overlaying symbols

Obvious and subtle overlays

Thoughts: Do any of the above approaches work?
I can see a problem with the first image. My intention here was to show an image that reverses the usual norms of access by having a very large ramp for the masses and a “special” staircase on the left for others. But could that be connoted without anchoring text? Possibly. Of course I like the image for its spectacle as well, as the Tate Modern’s space is spectacular.

Similarly the last image with the tiny symbol included at the bottom right of the frame probably puzzles viewers.

The distorted/spoiled images seem to me to work in that they raise questions for the viewer about the vista and so I pursued these ideas a little. Indeed the images put me in mind of Sharon Boothroyd’s Salvage series of photos (link) and Sarah Robinson’s Wax and Metal Series (link). Damage to their images alters they meaning by evoking ideas about the nature of the subject matter. So in a similar way I have tried to invite viewers to question both the meaning of the subject matter and its presentation here but done so wholly digitally with no physicality in the evocation. This is a key difference.





I like the idea of the straight, but slightly distorted/spoiled image as it also references Goffman’s idea of the spoiled identity but now places the notion of spoiled in the physical environment rather than on me (1963[1]). But on reflection does it? The nature of the spoiling can easily be seen as a commentary on the image rather than the subject matter.

I think I will explore some other avenues but feel that I need to move on a little so will give myself one more approach and then try something else entirely so I keep energised and don’t get bogged down at such an early stage.

[1] E. Goffman. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Published by Simon and Schuster New York 1963


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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