Sunday, 9 May 2010

Guest: Carl Mole

While parts of the area in which photographer Carl Mole lives and works have been both run down both economically and through the media's less than favourable representations, Carl's photos consistently capture the strength and dignity of the area - my area - and its people:

Little wonder then that photographer Stuart Pilkington chose Carl to represent Cleveland in his national photography project What is England? which aims to discover the identity of England through the eyes of 50 regional photographers.

I asked Carl to give us an idea of influences which have shaped his ideas of what is worth capturing through his lens.

The Man-Altered Landscape

There are far too many photographers, and photographic styles to take inspiration from. Each new photobook I buy becomes a new source of inspiration, too many books and not enough shelves.

“The New Topographics:Photographs of a man-Altered Landscape” was a title of a 1975 American photography exhibition, this was a new aesthetic that reflected the landscape not as a pristine and romantic ideal as portrayed by Ansel Adams etc, but without sentimentality showing how man intervened and transformed the landscape. I suppose you could call this finding beauty in the mundane and banal.

Landscapes will include roads, cars, housing, industry and any aspect which shows the influence and trace of human activity.

Presidio, Texas 1975. Stephen Shore:
But, a lot of the work that I’ve been producing has had the underlying theme of the man-altered landscape in mind.

Some of the photographers included in the exhibition where Robert Adams, John Schott, Lewis Baltz and Stephen Shore (who is a great photographic hero of mine, check out the book American Surfaces).

Mobile Homes, Colorado 1973. Robert Adams

The idea of the New Topographics movement has always been in the back of my mind while exploring the area around where I live, since industry and the urban enviroment are a big part of the local area.

Some examples of the work I’ve produced using the New Topographics movement loosely in mind are:


Thank you Carl.

For more of Carl's work visit his website and his Flickr gallery .

I think that the points Carl raises about finding beauty in the mundane is an interesting one for any scrapbookers out there who are wondering what to photograph and how to best record their everyday lives as well as the grand momentous events of life.

To see how Kirsty and I have interpreted the categories from the What Is England? project check back in to see us later.


1 comment:

Clair said...

Oh my. That second photograph is just priceless. I love it so!

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