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Monday, 29 September 2008

Vanessa Winship











































Connected with the previous post, Vanessa Winship talks about her work with Simon Bainbridge in the latest copy of the BJP.

Working "off-radar", with no safety net of editorial or commercial work, she kept on producing work that produced no income of even a survival standard. "You survive on your desire to do what you are doing, and you find litle ways to do this and that. Before I left to work in the Balkans, I worked in Silverprint. Before doing that, I worked in a bar, and I worked in a cinema selling ice-cream. I don't mind doing that kind of work... It has a sort of purity about it in many ways."

It's a purity that comes across in her work, her portraits of schoolgirls typical of a modus operandi in which the artist theoretically absences herself from the image. "It was about making the whole process slower. I really wanted to creat a space, and when you arrive with a large format camera and a tripod it's a kind of event, it's a small piece of theatre. I could be very controlling in that way, but what actually happened in that space had nothing to do with me. And that was the real beauty."

I'm not sure I quite agree with that, the act of absencing yourself, of not being there, is an act in itself and elicits a response - a great response in Winship's case (or Soth's or Dijkstra's or..) But the images are beautiful and the Black Sea series she has on her website also a have an incredible, nostalgic beauty to them.

5 comments:

Stan B. said...

Dang!!!

colin pantall said...

Why Dang!!?

Stan B. said...

My bad- that's an "I'm utterly humbled at the images I'm witnessing" dang!

Nothing against color, love the stuff- but in an era dominated by it, always refreshing (and inspiring) to see the occasional glimpse of what has always made B&W great. Especially when delivered in such a potent one-two combination featuring such dramatic reportage and masterful large format portraiture.

colin pantall said...

Stan, I remember that response for George Georghiou's pictures. Well, Georghiou is Vanessa Winship's partner which makes for quite a double-act.

Stan B. said...

Well aint that a pip (and don't ask me what that is either)!

Actually, I average three or four of those reactions per year- and hope they just keep coming...