It's coming to the end of year shows at British universities so it's soon time for me to go into full Documentary Photography mode - that's the course I teach on at the University of South Wales. It's a great course which has had huge success this year.
But before going into showing the work of the third year students, I thought I would show the work of Lowena Poole. Sometimes people ask me what is documentary photography (with the idea it's something to do with black and white and that's it) and I will claim anything that is good as documentary - as long as it tells a story well using pictures, words, sound, light, dimensions, touch, whatever. I'm very open-minded about it.
So I was thinking about all that the other day, as well as thinking about what we would have for our sunday lunch. Would it be chicken, or beef, or pork? And then Lowena's pictures popped up and spoiled everything for me. In the UK there's something called Billy Bear Face - it's meat made to look like sliced bear face - well there's a picture of it. It was probably one of the best things invented to stop people eating meat. And then Lowena came along. And meat's off the menu! Damn!
The project is called Farm Fresh and it's about the meat industry, and the toxic industrialised complex of the processed products it churns out. The models are made out of these products and photographed against idealised farming backdrops. It's Stubbs for the modern age.
But is it documentary photography? Of course it is.
This is what Billy Bear Face looks like - it doesn't even look like a bear. I don't think it's part of a Mediterranean diet.