Photographs I took at Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage back in 2014 were shown at ‘Bohemian Like Me’ LGBTQ art exhibition in Cambridge earlier this month. Read a review of the show on Varsity Mag. I lived in Cambridge between 2005 and 2011 and the queer cultural scene was not really visible, so it’s really cool that people organised this show, it got good reception, especially from young people who welcomed the visibility.
Documentary and Architectural Photography and Video
I have added to my website a section of documentary and architectural photography and video, separate from my ‘fine art photography’ projects. This section is not complete yet and each project contain only a few photographs so far. It contains 3 types of photographs:
1) Outtakes from my ‘Ghost House’and ‘Disciplinary Institutions’ projects, that show the buildings in a documentary way, but do not have enough aesthetic value to qualify as ‘art’. The difference may not be obvious for anyone but me, but in my main series, the focus is on the creative subjective viewpoint, whereas on those documentary outtakes, the focus is solely on representing the building and my creative input as a photographer is limited to just taking a clear photograph.
2) Photography of building of architectural and/or historical interest.
3) Documentary Photography of Raw Art environments.
In both these last cases, the places are interesting by themselves and the purpose of the photograph is solely to show their architectural features in a clear way, the focus is not on a subjective treatment of them.
I added these sections because, after reading Architectural Photography by Adrian Schulz, I thought that Architectural photography could be a promising way to start taking commercial contracts. I would like to develop this documentary/architectural section as a portfolio showcasing a commercial practice, as opposed to my fine art practice.
On September 5th, I will shoot photographs and a video inside Ketlle Yard’s House in Cambridge. This is a house that used to belong to art collectors and has been turned into a museum, but the artworks are displayed as though it was still a private art lover’s dwelling. I am interested in this space because of the unique way the former owners transformed a functional dwelling into a medium of self expression, as though they remodelled a physical space to be a projection of their inner world, filling it with art representative of their time and the interests of the bohemian social circle they were part of.
When this is done, I will display the photographs and video on my website. Something I would interesting in doing commercially would be to take photographs and videos for interior design companies and publications, and for cultural places and historical monuments, so I decided to try and find interesting buildings to train myself on as unpaid projects first.
Detroit – The Heidelberg Project
The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor Raw Art installation on Heidelberg Street, Detroit. It was started in 1986 by Tyree Guyton, raised as a boy on Heidelberg street, assisted by his grandfather, Sam (Grandpa) Mackey (deceased), and his former wife, Karen Guyton. Tyree started the project as a form of political protest against the deterioration of his neighborhood following the Detroit riots, and as a way to help the local community feel safe and proud of their street once more. Assisted by local children, Tyree started to paint abandoned houses and decorate them with found objects, to transform them into outdoor art installations.
The Heidelberg project faced destruction twice from the city of Detroit, in 1991 and 1999. Both times, a handful of decorated houses were destroyed. Today the Heidelberg Project is recognized as one of the most influential art environments in the world, and attracts tourists from all over the world who come to visit a street whose inhabitants were once scared to stroll in daylight. Its capacity to generate hope and a sense of community in decaying neighborhood is respected and it was one of 15 projects representing the United States at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale. Art workshops, talks and various activities are regularly organised on site.
I spent 2 hours walking the site, taking pictures and also shooting a video, which might turn too shaky because I had no tripod, limited time and freezing fingers!
The first 5 pictures are from Detroit Industrial Gallery, an artist studio/home that was later purchased and maintained by Detroit artist Tim Burke.
All the following pictures are the original artworks by Tyree, aided by the Heidelberg street residents.
‘Le Jardin aux Jouets’, Raw Art House in Gravelines, 59, France.
On my way to a David Lynch lithography exhibition last summer, I stumbled upon a Raw Art House in Gravelines, 59, France, and stopped to take pictures and videos. There was no sign and I could not talk to the owner, but I found out from the blog of Jean-Michel Chesné that this place is called ‘Le jardin aux Jouets’ (‘The toy Garden’) and the artist is Cyril Roussel, a retired slaughterhouse worker.
I have a long standing interest in Raw Art, especially in those artists that turn their whole house into their lifelong artwork. I feel this is the most literal illustration of how we reconstruct the outside world to match our inner world. What most people do secretly through secret imaginative play or repressed fantasies, Raw artists do it literally on a physical territory.
These photos are not ‘art’ because I’m merely documenting someone else’s art, however, I am interested in documenting what I call ‘Raw Houses’ (i.e. Raw Art shown in the artist’s house rather than in museums) as an ongoing documentary project.