I recently got my hands on a copy of Murphy’s book, The Republic, a lyrical photographic depiction of his home, the rapidly changing Ireland. What immediately stood out for me is the lack of any contextualising information. While there is a short quote by James Joyce to introduce the images there are no captions to accompany them and an all too short (in my opinion) afterword by Murphy.
So what does this mean? Everything and nothing. It is a powerful and fascinating depiction of an old, conservative country becoming a young, liberal country. It is full of humour and life. It is a very accomplished collection of images. I just wonder if it gets as under the skin of Ireland as it could if it had explanatory captions? Read More
Event oriented documentary photography and photography of the land and cityscapes represent two major genres of photography in South Africa, with the latter growing in significance since South Africa achieved democracy in 1994. One of the early torchbearers of landscape and cityscape photography has been David Goldblatt, and in his seminal book, ‘The Structure of Things Then’, he clearly illustrates the link between society, history and the landscape as he recorded events of great trauma and marginalization (Goldblatt, 1998). These themes have since proven popular within South African photography.
In this paper, after placing some notable South African photographers within the context of international landscape photography, I will analyse images created by these photographers to establish the techniques they use to explore these themes, and to assess the potential values of photography of trauma and the landscape. Read More