Landscape A5 Self Directed Project
Rachel Barret started documenting the news stands in Manhatten in 2006 little did she know that they would all disapear due to a licensing problem
From his web site:
Fabrice Fouillet lives in Paris and works in France and abroad. After university education (Sociology and Ethnology), he studied Photography at The Gobelins School in Paris. Since 2004, he has been collaborating with advertising agencies and magazines in the areas of Architecture ans Still Life. His personal research aims to explore the notion of identity and the close relationship of men with their environment. He participated in group exhibitions and international photography festivals. In 2013, his series on new places of worship, “Corpus Christi”, won the Sony Awards in the category « Architecture ».
Fabrice Fouillet has created several what his website calls series, these fall into the category of typology and are exciting examples of the genera
In this series Fouillet sets out to document modern church design, his images are carefully constructed to place the alter straight on and at the bottom of the image to symbolise the link between God and the church. He has taken all of the pictures so that the height of the church dwarfs the alter which also seems symbolic of the power of God. These images remind me of the David Power book Mass that I bought and read in my first module where Power had taken pictures of the mass in churches in Poland and accompanied each with a picture of the offertory slot.
Each of Fouillet’s images is different, but all of them seem similar in the way that the best typologies do.
On a trip to Keiv to photograph a monument Fouillet was drawn to the barricades that had been set up, he arrived on the day after the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych in the Ukrainian revolution of 2014.
This series demonstrated to me that it is possible to use all sorts of landscape features to create a typography. These hastily made walls may look like piles of rubbish, but they define the nature of the conflict that has just occurred and as features of the landscape even though temporary they also define the political landscape of that moment as the Ukrainians fought to get a treaty signed with Europe to the displeasure of the Russians.
Fouillet was intrigued by man’s need to build colossal statues to preserve the memory of an event, a person or a piece of culture.
He admits that while the hugeness of these structures is appealing the thing that intrigued him was the human need to build them. This lead him to the idea of how the landscape could accommodate these edifices.
This piece of work fascinates me as Fouillet is exploring the landscape and how it accommodates such massive structures, this is similar reasoning to my thinking about the effect of fast food outlets on our landscape.
As I am looking at Fouillets work he is starting to resonate with me as many similar threads drive his work to the reasoning behind my assignment which hopefully lends legitimacy to my thinking on assignment 5
This work shot in Hong Kong was conceived because of the shortage of space available to the architects. It is a dense city where the only option was to start building up since there is a high demand for habitation it has led to some very packed architecture where all the homes malls parking lots etc. are all crammed together.
This work again looks at the effect of human development on the landscape and adds more fuel to the debate over my A5 assignment.
Eurasism is a study of the new capital city of Kazakhstan. The city of Astana is a symbol of the fresh start the country has after the decline of the Soviet Union. The old capital Almaty has now lost its status as a capital.
This series while powerful does not work so well for me looking at influences for my assignment, it is more of a documentary style of work and is not a typology. It is, however, useful to look at this work when considering my own as this shows me how my series could not work together if the subjects are too diverse and do not appear to have a strong connection with each other.
The thing I have learned from looking at the work of Fouillet and especially this series is that a typology must have a visual similarity that connects all of the images like the water towers, but each image must also have elements that separate it from the others in the series. For instance each of the water towers in the Becher’s work is a different shape they are all obviously water towers, and they share a similar configuration. The frame house series by the Becher’s highlights my point more acutely as each one looks like a repeat of the others and it is only by close examination that it becomes apparent that each house has a slightly different configuration of beams I always have liked this image as it highlights the practice of typology.
If I want my series to be successful I need to shoot different restaurants but they need to hang together as obviously from the same family or type so that the viewer associates them together.
Twentysix Gasoline Stations
Edward Ruscha was born in Nebraska in 1937. He was a commercial artist trained at the Chouinard Art Institute. He worked as a graphic artist in an advertising agency.
Twentysix Gasoline Stations documents the landscape between Los Angeles and Oklahoma along Route 66 by capturing Twentysix Gasoline stations and presenting them as a book. The book is rather rare now and costs between £477 and £3200 needless to say I have not purchased a copy, however, you can view the entire book online on the Tate website:
Edward Ruscha’s work is a typology of Gas stations along Route 66 it is a similar concept to my idea for assignment 5. His work on Gas stations got me thinking about all the different types of buildings in this country and trying to link them by type. I thought about office blocks and tower blocks etc, the concept of commercial premises like the Gas stations seems like a good idea. This leads me neatly to the Fast food restaurants and linking it as described previously to the slow Americanisation of our landscape.
The change to an American strip mall design mentality is in keeping with modern pop culture and a desire for all things American that can be seen all over the world from the Chinese appetite for Blue Jeans to the Russian craving for American Hamburgers. However, it flys in the face of the idea of all things quintessentially English like tea on the lawn, long walks in the countryside, the hedgerow, and rolling hills and dales. It seems that the onset of fast food is changing more than our diet and unhealthy lifestyle it is also fundamentally terraforming England into New Pennsylvania.
Bernd and Hilla Becher
I suppose the water towers by Bernd and Hilla Becher is one of the most Iconic Typologies and is probably the image that comes to mind when discussing Typology as a photographic practice, I have written previously about this topic in almost all of my previous modules it is one of those topics that keeps surfacing and I have to admit to a certain facination for it.
Landscape is another genera of photography that can make use of the principles of typology to create a body of work, it therefore seems that it would be an appropriate way for me to conclude this module by creating a typology based on the practice of landscape photography. To that end I am looking at expanding the idea of the strip mall and the drive thru resturant as a subject for A5
The Strip Mall
I was looking for a better subject for my landscape typology. I was doing the usual brainstorm for ideas thinking of everything that is similar but different and would make a good subject for my typology.
I thought about architecture and was scouting around looking for similar building types like tall office blocks flats similar housing types and nothing was sticking.
I thought about our local McDonalds drive through that has just been built, and that got me thinking. There has been a massive increase in the number of these establishments. Lately, they seem to keep building new ones on top of each other, the Mcdonalds at the end of North Lane has just been built right next door to the brand new KFC.
The following table from the article shows the state of play in 1985
The following link is to a guardian article showing the state of play in October 2017 it states that there are 56,638 fast food shops in England
The heat map supplied by the Guardian for 2017 shows the following statistics about Rushmoor where I live:
In Rushmoor, there are 1.14 takeaways per 1,000 residents.
That’s slightly more than in the average local authority. There’s a total of 107 takeaways in the area.
The number of takeaways in the area has increased by 10% within the last three years.
With all this competition the players have to work harder to beat their rivals none of this is good for our countryside as we are washed away in a sea of takeaway strip malls. The latest twist is that all of these drive thru’s now having to sell their food via online services like JustEat and Deliveroo as the wave of popular demand is looking not even to leave their own homes to get their take away.
I had several ideas for my final assignment I thought about looking at traditional landscape photography fro the view of someone who is not as able-bodied as the typical hiking landscape photographer. I considered the possibility of hiring a mobility scooter and testing out the viability of getting to some of the places a respectable landscape photographer would want to shoot.
If I am honest, there was not the time for this, and I have a very tight timeline to finish this module and needed a topic that would work for me accessibly and allow me to work hard on producing the best result.
Typology – Cell Phone Towers
I have always been interested in typology since I started my degree, so I thought that a typological study might be the way to go for this assignment. I found a lot of information and some handy sites for locating cell phone towers.
I pitched the idea to Russell my tutor and got a lukewarm response. He was worried about the shape of the towers and their ability to fill the frame and still work like the Beechers water towers. Russell did have the idea that I could take a more landscape image that showed the towers as a part of a landscape, but it would be a tough assignment.
Research into cell phone towers near me revealed that this was going to be one of the singularly most boring set of images I have ever produced. Almost all of the towers nearby are now straight posts that look like lampposts with the interesting bit on the top removed.
This discovery has taken me back to square one needing a new idea.