Jem Southam Talk

Guest Speaker series: 08/02/17

You don’t reach a point where you know what you’re doing, you’re constantly learning and discovering.
His work has a sense of story-making, but with a story where do you start?
We all tell stories.
He worked with analogue, describing it as a beautiful medium, and a unique experience when making work.
Work was made of rockfalls that are truly sculptures, as Southam describes them and they are photographs of a specific time in the history of geology: everything we see is a part of a transformation. Southam talks about the wonder of what it means to be a human. We exist under the same processes and forces that cause the rocks to fall. So although this is spectacular, we are also so competitive. There is a sense of fread that it is horrific to be a human. How do we navigate the world between the awe and the wonder and the dread?

The Switch To Digital:
Southam felt no longer able to create the same prints he had been making since taking up the medium due to a change in the paper by Fuji. The change to digital sees a 10x8 image replaced by something that seems much more panoramic and sweeping. This new approach has allowed him to capture more spirit in a photograph and he feels more in touch when capturing his surroundings (as not covered by a hood). 
Decided to photograph a Pastoral project (Pastoral being used in Greek and Roman culture, a romanticised and sentimental viewpoint on the countryside from those living a city dwelling life), the project is about walking and the weather. Southam makes reference in this project to The National Trusts book about weather, Gilbert White’s Journals and Adam Gopnik’s book ‘Winter’.

‘A Bend in The River’
Waiting for moments to happen where particular elements collide. Going to a place when you’ve been told some bad news. A chance to think about what has happened. A space to think away form the situation. Interesting how as people in such circumstances we seek nature as a place to think. Southam is now taking 50–100 photographs each time. However Southam is now facing post-production issues using Photoshop and Lightroom with consistencies of light and colour not being continuous.

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