Stan Douglas - Pembury Estate

Mare Street, 2017 (Detail)

Mare Street, 2017 (Detail)

I was first attracted to this series in the recent addition of Source magazine not for the aesthetic value of the images in my opinion but for that fact that I was in East London at the other end of Mare street when the riots took place. For this reason I had a sense of almost combined ownership not of the image but of the moment being documented in the image. 

On first looking at this series of images I assumed  that they were probably either images from a high rise building or they were taken using a drone. However, they are actually digitally constructed images using news footage stills licensed from Sky News along with 3d rendering using reference shots from Google Streetview. 


For me this almost put me off the images in some ways. I feel documentary photography needs to be the real. Especially Documentary photography. Douglas when asked about his classification if this work said

"The London work feels much more like documentary, I'm using real material from that moment" 

For me digital reconstructions of an event, especially something so poignant in my memory of living in London is not documentary. That being said after spending a bit of time with the images and learning about Douglas' other work using either digital or physical (set build) reconstruction I am starting to warm to the images on their aesthetic feel. I find it interesting that I can peer around the images and recognise places I have stood smoking outside the pub on the corner, or where I walked on my way to my first studio assistants job..... More thoughts to follow.