Week 3: Constructed Realities

When asked to think about Photographers who use multiple interpretations of the world and/or constructed approaches to photography the first I think of is Andreas Gursky. 

"Andreas is interested in Photography as a way of understanding how the world fits together".
Rhine II, 1999 © Andreas Gursky -  https://bit.ly/2pBrOh5

Rhine II, 1999 © Andreas Gursky - https://bit.ly/2pBrOh5

Mixing real world references along with those of fiction to comment on " The epic sights that global capitalism has produced." Gursky's images have an almost painterly feel to them. In the image above Rhine, 1999 for example, Gursky has removed people, and even an entire power plant from the other side of the river to comment on our "desire as humans to control nature." I think the scale of these images is very important, and I think they have a very different feel to them when seen up close. You can peer into them at the immense detail but then you can step back and see them as a whole image. This idea of scale is extenuated through Gursky's use of the all over focus. With he use of digital manipulation and digital tiling techniques, every plain from front to back in many of his works are at the most impeccable focus and detail. 

What draws me to this particular image is the parralel comment on how man has changed the environment. I think in particular to the place in Devon my project is about. As a child the fields were green and full of natural life but now have been turned into a housing complex and the natural habitat has been removed for human development. 

In Front of a Nightclub (2006) by Jeff Wall

In Front of a Nightclub (2006) by Jeff Wall

Another Image that immediately comes to mind is "In front of Nightclub" by Jeff Wall. This picture of a scene outside a nightclub very much looks like a documentary image of nightclub life. In actual fact it is an image of artifice as Wall reconstructed the scene in his studio. The image is built around a real life scene where Wall was watching this group outside the nightclub and took interest in the man with he flowers. He was part of whats going on but not necessarily part of the scene - the outsider of the group if you like. 

In the context of my own practise I don't really feel I have much in common with either Wall's or Gursky's practise on either an aesthetic or conceptual level. Gursky' practise deals with mass consumerism through a large format and sometimes digitally manipulated process. Wall deals with he everyday snapshot which I suppose is closer to my practise, but he is one who will look and watch and then will either make a picture, or he will reconstruct the image. I do however find his conceptual ideas and theory very interesting in terms of his ideas about the snapshot image. He talks about it in a recent video I have mad e note of in another post here.


On the nature of things. (2018). Video: Andreas Gursky: Redefining Photography. [online] Available at: https://onthenatureofthings.com/2018/02/08/video-andreas-gursky-redefining-photography/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018].

Cumming, L. (2018). Andreas Gursky review – a world in dizzying high definition. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/jan/21/andreas-gursky-review-widescreen-world-hayward-gallery-exhibition [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018].

YouTube. (2018). Artist Talk Jeff Wall. Chapter 4: In Front of a Nightclub (2006). [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS2xBiruYvc [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].