When I set out to look at Mark Power’s 26 Different Endings (1) following my tutors comments reading my assignment 1 I was mostly interested in his compositional style However, I was drawn into the subject matter and intrigued by the number “26 “and this became a distraction for few days, a distraction that is summarised in my essay on Seriality and Neutrality. I will now briefly return to that original purpose.
The photographs in 26 Different Endings are all taken in a flat grey light, a choice that supports this exploration of sub-mariginal places, places beyond the map. The compositions are, to some degree varied but there are common and repeated features.
Of the twenty six plates:
- 17 have a significant amount of negative space, usually in the foreground but also in the grey skies.
- 13 have leading lines running into the composition from front to back, roads, paths and, in one case, demolition debris.
- 8 use diagonal lines in much the same way.
- 3 have clear triangles.
- Only 4 or 5 have the subject filling all or most of the frame.
My tutor’s point was well made, some (several?) of my compositions for assignment 1 did not allow the viewer to enter the frame and explore the subject. My rework attempted to address this. Power uses negative space and leading lines as an introduction, a setting for the subject. He is interested in the places status as non-entities so he is exaggerating this feeling by giving the viewer a sense of emptiness but he is also asking us to see the places in a wider context.
There are a number of other artists that I want to look at in the same way but it did strike me that there was a similarity between Power’s work and Paul Seawright’s landscapes, there is a subtlety here that I realise has been lacking in my work. I am imposing my subject on the viewer and by not stepping back and exploring the wider context I am preventing the viewer from doing the same. Paul Seawright and Mark Power speak quietly whilst I shout. Their message is more effectively communicated than mine.
(1) Power, Mark (2007) 26 Different Endings (accessed at Magnum Commercial 17.3.15) – http://www.magnumphotos-commercial.com/photography/mark-power/special-projects/26-different-endings