Title: Roombeek Series, 2009 (9 images making one work)
Price: £150 (per image)
Medium: Light jet print on Kodak Endura paper mounted on aluminium and bonded onto 5mm clear Perspex acrylic.
Scale: Individual image size w 29.7cm x h 19.8cm
Set of nine presentation size w 99cm x h 68.5cm
The following text is taken from an interview that I did about the series. The interviewer represented an online art website which now doesn’t appear to exist anymore.
Do you have a name for your ‘house series’?
Roombeek series I guess! – The Roombeek is the name of the area in Enschede, The Netherlands, where the photos were taken.
What prompted you to create these photographs?
The ideas that inform the work are mostly rooted in the appearance of reality. It is often said that today’s media saturated culture has created a new reality where the image has replaced the reality that it once described. Examples of this cultural phenomenon could be described as experiencing a real life situation that appears more like a movie, or being disillusioned by a holiday destination that didn’t quite live up to its image representation from the brochure.
With this in mind and being an avid peruser of architecture magazines, walking amongst the Roombeek houses felt very much like reading those same printed pages. Obviously the structures were real in this instance but at the same time they still retained an image quality (it was almost like they were made to be images).
The creation of these photographs (amongst other things) was therefore, to continue thinking about the ‘image world’ phenomenon, whilst enjoying the decisions involved in the making experience – something that can be overlooked if you don’t get out much.
Can you describe your process for making these pictures? How do you scout out a location, etc? (Also, if you don’t mind me asking, is any of it photoshopped?)
The work utilises ideas concerning familiarity where the subject matter (eventually combined with its presentation) invokes a mediated presence as opposed to ‘the original’ source. I stumbled across this particular bit of the Roombeek area purely by chance during a visit to The Netherlands earlier this year. This was partly due to a group of tourists blocking the cycle lane during a frenzied photo session of the surrounding buildings. Tourists photographing ‘attractions’ is generally a good sign that I might be interested in what they are looking at. Normally I have to see what something looks like as a photograph first. However, no matter how relevant the actual subject may be to the concept, if the recorded reality does not have a certain quality (as a printed image) then it’s not worth continuing with.
After noting the location I cycled back the following day to begin taking photos.
Process for making a Roombeek series:
1. Park ‘dutch bicycle’ somewhere with easy access (you never know).
2. Return to the tourist location and begin shooting (with a camera).
3. View recorded images on camera display ensuring image quality parameters for acceptable print quality.
4. Cycle to campus (that your working at during this period) and print digital files checking acceptability of print quality.
5. Mount the prints on to a card backing, cut and leave to dry (go to pub).
6. Return to location (the proceeding day) with printed images and tripod.
7. Realise you didn’t bring the camera, so return to the campus, pick up camera and cycle back to location.
8. Park in the now ‘usual spot’ (remembering to lock the bike this time) choose a printed image then find its actual location.
9. With camera mounted on the tripod, hold the printed building image in front of real building, thus obscuring the real building’s actuality.
10. Don’t try and be overly precise, its not supposed to be a hyper-real image but rather, suggestive of the reality theory.
11. Repeat the process until all prints have been photographed and then head back to campus – in anticipation.
12. Open images on a computer, re-scale the file dimensions so that the hand in each image is life-size.
13. With no Photoshop manipulation required go ahead and print what you believe to be the best nine images.
14. Mount the nine images (similar to previous mounting method) and then exhibit prints in a 3 x 3 grid formation, thus mimicking the rectangle of a photograph whilst accentuating the formalistic qualities of the buildings.
What inspires your work? Are there any particular artists who are real influences to you?
I think I probably find things interesting rather than inspirational. On a similar note, I once got detention at school in a religious studies class for insisting that I didn’t have a role model!
Having said that I do have a piece of writing that I always transfer from notebook to notebook. It’s an extract entitled ‘Why I go to the movies alone’ by the artist Richard Prince
“The first time he saw her, he saw her in a photograph. He had seen her before, at her job, but there she didn’t come across or measure up anywhere near as well as she did in her picture. Behind her desk she was too real to look at […] He had to have her on paper, a material with a flat seamless surface […] a physical location which could represent her resemblance all in one place […] a place that had the chances of looking real, but a place that didn’t have any specific chances of being real”