Thursday, 14 April 2011

The 'Conversation' and post-pondering...

Many thanks to all of you who attended the 'In Conversation with Emily Allchurch' last night. It was a packed house with standing room only, so we were thrilled. As ever, Emily was her usual charming self, sharing her working methods freely with the audience and answering questions. One of the subjects that came up was her archive (image library) which is the first step to making each of her images. She took 6,000 photographs on her trip to Tokyo then created the image library from these, separating the photographs into multiple categories. Each category is then on hand to dip into when needed.

One of the questions at the end of our 'conversation' was about the innate value of this archive. This question was fascinating as archives are often found long after the fact, having a practical function at the time of creation, then forgotten about. Emily's images of objects, trees, walls, graffiti, people, temples, bridges...the list is endless - all in little folders will be clues of the future to her work. I gave the example of Picasso's preparatory drawings for Guernica that give so much information about the editing and creative process he went through to create his masterpiece. Emily's examples of her photo's before they were placed into her complicated assemblages put into perspective just how intricate her working methods are.

Finding photographs personal or otherwise, when curated into an archive can become a wonderful source of inspiration and observation about the world. Being nosey is the key ingredient to a great photographic life, however that life may manifest itself. The internet of course lets us be nosier than ever before. As a result my little forage online looking for archives and vernacular photography brought Thriftaholic blog to my attention. I have many books on found photography and love the low-fi nature of them, with a subject linking many photographs together. Just as Emily's source images individually are records waiting to be assembled, archives have this potential too. Don't discount the random image, you never know when it may come in handy as a part of something whole.

Photo credit for 'In Conversation': Paul Blakemore

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