Library Session – 3/5/13

Today we had a tutorial in the library with Matt Johnston, discussing how to to use Photo books as a reference and the importance of defining your work , and the work of others within a wider context. The wider context simply being, how it relates to what other practitioners are doing or even how it relates to you own , wider body of work.  Not only similarities , but also what contrasts can be made.

Pieces of work within a book can relate to one another in some way but they can also change as the project progresses.  It is important to be able to identify these similarities and differences in order to reference them against one another.

This is very important when presenting a body of work as a reference, the ability to explain the whys and hows of a piece of work will elevate your references above merely showing a picture. Being able to state your reasons, even if they are not necessarily correct, is what counts.

During this session we were given a task to look at a book and to how a picture within the book relates to the wider project. We were asked to look through the book look at the aesthetic and conceptual use of light and present an image that we believe demonstrated this.

The book we chose was Golden Gate by Richard Misrach.

This book is a series of images taken from the same spot of Mirach’s front porch over the period of a couple of years. He charts the changing season’s , takes photographs at different times of day and even takes some long exposure shots to document the light changes.

We found that although this book is called Golden Gate, the bridge itself seems to be incidental. Whether this was the photographers intention , I am not sure, but I found that the focus of the images was the passage of time. A perfect way to demonstrate this is to show the same place and the changes that experiences over the period of hours, days and months.  The Golden gate bridge itself seems to be frozen in time.

It also occurred to me that Misrach could be making a political or social point. Standing in the shadow of the Golden Gate bridge is the infamous Alcatraz prison grounds. Home in its day to some of the most notorious criminals that America produced. This could be a comment on the passage of time for the inmates, reminded of how time is passing by from the ever changing view of the harbour.

The look and feel of the images change throughout the book, some are soft and almost dreamlike. This image taken at 6:50am show the pastel,soft colours that accompanies the sunrise.


It is a calm and tranquil scene, and quite undramatic in contrast to this picture.

Richard Misrach, 9-26-98 6:31 P.M. 1998; chromogenic color print; 40 x 50 in.; courtesy of the artist and the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco (HANDOUT PHOTO) Photo: HANDOUT Read more:

Richard Misrach, 9-26-98 6:31 P.M. 1998; chromogenic color print; 40 x 50 in.; courtesy of the artist and the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco (HANDOUT PHOTO) Photo: HANDOUT
Read more:

The above image perfectly demonstrates how even a photograph taken of the same location can vary wildly depending upon various factors such as weather, time of day, the season and air pollution. Both pictures present the Golden Gate Bridge frozen in that one moment of time.


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