NOTES is an artist-led Scottish periodical devoted to developing visual and critical discourses in contemporary photography. Its goals are to represent, examine and nurture Scottish photography thinking and practice through the creation of interdisciplinary and transnational connections.
Work on issue three began by asking artist Dr Anthony Schrag to consider James Parker’s series Boys, Bikes and Bucket Hats. The series documents Parker’s epic journey from Scotland to Mongolia by car. In Masculine Imminence, Schrag responds to the physicality depicted in Parker’s images with illustrations from his own memories, contrasting the visual mediated experience with the lived. Schrag’s text complicates many of our basic understandings of photography, and his essay almost reads as a rejection of the media itself. With Parker and Schrag together, a question emerges: how can we critically challenge the masculine domination of both the visual and discursive space, without dismissing the experience of the individual, or glossing over other complexities in regards to identity hierarchies? Ben Soedira’s portfolio Foreign Sands, a series about the city of Dubai which he calls home, further problematizes our thinking about representation –who belongs to and who owns a place?
Parker and Soedira’s images sit in tension with Natalie Feather’s portfolio, which presents the female body in a space typically associated with the heroic masculine. Operating in related territories to Feather’s, but with totally different methods and repercussions, the artist Ambera Wellmann crafts images that exploit conventions surrounding the female body. In conversation with multidisciplinary artist Erica Eyres, Wellmann explains how painting and photography have influenced each other in her own practice. This contribution emphasises the possibilities that exist in the estuaries between explicitly photographic and other practices.
Utilising tropes from popular culture (video games, horror films, thrillers), Rachel Fermi’s black and white portfolio of hedge openings taken in the dark awaken a sense of impending doom. People entering these dark voids are the only victims we seem able to face without protest. In contrast, Kent Klich’s image of street children fighting in Mexico City causes us to avert our gaze. The depiction of these children’s destitution comes as an attack to the senses. Nathanial Gardner unpacks for us the way in which the children’s attempt toprevent the picture being taken proves their understanding of the medium and its power.
The opening image in this issue comes from a collaboration between photographer Daniele Sambo and painter/printmaker Christine Goodman. Drawn from their experience working with patients at St Andrews Community Hospital, this collaboration illustrates the promise and potential of interdisciplinary practice.