A pillar knocked into the ground next to a stream in a flat, open landscape, trees and houses visible in the distance, beneath a vast sky. That is the backdrop to all of Stephen Gill´s photographs in this book. We see the same landscape in spring and summer, in autumn and winter, we see it in sunshine and rain, in snow and wind. Yet there is not the slightest monotony about these pictures, for in almost every one there is a bird, and each of these birds opens up a unique moment in time. We see something that has never happened before and will never happen again. That it takes place in the midst of a landscape characterised by repetition, in which time is cyclical, sets up a keen existential dynamic: on the one hand, everything has happened before, there’s nothing new under the sun; on the other, every moment is unique and carries the hallmark of the miracle: what happens happens only once and never again.
But this wasn’t what I thought about the first time I looked at these photographs. In fact, I barely thought at all, for I was shaken, as a person so often is when confronted with an extraordinary work of art. I’d never seen birds in this way before, as if on their own terms, as independent creatures with independent lives. Ancient, forever improvising, endlessly embroiled with the forces of nature, and yet indulging too. And so infinitely alien to us.
- Karl Ove Knausgård
The Pillar / Winner of the 2019 Les Rencontres de la Photographie author book award.
"She told me she was the daughter of a farmer from an Island I visited a long time ago.
Sometimes meetings are short, intense, sometimes they last a lifetime.
What is it to be invited into a diary, to be offered a key to unlock what lies within? Long memories triggered by each lived moment, if shared, to know and understand that we are not alone. Sometimes we know where and when.
Her silent footsteps tread upon a shabby red carpet. She scans what lies before her, stopping just long enough to make a single frame and move on.
With tenderness she looks up to take in a string of fragile paper lanterns along a corridor we don't know where it’s leading. Always walking.
What is it to know joy on seeing the free movement of the figure as it glides so effortlessly through water, sound muted by its vast expanse that surrounds and supports it? Only once does the figure come up for air.
What is it to appreciate the sensation of a retreating tide? To silently observe a solitary figure who seems feeling and measuring the air.
Who is the woman who patiently waits for her to catch up, catch up at the pace of the human heart?
What is it to feel the sensation of mist as she steps upon the earth so close behind her sheep, or to see her own breath as she moves long a car-less snow-covered road?
Along these tracks and pathway there’s always light.
Sometimes a flood of artificial light that renders expressionless the figures that move within it.
A dog instinctively slips into the shadows. But more often it’s the light cast by the moon, or the light when day becomes night or night day.
She follows those figures, first at proximity, and then a little further away, less sure, still she stays, and still she follows.
These are moments of a certain kind of solitude that still manage to find a connectedness.
Always walking always walking."
- from the accompanying text by Vanessa Winship
Self-published handmade trifold book which consists of three booklets stitched on the cover. Printed on offset Lithoprint by Pureprint printers using vegetable based inks.
Book opens to 21 x 88.8 cm. 2,197 possible combinations of images (thirteen to the 3rd power).
January 25th, 2021 marks 10-years since the spark of the Tahrir Square protests that unseated former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. On this occasion, I am releasing a newly edited & redesigned version of In the Shadow of the Pyramids. This release engages the original photographs in a new framework — upholding the historical prominence of the imagery while meditating on the paling memory of the revolution.
In the Shadow of the Pyramids 2.0 is not a book I anticipated making. It was born out of a sense of responsibility to honour my role of bearing witness to, and visually chronicling, one of the most important chapters in modern Egyptian history. This is coupled with a fervent necessity on my part as an Egyptian to conserve the memory of those life altering events and ensure they remain alive in our conscientiousnessas Egyptians and compassionate world citizens.
The 10-year anniversary edition stays true to the size and material architecture of its older sibling. However, reflecting the traces of time, its inside pages have undergone a radical transformation. In the Shadow of the Pyramids 2.0 tells a story reminiscent of the impact the past 10 years have had on the narrative around the revolution and the emotional toll this imposes on the reading of the imagery.
Edition of 500 copies. Hardcover with debossed title on front & back Printed on uncoated paper / 449 pages with 101 fold outs.
In stock now.
Book images courtesy of Anke van der Schaaf / FopmaWier boekbinderij
It was in 2017 that I began to have an inkling that a single fish might contain a universe of infinite proportions and how amazing a journey within its body could be. So I started to research everything I would need to embark on such an expedition. By January 2020 I had built a work top, obtained a microscope, a camera, optics, lights and fridge. Mentally, though, I was far from ready. I was lacking the courage, time, energy and mental strength to set out on this unknown voyage.
By February, the world exposed and in the unimaginable grasp of the pandemic. Time moved in entirely new ways as so many were affected, taken ill and had their lives claimed.
This void in time, with all movements restricted, somehow presented a platform from which I could finally launch my inwards fish journey. I was prepared to explore for an unknown period but first of all I had, of course, to catch a fish. Being really unskilled at fishing this took a total of nine trips and thirty hours.
On the 10th April 2020, at around 15.30, equipped with sleeping bags and instant noodles, my children and I arrived at a spot where flat rock, grass and shrubs meet the sea. I had almost got into the idea of never catching a fish by this point, so it was a sudden shock when a jolt was sent through the rod to my hands followed by a silver splash that appeared on the waveless water. My daughter Ada shouted, “Get the net dad!” and she saw the slight panic in my face as I had failed to remember the next thing required to land the fish.
Knowing it would be a time-sensitive journey as decay commenced the following day, I started what was eventually a ten-week voyage. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to encounter along the way or how sick I was to become during the making of this work.
In 1909, a young mother called Emma Hauck was admitted to the psychiatric hospital of Heidelberg (Germany). She was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. 11 years later Emma would pass away in an asylum in Wiesloch at the age of 42.
Around that time a touching collection of letters was found in the archives of the Heidelberg hospital. All of these letters were written to her husband Michael, begging him to collect her. Each letter is written with overlapping words.
Some are so condensed as to be illegible. Some read “herzensschatzi komm’ (darling come) over and over; others only repeat the words, ‘komm, komm, komm’ (come) thousands of times.
In March 2014, my family and I moved from east London to rural south Sweden where my partner Lena is from. I understood that these new surroundings would inform my work in very different ways and that nature would play a key role. I was looking forward to making work that did not feel restricted and suffocated by modern photographic technology nor would make an inaccurate projected impression of the natural landscape we had become part of.
On my many walks, I soon came to realise that this new, apparently bleak, flat and open landscape was in fact teeming with intense life. Small clues appeared during daylight hours that helped me understand the extent of activity during the night. Clusters of feathers, animal footprints of all sizes showing regular overlapping routes, gnawed branches, eggshells, ant hills, nibbled mushrooms and busy snails and slugs working through the feast provided from the previous night
I started to imagine the creatures in absolute darkness on the forest floor driven by instincts and their will to survive. I imagined them encountering each other. I thought of their eyes – near redundant in the thick of the night – and their sense of smell and hearing finely tuned and heightened.
Envisaging where this activity might unfold, coupled with a hopeful foresight, I placed cameras equipped with motion sensors, to trees, mostly at a low level, so that any movement triggered the camera shutter and an infra-red flash (which was outside the animals’ visual spectrum).
The first results filled me with fascination and joy as they presented what felt like stepping off into another parallel and unearthly world. The silent photographs also seemed to invent sounds. This frame of mind and way of working took me back to my first ever photo project at the age of 13, sitting in the bathroom window of my parents’ house in Bristol with a 10-metre cable release, attached to the camera, attempting to photograph garden birds.
As time went on I started to think, if I were a deer where would I drink from, or if an owl where would I prefer to perch, and positioned cameras in such places. I was already composing the rectangular view in my mind’s eye – even though the nocturnal animals were absent – imagining they were there. Nature itself helped to decide the palette and the feel of the images as plant pigments were incorporated from the surrounding areas to make the final master prints.
I had grappled for many years with this idea of stepping back as the author of images to give space for chance and to encourage the subject to step forward. I had attempted this in various ways; for example, in 2005, by burying colour prints close to where they were made, as a collaboration, to entice the place itself to leave its physical mark on the images once they had been unearthed. Or, between 2009 - 2013, in the series Talking to Ants, I placed objects such as plant life, insects, seeds and dust from the place I was photographing inside the film chamber to create in-camera photograms creating a confusion of scale. Or, in 2012, in Best Before End, as a photographic response to the rise of high-energy drinks, I used the drinks themselves to part-process the film as they ate into the emulsion. These approaches added an element of uncertainty, without knowing exactly where the images would land, and relied on a point where intentions met chance with the hope that the subject itself could play a part, lead the way or become embedded in the finished images.
This time, though, it felt as if I was stepping out altogether, so that the subjects would orchestrate and perform and take on the role of author while at that moment I was likely to be sleeping. This was nature’s time to speak and let itself be felt and known.
'‘Be careful’, my father had written to me, ‘It’s supposed to be unsafe out there’, words interspersed with photographs from the cargo ship that he was working on as he made his way up the Mississippi river to the port right outside New Orleans. The immigration rules did not allow him to step on American soil and he had no choice but to remain on his ship. His short-lived glimpse of the country had remained only within those raised embankments on either side of the river. The America that lay on the other side was something he could only make sense of through a trickle of news and opinions that he had been heard from a distance. Guns, Violence, Racism, Trump, A certain loss of Tenderness...
A couple of months later I made the journey on road down the delta from the confluence of Ohio and Mississippi rivers outside Cairo (Illinois), to Pilot Town, off Highway 23 that went further down from New Orleans. It was near here that the river opened into the sea and was the entry point into this part of the country for all ships including my father’s.
As it had been for sailors searching for land, birds now became my guides as I looked for the beginnings of water, leading me through the blues of the wetness of the land. The America I found on the way was not quite the same as the one that my father had imagined.
Just as it had been with my father, there was always a levee between the river and me as well. My father had been on water but had not been able to touch land. I was on land but had barely been able to touch water. Together we got a glimpse of the delta from our own sides of the levee.'
- As Laura Rodari describes it, in August 2012 she had this dream, but it was one of those rare dreams that distress the sleep and disturb the awaking even more so. Pivotal, magnetic, the kind of dream that she describes “opens up unrealised scenarios by releasing the demons”. And so it was. In October 2019 she went there. -
- ... In short, ‘Malia’ is enchantment, it’s charm, it’s the flickering of shadows hence it’s also the light source, it’s the glow, it’s the song that drowns the listener, it’s the power of seduction. It’s what’s left behind. It’s when it’s over... -
- ... Containing 90 monochrome photographs offset printed on heavy uncoated paper, (the) ‘Malìa’ begins in the morning and over an expanse of 180 pages, through the greys (ash to charcoal), the tones, the shadows, it closes at sunset, on top of the volcano. This Malìa... -
New limited editiion publication published to commemorate Gerry Johansson receiving the Lars Tunbjörk Foundation Prize 2019. The photographs of Borås (Lars Tunbjörk home town) were taken in 1997 and in 2019.
In Hackney Flowers Stephen Gill has again used his east London surroundings as the inspiration for his work. This time he has collected flowers, seeds, berries and other objects from various locations in Hackney, pressed them in his studio and photographed them alongside his own photographs and found ephemera. Some of the base photographs were also buried in Hackney Wick, and the consequent staining and decay has left its imprint upon the images, stressing the collaboration with place. A parallel series within the book shows members of the Hackney public with floral details imposed upon their person.
Including over 200 of Vinca Petersen’s photographs, diary entries and ephemera, No System tells the story of a 10-year journey around Europe in the 1990’s putting on illegal free raves and festivals with other Techno Travellers.
“We are not rebelling against, so much as living outside the system. Free music to anyone that wants it is what we give and we need nothing back but space to roam.
Tribal beats have surrounded our planet for thousands of years. Technology is our addition to this continual rhythm. Age is no concern, background irrelevant. We exist now and in the future. Welcome to our way of living…”
“Ok, so The River’s Suck is this sort of Lynchian ‘Landscape Noir,’ where casual observations and broken thoughts, gathered during a walk along a local river fining down after an end-of-winter flood, have been re-imagined into a kind of ambiguous environmental parable. Some kind of cryptic allegory on the invisible liquid of life, oxygen, and it’s presence and flow through everything: water, air, land, bodies. A lead metaphorical role is played by the ubiquitous discarded plastic bottle; an organic looking item of litter that looks like a stranded fished that has drowned in air, its impermeable skin preventing any natural recycling and return to the landscape it had been floating through. It’s seeing the global or universal in the local and mundane. Images of the type of things that often subcontiously catch the eye are made obvious, made to detour the intellect and simply speak directly; thought triggers like lines of lyrics making a song.” - Mark Mattock
The River’s Suck is Mattock’s fourth self published work in his unique post pastoral visual language.
In his Dublin trilogy (i, ON and End.) Eamonn captured the combined actions of the city and its population as they played out in front of him.
With K, he moves away from the urban east coast to the western Atlantic edge of Ireland, to a landscape that, in places, appears out of time, a parallel world untouched by human presence.
Through the intense colour images of K, we follow a figure that shape-shifts as it travels across this landscape. Entirely veiled in cloth, the figure is spectral, changing in colour and materiality as it is pushed and pulled by gravity, wind, water and light. In places it appears almost gaseous, in others it is molten and then, at times, the weight of being earthbound becomes apparent. Accompanying these colour images, K includes a number of dense black and white photographs that appear to describe some kind of seismic evidence.
Printed on a number of pages in the book are stratified layers of hand-written letters from a mother to her dead son. Eamonn’s brother, Ciarán, died suddenly at age 33 in 1999. His mother, Kathryn, never managed to escape the grief of such a time-reversed event, right up until her own death in 2017. In the letters, we can make out a word here and there, but the cumulative effect is their appearance as musical notation, a veil of sound waves, a phonetic score for lament.
Working with a 1951 recording of an Irish Keen, musician David Donohoe has composed a new, two-part piece for voice that accompanies this body of work for exhibition, and is included in the book as a 10" vinyl record. This layered and ever-changing composition forms an integral part of our experience of K, relating directly to it in both form and expression. The Keen (or Cine, from the Irish caoinim, “I wail”) is an ancient Irish tradition of lamentation songs for the dead, to carry their spirit over to the other side and to act as a cathartic expression of grief for those gathered around. Traditionally Keens are performed directly over the body of the deceased by women. In some of the images of K, the contorted and wind-blown shapes of the figure and cloth seem to take on the form of the wailing sound itself.
With his Dublin work, Eamonn looks at how the contemporary forces of the city and the movement of its people continually shape each other. In K, he seeks out the primal, even primordial, forces that have sculpted and driven us into being.
The cruelty of the speed of light is that we can only ever look back in time. The further we look out, the further back in time we see. But this does bring the past into the present as we attempt to understand, even though sometimes we just cannot. This is as true of a photograph taken on the streets of Dublin as it is of one taken of plasma clouds in distant galaxies. And we can only comprehend any of this by passing through the vibrations of time, like a song cast out to the cosmos.
Casebound hardback with 10" vinyl record. 370mmx290mm.
'A Star in the Sea is an overture for embracing the unexpected. The photographs, text & title pertain to three independent, personal life events: A love story; my first & only trip to my place of birth in the UK & a vision on a beach in Italy. It is inspired by a desire to redefine my relationship with the ideals of success & happiness. In this context, A Star in the Sea is an opportunity to celebrate imperfection — an artistic gesture to have faith in the Universe.'
- Laura El-Tantawy
The book is conceived as an artistic object demanding intimacy — something you want to protect & treat with care. Each book comes in a custom handmade Batik pouch made by the artist in collaboration with her mother.