Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.


Feb 27, 2017 - Aaron Claringbold

In the above gallery I have included images of some of the photobooks I have and return to most often.


Marianne Bjornmyr – An Authentic Relation

Matthew Porter – Archipelago

Kelvin Skewes – Nauru : What was taken and what was given

Christopher Killip – Isle of Man : A book about the Manx

Manar Moursi & David Puig – Sidewalk Salon : 1001 Street Chairs of Cairo

Of these books, Archipelago is probably the one I come back to the most, and which appeals to me in a very specifically photographic way. Here is some text taken from one of the two essays within that book.

To photograph the world today, to be a contemporary photographer, means to confront and comment upon this condition in which knowing too much and knowing too little invoke the same visceral state. Far from the transparent image, truthful document, or index of time, photographs have come to function more like portals, obliquely suggestive of historical events, modernist styles, and codified genres, sometimes all at the same time. Photography has always lent itself to this air of mystery: it descales, decontextualises, and in framing a scene deviously appears to give us all we need at the very moment it leaves things out.
Indeed, these photographs are at their most frustrating and glorious when puzzling juxtapositions are overlaid with aesthetic coherence, a coherence available to the eye but not to the mind. It is here where the works delay whatever mechanism in my brain jumps from experience to its interpretation. I scantness scenes for a moment, finding that I am soothed by the things I recognise, appeased buy their ghostly yet familiar appeal. I navigate this work with my own personal commas, perception-as-search-engine. But what coheres and what doesn’t in the or that moment matters little in the end. It is the delay that matters, the delay that makes me aware of this conflation between aesthetic judgement and the simple act of recognising something I already know. I find recourse to neither judgment (a coherent proclamation for the future) nor recognition (pleasure in affirming the past). This delay fixes me squarely in the uncomfortable mess that is the present, a condition in which knowing something and knowing its meaning are far from the same thing.’

Excerpt from a text by Lindsay Caplan in Matthew Porters ‘Archipelago’ published by Mack.