Recently I was a judge for the Rhubarb Rhubarb “Hungry” bursary, which was an interesting day, the judges and I were lucky enough to see a lot of good work, and excitingly… the majority of the really interesting photography was by the photographers who were either students or very recent graduates. Anyway, two things struck me quite early on in the day, and these were:
1)Some of the photographer’s statements were SO bad! And (to me) made little or no sense whatsoever, completely whimsical and solely about themselves!… For example there was a very interesting set of pictures of strange man-made structures, photographed at night in a stylised way. It was obvious these strange buildings were inhabited, and I for one wanted to know more, so we were given the photographer’s statement, which we read, and it went on about how his or her work was really dealing with concepts of the spaces between dreams and reality and so on, and not once did it mention what these structures were, or where they were! So in a sense the work became futile! There was too much “I” this and “My work” that…. Sometimes I just want to know what I am looking at, surely that’s not too much to ask?
2) It is probably a huge exaggeration but it seemed the majority the titles of the bodies of work I saw had the word “between” in them. Things like “Between Dreams and Daylight“, ” Between Waking and Darkness“, “Between reality and illusion” and so on….. Is this a linguistic game? Am I to work out that ”Between Dreams and Daylight” could be called “Nightime”? The other “Daytime”? And the third, God knows what?
What I’m getting at is that sometimes I wish photographers would just say what they mean.
So this got me thinking about how many titles of photo books have the word “between” in them, a quick advanced search on Amazon brings up 3,762! Some of which are:
Between Art and Revolution: Tina Modotti
In Between: Guy Bourdin
China Between by Polly Braden
Between the Eyes
Some Points in Between… Up Till Now: Robert Polidori
Between Sky and Earth
Between Dogs and Wolves: Growing Up with South Africa by Jodi Bieber
IRAQ: The Space Between by Christoph Bangert
Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China
Between the Dark and Light by Jay Blakesberg
Between the Two by Todd Hido
Between Sea and Sky by R.S. Thomas and Peter Hope Jones
Between Dreams and Reality: Tracey Moffatt
The Space Between: Michal Rovner
Between Past and Future: New German Photography
Between Worlds: Contemporary Mexican Photography
Water: Worlds Between Heaven and Earth by Art Wolfe
Tibet: The Roof of the World Between Past and Present by Maria Antonia Sironi Diemberger
Between Visible by Tomoko Yoneda
The Space Between: Gordon Matta-Clark
Between Dog and Wolf by Nick Haymes
Between Dark and Dark by Thomas Joshua Cooper
Between Dog and Wolf: Chrystel Lebas
Obviously of those 3, 762 books I found with ‘Between’ in the title, I grant many should have a clear right to use the word, a good example being:
Different Strokes: The Difference Between Cats & Dogs by Gandee Vasan
I haven’t actually got that book so I cant vouch for its titles validity, but I assume it does exactly what it says it does, and currently at £3.61 for a used copy, it may actually be worth a look….
There you go, Thursday morning rant over…..