At today’s session at the Echoes Group I was somewhat thwarted in my plan to take a full set of portraits, a significant number – more than half – were not able to come chiefly through medical reasons. I had planned a set of similar portraits, similar light etc so have decided to put that exercise off until next week. Whilst I was still able to collect resource for the calendar project I was interested in a set of abstract images that appeared to me within the space at the Fusion Arts Centre.
The conference at the University of Westminster had Jason Evans talk about ‘Nice’ images, about how he, amongst his practice, enjoys presenting images that appeal to him. “I like the secret places in a photograph” and “..the points of magical light, to a specific place, Wednesday afternoon at 4 o’clock…” thoughts that I felt immediately drawn to. I see those things every day – I especially like the Tuesday morning light just after nine thirty – photographers tend to do that. I remember talking to Barry Thornton who said that photographers are very lucky because they ‘see’ pictures all the time, we become accustomed to framing, to recognising both macro contrast local contrast, instinctively ‘seeing’ that it would work as a ‘nice’ image. Geometry, symmetry, harmony those distinct structures that inform the eye that things are combining for the lens. Evans has a website dedicated to showing a ‘nice’ image every day (though at the moment is has been a bit variable as to whether it gets updated). The object of the Dailynice is to display a pleasant image to make people feel better than they would had they not seen the image. That’s nice isn’t it?
I have struggled with my own images for some while now. I have found it too easy to produce pretty images, those that are on this blog piece for example, so I’m thinking about the difference between ‘nice’ and ‘pretty’. Evans’ ‘Nice’ images are filtered through an Art practice that is mature – his is a distinguished career already – so I wonder if he isn’t being a tad disingenuous calling his images ‘Nice’, where they might be considered as a comment on the ephemerality of photography today. Having resigned from an educational career in art photography, having been a photographer in the fashion business, Evans has witnessed several complexions of the face of a photographic artist. His images appear for short periods of time and there is only one image to consider, untroubled by the narrative complexities of other images to scroll into, Evans presents an image for the viewer to contextualise or not, as the fancy takes them. Surely he knows why he has made those images, they surely contain ‘points of magical light’ as the clock ticks relentlessly through the witching hour of 4 pm.
These images presented here were taken because they struck me at the time as nice images (I fear to associate the capitalised edition of the word with my own creations, lest a comparison is made) and whilst the word kindled a connection with Evans’ work, I have attempted to make them nice. I have prettified them, abstracted them further from the abstractions that they clearly are, but I was inspired by Evans’, I heard his words echoing as I gazed through the viewfinder and that together with my tutor’s encouragement to make some images that I don’t hate (a reference to the ‘war’ photography I have been researching for some time, and a battle area of “Documentary” that I would like to leave behind me).
A turning point?