by Stephen Gill
I am not sure how to describe the intent of this project by Stephen Gill. It is an interesting blend of photography and post-processing by natural elements. It is more like an uncontrolled chemistry experiment when the processing tools are rain and earth. The results are quite intriguing, see the gallery here. The work was published in 2006 as a book.
Other series by Stephen Gill are also quite interesting and creative. Some of them look like a collection of snapshots where a single image elicits little interest but as a collection they form an interesting and cohesive body of work.
The photographs were taken in Hackney Wick and later buried there.
The amount of time the images were left underground varied depending on the amount of rainfall. The depths that the pictures were buried at also varied, as did their positioning. Sometimes they were facing each other, sometimes back to back or sometimes buried singly.
When burying my first batch of photographs, a passing man spotted me and asked what I was doing. Not only did I not want to give the location away of some of my buried pictures, but It just sounded a bit weird to say that I was burying photographs so replied that I was looking for newts. As soon as I’d said that I looked down and saw a newt at my feet.
Not knowing what an image would look like once it was dug up introduced an element of chance and surprise which I found appealing. This feeling of letting go and in a way collaborating with place – allowing it also to work on putting the finishing touches to a picture – felt fair. Maybe the spirit of the place can also make its mark.- Stephen Gill