Footfall – A Curate’s Egg

Further comments on Footfall, from a photographer friend this time.  My responses in italics.

‘I have been struggling to come up with lucid comments on your book. I think the critique you got from your friend is a little harsh, and maybe not getting the point. But what is the point? It is not a photo-book per se, but does contain 6 or 8 “good” photos.’

This poses the question, what is a photo book?  The Tate defines it as: ‘The photobook is a book of photographs by a photographer that has an overarching theme or follows a storyline – a convenient and reasonably cheap way of disseminating the work of a photographer to a mass audience.’  I think that Footfall is a photobook in these terms, if taken literally.  Consistent photographic excellence is implicit in the definition, and I admit that Footfall sacrifices some quality for an attempt to convey ideas. I see it as a form of conceptual photography.

‘As a meditation on walking it works in parts, and the quotations are apt and quite inspiring. I do walking Meditation at times and appreciate the mystery of the process.’

I’m pleased this aspect is at least in part successful.  Perhaps I should have tried to give this more focus and elaborated on the ideas more fully in the afterword.

‘When I think I have got the gist I come up against pages that baffle me, i.e. pp26/27.’ 

These two pictures, reproduced below, fit within the ‘interactions’ section of the book.  They are of massive close ups of faces used for advertising in the windows of a supermarket and a tattoo parlour respectively.  Both look out, but you can’t look in; they dominate and shock by their sheer size and demand attention.  It’s an interaction that asks of us, who owns the street?

‘I see that the Divine Comedy is about a journey, but a random walk is maybe not a journey. But then everything is a journey…’

Indeed, life’s journey.  The image of Dante’s path from Paradise to the Inferno introduces the section on walking as deviance, or perhaps I should say transgression.  Life is full of transgressions.

‘Brownie points for doing it on film.’

A small and undoubtedly hopeless stand against the digital flood.

‘On the whole I would say it is a ‘curate’s egg’ – good in parts.’

‘PS  By the way, I do like the book and often look at it. It is thought-provoking.’

If you find it thought provoking I’m more than happy.

Footfall 26
Footfall 27
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