“…nestled amongst the dense urban fabric of Central District in Hong Kong are the decommissioned Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison…”
Sojourns in the Archive: Photographs of the Atlantic’s Edge
What is it that attracts photographers to endless archival projects of witness? By witness I am invoking experiential truths rather than dogmatic realities, in a way more fitting to our less stable reckoning of the document, our problematised relation both to documentary work and to aesthetic experience. Sebastiao Salgado and his testaments of human labour as exploitation, August Sander’s inventories of status, power and social type; war, families, children, sublime landscapes, street-life, counter cultures, cities…each has had the ‘epic’ treatment with weighty repetitive encounters or approaches over years of the photographer’s working life. What dedication and purpose. Thomas Joshua Cooper’s on-going ‘sea pictures’ project, begun around 1990, running for approximately 20 years is one such to fathom, since we are with him now, living the strange witness on offer as the World’s Edge of the Atlantic unfolds through various books and exhibitions.
I have a background in sculpture where I explored the divisions of 2D and 3D, this became my introduction to photography. Eventually photographs became more important and rewarding than the other mediums and became my main practice. Composition also took precedent over subject matter, which has been a little problematic at times. (In order to define what my work is about, I cannot simply deny the role of the subject in favour of formal arrangement).
The work shown here is taken from two separate projects, and is part of an ongoing concern with urban spaces. Architecture, one of the recurring aspects of my work, is an area in which to explore human relationships within the constructed spaces that we live.
These photographs are part of an on-going series looking at control; control over politics, religion, fellow human beings. Andrew Duke turns his lens to Turkey and India to consider Derin Devlet, the theory that an undemocratic state is operating within the Turkish state and how India’s strict hierarchy controls its society and, in particular, the Dalit people. Continue reading…