Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Michelle Sank

At Falmouth University, we have the bonus of being lectured to and have access to some fine photographers. I feel very lucky indeed as my main contact is the marvelous Michelle Sank, whose work I followed before I went to Uni. I love her style of portrait, she manages to bring out something special in all of her subjects. Here is a review an a few images from the independent.

The South African photographer Michelle Sank has been based in England since 1987 and this is the latest in a series of book-length studies assembled with the objective eye of an outsider.

Previous subjects are Belfast, Wolverhampton, Cork and San Francisco. But The Submerged is about the people and places in mid-Wales; a portrait of the coastal and hilly areas surrounding Aberystwyth.

This isolated landscape at the end of a railway line, on the western edge of the principality, is somehow highly appropriate to Sank's work which exists in a hinterland between landscape photography, portraiture and social documentary. "Sociological landscapes", she calls them; pictures about how people are products of their environment.

The subjects of The Submerged are generally pictured in the middle distance, informally posed, often under heavy, grey skies. There is some laughter in the book, and frequent splashes of colour, but the people tend to look serious or forlorn.

In an accompanying essay entitled "Potent Portraits", Liz Wells considers Sank's evocative, "ordinary yet compulsive" pictures in terms of their narrative content. "What brought the middle-aged woman in the yellow shalwar kameez ... to this part of the country? Why is one boy leaping over tufts of grass?" These mysteries are a part of the pleasure of The Submerged.

The Submerged:" My practice is concerned with the notion of encountering, collecting, and re-telling. I am interested in creating sociological landscapes, interplays of human form and location that are significant in their visual, sociological and psychological nuances."

Sorry all!

Must apoligise for lack of blogging, I've been up to my eyes in work and getting things ready for assessment at Uni! Normal servive will soon be resumed and I will be posting lots of new work to keep my readers happy, in the mean time here are some rather marvellous images by Anja Steigler!