Monday, March 25, 2013

The subject matter I would like to investigate is the work of Swedish photographer Jacob Felländer, with particular reference to technique, composition and subject matter.  His work greatly interests me, specifically the sense of movement he encapsulates through the composition of his work, alongside the great variety of tone and colour produced through his process of development in the darkroom.  His favoured method of multiple exposures of course is not unique to Felländer as is demonstrated by the work of others such as Idris Khan, known particularly in the architectural realm for his representation of the industrial typology studies of the Behcers.  Jacob Felländer's method is more appealing to me however as his images are composed sporadically on location (in contrast to Khan who photographs or scans from secondary sources).

 Gas Holders; Germany, Britain and France (1963-1997)  -  Bernd & Hilla Becher

                  Homage to Benrd Becher (2004)  -  Idris Khan

     Cityscapes 6 - Jacob Felländer
A recent Jacob Felländer project of particular interest to me, involved the photographer completing a twelve day worldwide photographic trip, something not immediately unique in the world of photography.  His process however differs from his predecessors, including the Bechers, who choose to compose each frame carefully and methodically with a resultant output of a series of images documenting industrial built typologies. Felländer’s process documented a panorama of each city he visited on a single film, his final image unregulated or revisable until it’s development at the end of his process.  While Felländer’s images are bursting with “visual noise” pierced only by subtle details, the Becher typology images are very clearly defined pieces of work that Khan's reinterpretations serve only to reproduce as an overlay of multiple images.

     Los Angeles - Hong Kong - Bombay  -  Jacob Felländer
The work of Bernd and Hilla Becher is undisputably powerful and will serve only as a reference in this essay.  The writing will focus on the work of Jacob Felländer’s considered but unsystematic use of an inexpensive modified analogue camera, wound forward to expose the film piece by piece to capture his distinctive panoramic frames.  This contrasts heavily with Khan's process and indeed that of the Bechers – reinterpretation of a large 8 x 10 inch view camera objectively positioned relative to the subject, shot only on overcast days and early in the morning.  Another contrast between both photographers is the expression of activity.  Felländer’s images portray the passage of time, “space and perspective drift within a frame” to create a panoramic image filled with movement, colour and tonal variation.  Becher images typically freeze one particular moment, devoid of people or activity, producing something very different. 

    Chenai - Jacob Felländer

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