The Language of Light – Research

I have decided to take a different approach to my research, following feedback from by Tutor on assignment 3 suggesting that I use more comparisons.  Previously, I researched each photographer and wrote about their work making observations and comments along the way.  For this Project I intend to write it as an essay making comparisons between photographers and quoting from books I have read  where relevant.

There is little doubt that the suggested research for Part 4 is meant to get the reader thinking about the styles and approaches made by the photographers.

I started with Sally Mann whose photography I found both deeply disturbing and serenely beautiful.

In the SuburbX interview Jiang Rong (interviewer), asks if there is a link between  photography and poetry, which Mann studied at university. Her reply is interesting when she says that some photographs are linked, as they condense information while others are like “Ezra Pound”.  In fact there are several parallels between photography and poetry in the interview, with references to Emily Dickinson and Yeats as well as Pound.

I am assuming that by her reply Mann means Pound’s development and use of Imagism, which is described as the use of clear, precise, and sharp language producing an economy of language in his poems.  Is that what Mann is trying to achieve in her photography?  There seems to be evidence of this type of Imagism in the Body Farm collection.  Where there is no need to explain the image further than what is presented.

Rut Blees Luxemburg also makes comparisons between poetry and photography for her inspiration  for ‘Liebeslied’ (My Suicides) – in English: love song or love poem., inspired by German poetry.

 “the river, to me, became a ‘wandering depth’ or an ‘in deeper”.

The romantic language Blees used to name these works was sarcastically challenged by the philosopher Alexander García Düttmann, who she had asked to write about the London photographs and in her words gave the works a dose of irony.


A photo of various civic buildings and skyscrapers above a city under a blue sky

© Rut Blees Luxemburg  (accessed 03/07/2016)

Having made this link with poetry however, the styles of both photographers is very different.  Whilst Mann is”peeling back the layers to reveal the truth”, Blees Luxemburg is exploring place and identity looking at how shared space in cities affect and reflects human conditions.  Both photographers pay particular attention to light.  Mann uses a Collodion wet plate process which is light sensitive to produce the milky light in many of her shots.  Blees Luxemburg uses a “secret” process to produce the warm golden light in many of her city and street shots.


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