In October last year I travelled to Cardiff and met my fellow BA students for a visit to Diffusion 2015 the International Festival of Photography. The month-long exhibition, which had the theme of Looking for America, took place in 22 venues around Cardiff and represented 47 artists.
Despite my plans, it was impossible to see all the exhibits in just one day. However, the artists I managed to see that had a particularly impacted on me were Arthur Tress (I bought his book San Francisco 1964), Clementine Schneider, Dave Jordano, David Magnusson, Delphine Diallo and George Barber.
One of the images I particularly admired was by Arthur Tress; it was entitled Coit Tower San Francisco, it was of a lone, seated woman wearing sunglasses and to her left there were two pay-for viewing binoculars. The scene had simplicity, a repetition and symmetry in this uncluttered image; the photo physically grabbed me as I walked past it on the gallery wall. In this scene there is no competition between the subject and any extraneous information or materials such as trees or clouds, one’s eye is not distracted from the main subject matter. I like the way in which Tress observed the symmetry and rhythm of the scene and viewed it with a whimsical eye.
Another artist I admired was Barber, his representation of a film taken from a drone described how American Forces in Afghanistan target properties by comparing washing lines over several days. This has inspired me to initiate my own photo-essay of washing lines, which clearly describe the occupants of the house, hopefully this will not attract the attention of US Forces.
I have to say just how much I enjoyed and was inspired by the work of Huw Alden Davies (he’s one of my University tutors), I bought his book too. The work of Janire Nájera was captivating and was somehow haunting for me.
The work of Mark Arkless and Roger Tiley also grabbed my attention. I didn’t know it at the time but the work of Patricia Lay-Dorsey was going to impact on a future Uni assignment. This amazing woman responded to my enquiry about her genre of photography and she supported me as I ventured into a new realm of photography. She also critiqued my work before submission to my tutor. I’m very grateful to her.
The eclectic mix of exhibits at The Caravan Gallery held my attention for far too long, which curtailed my over-ambitious plans to visit each venue in one day. I returned to Diffusion 2015 later in the month to see one of my heroes, David Hurn, but his exhibit had closed; I must plan better for the next Diffusion.
My friend and fellow student Mike Williamson at one of the venues took the header photograph, featuring me and some other fella on a poster.