British based Swedish photographer Thom Bridge shares insights into his practice as our next guest editor for our Instagram Takeover, April 2018.
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Thom Bridge is a British/Swedish artist working from London. Bridge’s photographic practice is characterised by his continued investigation into the dualities found between photographic language, his mother tongue (English) and his recently learned mother’s tongue (Swedish). It is within these multiplicities that his practice operates—never one or the other, English or Swedish, analogue or digital, one twin or the other, but in fact always both. Bridge has exhibited a variety of photographic works in solo and group presentations internationally, ranging from straight-forward prints to sculptural works and installations. Educated in both Britain and Sweden, at the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham and Valand Academy respectively, Bridge currently lecturers in Photography at Canterbury Christ Church University.
Untitled (Pied), 2016. Inkjet on paper, nailed to discarded plywood sheet. Detail view. • During my time at the #selsewhere residency in Norway I started by scanning all of the magpie feathers in my collection. Using the selection tools in Photoshop I then masked out black and white areas of the feathers to create a series of cut-out shapes. Through a process of shuffling and rearranging the masked-out layers, like reordering the individual components of a collage, I arrived at this final image. • • • @thom_bridge posting for #photoworks_uk #ThomBridgePhotoworks #instagramtakeover #ThomBridge #Selsewhere #Sel #Gudbrandsdalen #Norway #Residency #Magpie #Feather
Without Titles from the series Pied, 2017-18. Unique digital fibre-based silver gelatin prints. • When writing about Walker Evans’ habits as a collector and a photographer in the essay “Almost The Same Thing”: Some Thoughts on the Collector-Photographer @davidcampany writes that “At their most similar collecting and photographing entail accumulation, a faith in the object, but also an understanding that accumulation, collecting, is a fundamentally transformative process.” • Pied 2017-18 is a new work, in which the source material for the work has been something I’ve been collecting to photograph for many years—black and white magpie feathers. Like the magpie itself I’ve been gathering and collecting, scouring everywhere I go for these black and white shapes, in hedge rows and grassy banks, seeing black and white at every turn. • As Swedish-speaking Finnish author Tove Jansson wrote in her fantastic novel The Summer Book “Gathering is peculiar, because you see nothing but what you’re looking for. If you’re picking raspberries, you see only what’s red, and if you’re looking for bones you see only white. No matter where you go, the only thing you see is bones”. —All I see is black and white; litter, leaves, chicken bones and condoms. Feathers too, pigeons, seabirds and woodpeckers. But finally a single feather, and the right one this time. • Produced digitally and presented as unique fibre-based silver gelatin prints optimised for digital exposure, Pied has well over a million possible layered black/white & positive/negative versions. The work takes advantage of the dumb intelligence of selection and masking tools within digital software to re-image and re-complicate the pied black and white nature of the feathers. The interplay between the digital rendering and outputting of the image itself and its physical, chemical and analogue manifestation allows for a new pied and both analogue/digital and positive/negative optical reading of these black and white objects. • • • @thom_bridge posting for #photoworks_uk #ThomBridgePhotoworks #instagramtakeover #ThomBridge #Magpie #Feather #Collection #BlackAndWhite #Gradient #SilverGelatin #Analogue #Digital #ToveJansson
In 2017, Thom Bridge received the Artquest Peer Forum Grant in partnership with The Photographers’ Gallery and set up Field/s, a peer forum that meets once a month, bringing together thirteen artists, photographers and curators based across the UK. For each session the group is joined by a new visitor aiming to promote cross-disciplinary and intergenerational conversations between arts professionals. Visitors have included artist and curator Tom Lovelace, Tate Modern curator Emma Lewis, Swedish artist Lotta Antonsson and Norwegian photographer, writer and editor in chief of Objektiv Journal, Nina Strand. Field/s members are Thom Bridge, Andrew Bruce, Emma Bäcklund, Philipp Dorl, Kim Jakobsen To, Maria Kapajeva, Laura Hensser, Julie Hill, Ryan Moule, Anja Olofgörs, Martin Seeds and Monica Takvam.
Untitled (Pied), 2016. Made during (S)elsewhere residency, Norway. • In 2016 I was invited to take part in a residency at #selsewhere in Norway with fellow artist Karin Sandberg @songforkaren. Located a few hours north of Lillehammer and close to Rondane National Park, the (S)elsewhere artist residency takes place at Sel every summer in Gudbrandsdalen. Run by artists Hannah Rosvoll @hannahrosvoll and Erlend Dokken @erlenddoc, (S)elsewhere offers newly educated artists the possibiliy to live and work at Nerøygarden farm, as well as the opportunity to show their work in the local community at Sel. • During my time at (S)elsewhere I produced the first iteration of the work Pied. I’d taken with me my collection of magpie feathers and during my time there I started scanning and manipulating the black and white feathers. • At the end of the residency Karin and I exhibited the works we’d made inside (S)elsewhere’s newly built mobile gallery. The gallery was pulled by tractor and toured from Sel to Otta and up the mountain to Høvringen. • I exhibited Untitled (Pied) as an A2 inkjet print nailed onto a sheet of leftover plywood from the construction of the mobile gallery. On the posters for the exhibition I’d asked visitors to bring magpie feathers with them, these were then exhibited together with the work. • The images above show the (S)elsewhere Mobile Gallery as well as a film still from Karin’s work Småen, which I helped to film. • • • @thom_bridge posting for #photoworks_uk #ThomBridgePhotoworks #instagramtakeover #ThomBridge #KarinSandberg #Selsewhere #Sel #Otta #Høvringen #Gudbrandsdalen #Norway #Residencey #MobileGallery #Tractor #Magpie #Cows
Att flygga/Att falla, ongoing collaboration with Kirsti Taylor Bye. • Norwegian artist Kirsti Taylor Bye @krstii and I have been slowly working on a collaboration that looks at our shared interest in the overlaps between flying, falling, orbits and suspension in photography, archives, space travel and birds. Working between Sweden and the UK, like magpies we gather source material for our project, ranging from books on natural history and teach-yourself astrophotography, to found jpegs and feathers as well as our own photographs. • A few years ago Kirsti sent me a photocopy of a magpie feather in the posts from her home in Sweden. In return I sent her a plan print enlargement of a magpie feather that I’d found. Every now and then we’ll send each other new ones. The images above are of four of the photocopies I received from Kirsti and one of the enlargers I sent her in return. • • • @thom_bridge posting for #photoworks_uk #ThomBridgePhotoworks #instagramtakeover #ThomBridge #KirstiTaylorBye #Collaboration #Magpie #Feather #Collection #Flying #Falling #Photocopy #Post #PostalArt
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