“I see the bastard countryside everywhere I go,” says Robin Friend, pointing out of the window of his studio in East London, where an ivy plant has climbed up a nearby wall and is wrapping its vines around a rusting CCTV camera. “I ran with this idea of city and countryside splattering into each other, creating this hybrid nature,” explains Friend, who has been producing photographs for his book, unknowingly at first, for 15 years since he started started his BA in Brighton, where he studied under Jem Southam.
“Bastard countryside” is a phrase coined by Victor Hugo in his novel Les Miserables, in which he describes the city of Paris as an “amphibian”, stretching out into the countryside and devouring everything in its path. It is a zone in which the urban and rural mix, the manmade and the natural, clashing and colliding to create a strange form of beauty and ugliness.
Photographers including Sally Mann, Jeff Jacobsen and Charles Harbutt discuss the tensions between analogue and digital
It began in March 2015 when David Yates, a client of photographer and fine art printer Mike Crawford, turned up at his print studio, Lighthouse Darkroom, with a “shopping trolleyful” of old boxes of expired photographic paper. The next day, he brought another. The two loads were what was left of a mass clear-out of Yates’ late grandfather Bret Sampson’s darkroom. The British photographer’s London studio was his first port of call, given that Crawford was already working with Yates on another of his personal projects.
Kickstarter has arguably revolutionised photography, allowing image-makers to source crowdfunding for big projects, and therefore help bring trends such as self-publishing to life. It’s now commonplace for photographers to announce they’re making a book and start a Kickstarter campaign to fund printing it, for example – but the platform only launched in 2009, and Arnold van Bruggen and Rob Hornstra were very early adopters when they used it to fund the first book in The Sochi Project (which was published in early 2010). Now Kickstarter has announced a new initiative allowing artists, collectives, and communities to seek funding on a more ongoing, subscription-like basis, rather than for one-off projects. Called Drip, it was soft-launched on 15 November and, so far, is only open to creatives invited by the platform – though of course anyone who wants to fund a project is now welcome. Drip is scheduled to open up to more creatives at the start of 2018.