John Myers is back with new book called Looking at the Overlooked – a good title for a photographer who specialises in images of the unremarkable, and who himself nearly fell from photographic history. Working in Britain’s post-industrial Midlands from 1973-1981, Myers created an archive of the unspectacular that attracted attention at the time but then lay undisturbed for 30 years until a chance meeting with a curator. A solo show at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery followed in 2011, kick-starting a comprehensive reappraisal at his work that’s resulted in more solo shows and several publications.
Looking at the Overlooked is published by RBB Photobooks, which also published a collection of Myer’s portraits earlier this year. But where The Portraits focused in on pictures of people, Looking at the Overlooked is a glorious compendium of “the claustrophobia of the suburban landscape in the 1970s”. Focusing in on substations, shops, houses, televisions, and so-called “landscapes without incident” – or as Myers puts it, “boring photographs” – the images are all recorded with a deadpan aesthetic that’s won Myers comparisons to the celebrated New Topographics movement in the US.
Born in 1983 in the United States, Lucas Foglia grew up on a small farm some 30 miles east of New York city. His family grew their own food and lived a life away from the bustle of shopping centres and the surrounding suburbs. “The forest that bordered the farm was my childhood wilderness,” he says. “It was a wild place to play that was ignored by our neighbours, who commuted to Manhattan.” But in 2012 Hurricane Sandy charged through his family’s fields, flooding the farm and blowing down the oldest trees in the woods. “On the news, scientists linked the storm to climate change caused by human activity,” Foglia recalls. “I realised that if humans are changing the weather then there is no place on earth unaltered by people. I looked through my archive and set aside some photographs that became the seeds for my third book.”
“It is possibly useful to think of creative photography as a narrow but deep area lying between the cinema and the novel,” Lewis Baltz once said. The life and work of the New Topographics photographer, who died in Paris on November 22 at the age of 69, is recalled by his close friend, the photography critic Gerry Badger. The first thing to be said about Lewis Baltz is that he was one of the most intelligent of photographic artists. To say that may seem redundant, because any artist in the premier division – and Baltz was certainly in the premier division, up near the top of the table – is going to be intelligent. But there are different kinds of intelligence. Eugène Atget was undoubtedly intelligent, but it is unlikely that it was of the order of Baltz’s, which was prodigious, both in terms of his art, of his artistic milieu, of the other arts, and most importantly, of the world around him, which he regarded with a degree of healthy scepticism. Baltz was a leading figure in …