am 28. Oktober 2011
A very welcome third title from the Caravan Gallery and the perceptive eyes of Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale. The photos here carry on the theme of the previous books and having recently looked through them all it does seem that the two photographers still manage to captured a unique vision of the Nation. I thought it was interesting to compare the photos in the first book with those in the next two. There seems a shift away from the hard-edge vulgarity in book one to a more mature perception of the everyday environment in this one.
The photos look at the urban landscape and pick out what most passers-by don't even notice because it's there all the time but presented as a large photos on the page they immediately pull you into the frame. A good example of this is the Mad Sales shop in Gravesend with a stack of stock on the pavement, shot straight on and bursting with colour and detail. The Leith, Edinburgh, Ocean terminal looks like a derelict site but a gleaming white cruise liner is moored there. So many photos reveal the everyday and make it look interesting, frequently helped by an incongruous notice. Some of the images are just downright quirky: a snowman in a Portsmouth street has two huge, red, round blotches for his eyes and a beer bottle tucked under his arm.
The 125 photos are mostly one to a page. A few pages have two photos mostly, close-ups of off-beat notices and signs. Perhaps these photos should have been four to a page because having taken in the ironic message they convey there is not much else to look at.
A book of photos like these might not be to everybody's taste but I've always like the way Teasdale and Williams capture the commonplace of real Britain. This third book continues their unique vision.