NEW BOOK: The Cork Civil Landscape

The title -“The Cork Civil Landscape”-situates this set of photographs within a long tradition of landscape art dating back to the Dutch Golden Age. Traditionally, landscape artists have included social and political commentary within their work. This portfolio carries on such traditions by highlighting the social and political dimensions of Cork’s civil landscape.

“Landscapes are normally thought of as formed by and consisting of natural and cultural forces”. (Benjamin Lorch, The Chicago School of Art, 2002).

Q.What/who are your influences: “Looking back it has to be Peter Breugel’s 1568 painting, – The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind, that has influenced my street photography. Breugel was a master in the observation of tension, place, time and most importantly contrapposto. Guided by Breugel’s attentiveness to tension, time, place and contrapposto, and by making structural references to classical landscape painting-I hope I have created a sense of authorship of representation in this photo-essay.”

Above image: Patrick’s day dancers. © S H Bean 2018

“Solidarity and sympathy with my photographic subjects is central to this approach, even when I do not necessarily agree with their causes or positions. They are, after all, expressing their freedom to assemble or to protest. I am aware to ambiguity, contrast and contradiction and I use these dimensions to elicit interpretation and create tension within the Image.

My images have a certain authorship about them which is predicated on my understanding as an artist, of what is going on.  When I connect and relate with participants, I am better able to modulate my own understandings in a way that changes how I interact with both the event and my lens. Moreover, relating to participants like this helps me to spot the contradictions and ambiguities that set up allegory in the images, reminiscent of Peter Breugel’s paintings.”

S H Bean © 2021