For this brief I chose to make a journey around the grounds of Houghton Hall, it was at the time that the Richard Long exhibition Earth Sky was on display there so I thought that it would be very relevant to this section of the course. Rather than a journey to or from Houghton Hall I thought it would be more appropriate to try to produce a series of photographs that were inspired by the work of Richard Long – although they would not all be images of his work.
I was aware of the Long’s work from previous OCA modules, but before going to see the exhibition I researched further his work and style. CHILVERS (2009 p368) describes Long’s designs as “usually circles or other fairly simple geometrical shapes”. In the Curator’s Talk on the Richard Long exhibition at the Tate Heaven and Earth, WALLIS (2009) describes how the forms of Long’s work are simple “Line, cross, circle and spiral”. She also commented on Long’s “interest in symmetry”. What I thought was also interesting from her talk, and relevant to how I might photograph it, was the statement “Alignment is an important aspect of his work and also distance from which it is viewed”. DOUGLAS (2017) writes that “Landscape is Long’s medium; repetition, symmetry and measurement have defined his work”. These all influenced how I approached the assignment.
In all the images I have tried to bring out the geometry of the scene and, where possible, the symmetry. In the images featuring Long’s work I have tried to portray a feel for how they came over to me. I found this particularly difficult with White Deer Circle as this was on such a large scale, I wanted an image that showed all of the pieces in their setting, but this left a lot of space above and below. Although this very much showed the setting of the work it seems much more of a topographic view without conveying any sense of the work, so I included two images of the work, the second, I think, gives a better feel for the piece.
The weather on the day I visited was not particularly good with grey skies and intermittent heavy rain. I had, in fact, studied the long range forecast and booked tickets for a day that was supposed to be dry with some sunshine – it was not to be. But on the positive side the wet weather brought out the colour and texture of the stones. I also visited on the penultimate week of the exhibition, so not really giving any chance to revisit.
I was fortunate that this exhibition was near to me at a time when I was studying Land Art for this course. I think it has changed how I approached the task, really wanting to bring out the geometry of the images in a style influence by the work of Richard Long.
Chilvers, I. (2009) The Oxford dictionary of art and artists. (4th ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Douglas, C. (2017) Richard Long: EARTH SKY at Houghton Hall. At: http://www.contemporaryartsociety.org/news/friday-dispatch-news/richard-long-earth-sky-houghton-hall/ (Accessed on 11 October 2017)
Wallis, C. (2009) Richard Long: Curator’s Talk. At: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/audio/richard-long-curators-talk (Accessed on 11 October 2017)