Matters of Fact
Matters of Fact is the name given to an installation piece and a set of prints that I made as my contribution to a group show called ‘So-Called Life’ held at Camberwell Space, London in 2007.
For Matters of Fact I took a box of old and degraded B&W printing paper and quickly and roughly printed on to it an almost random selection of images, drawn from different times, places and different media (e.g. colour, 35mm slides, 6×6 cm B&W negatives, large and small format colour negs etc.)
I regarded this as a way of promoting photography’s peculiarly democratic, anti-hierarchical ability to question traditional valuations and aspire to ‘transvalue values’.
I hoped that the audience would perhaps be diverted away from their usual habits of judgement and towards reconsideration of the value of photography itself, or be encouraged to attend to the quality of images (rather than any particular image), to set aside semiotic readings and interpretations based on the identity, aims or psychology of the artist.
I consciously drew attention both to the materiality of photography and to its habits of display by the use of a constructed pin board (itself an discomforting refutation of the pristine white gallery wall) and by explicit use of excessive pinning.
Prints were hung and juxtaposed randomly, some in glossy archive sleeves, some naked, and all with the aim of avoiding established ‘values’ of order or trophy-like display.
In many ways this was ‘bad’ or ‘anti-’ photography and yet the prints that were made through this process (some left wounded by the crude pins) retain a certain charm and beauty which has even led to sales.
In retrospect, this piece also alludes to a question of ‘volume’ confronting all photographers, and particularly today, in that the sheer quantity of images produced brings their individual value into question. Here I wanted the audience to look hard for what is really valuable about photography or a particular photograph, that overcomes this issue of volume and transcends matters of material quality, fine printing etc.
‘Volume’ has subsequently become the theme of an emerging project, in writing and potentially curating.