This body of work represents the journey my art-making has taken, whilst working on exploring the importance of visual literacy in my pedagogical practices. My long standing practice of symbolist landscape photography has been further developed as an important visual literacy tool by constructing my two-dimensional photographs into three-dimensional artist books to further the potential of a visual narrative.
I feel that the interpretative language of photography is important to harness into a dialogue with the present day’s visual culture. The photographer can allow factual stories to be told and fictional stories to be created. Using photography in this manner, in conjunction with the tactile nature of an artist book, strengthens the value and importance of the visual image as a means of communication; allowing the reader to touch and explore the narratives that are created.
This collection of artist books, which comprise of various digital printed and silk screen printed papers, identifies three very distinct parts of the world. These domains that I have treated as found objects, lend themselves well to the interpretative nature of the photographic image, along with having a sense of home for me – Scotland, Norway and the North-East coast of America. These psychogeographic photographs I have taken of these destinations all have linear or geometric elements, with naturalist colours and forms creating ominous atmospheric undertones – void of human subjects in both land and cityscapes. I further mute and manipulate these colours when transferring them into a screen print. I feel that this provokes the viewer into having a more interpretative reaction; quietly restful, reflective, silent destinations that evoke the asking of questions. The form of the artist book is then considered once the print is completed.
With these contexts in mind, this compilation of artist books serve as artefacts or mementos of my present entwined with my past; small sculptures constructed around and captured through the photographing of moments in time, then printed with traditional techniques and finally sewn together intricately. Finally, they are presented as a precious piece of artwork in their own right. I feel the completed books reflect the quiet, thought-provoking nature of the original photographs themselves, leaving the viewer to piece together their own interpretations of the haunting landscapes within them.
The materials I use to make the books are both traditional book-making media such as linen threads, book cloth and grey board, along with found and collected hand printed materials such as maps, fishing line, embroidery threads, tracing paper and screen printed papers. Together they form objects that implore to be handled, read, interpreted, analysed and discussed; as a consequence, they maintain my belief that the visual image is an important tool in promoting visual literacy.
“Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire.” (Sontag, 1979, p. 4)
Sontag, S. (1979) On Photography. London: Penguin.
Jo McIntosh's Blog
Reading the Art and Design Classroom: Towards a Broader Understanding of Literacy Across the Currculum