for most of it i have no words
there is perhaps no other greater influence in my photography than SIMON NORFOLK. i met him at a workshop in bath, england in 1999 and besides being one of the most intense personalities ive encountered he was gracious and informative and genuinely interested in helping the attendees become better photographers. a few years later i had an extended layover in london while traveling back to the states from uganda, where i had just finished a few weeks work on a dairy farm in the luweero triangle, and i met simon for coffee. since that time we’ve sporatically kept in touch, and his career has catapulted and rightfully so- there are few photographers who are able to translate such sensitive societal issues such as war and genocide through a global perspective and into compelling, contemplative, beautifully rendered images. i doubt i could even get a email reply from him now, but in lew of this you and i can vicariously experience a conversation with simon via lensculture, where theres a nice interview available for download. go check it out HERE. but maybe before that you should go to BLDGBLOG and read a great interview by Geoff Manaugh. While most artwork suffers when artists speak about who/what for/why, simon does nothing but inform his work by speaking about it and in turn deepens the context and content.
My favorite part of the interview is this-
NORFOLK: Well, I cannot fucking believe that I go into an art gallery and people want to piss their lives away not talking about what’s going on in the world. Have they not switched on their TV and seen what’s going on out there? They have nothing to say about that? They’d rather look at pictures of their girlfriend’s bottom, or at their top ten favorite arseholes? Switch on the fucking telly and see what’s going on in our world – particularly these last five years. If you’ve got nothing to say about that, then I wonder what the fucking hell you’re doing.
The idea of producing work which is only of interest to a couple of thousand people who have got art history degrees… The point of the world is to change it, and you can’t change it if you’re just talking about Roland Barthes or structuralist-semiotic gobbledygook that only a few thousand people can understand, let alone argue about.
and here is one of my favorite pictures by simon, the ash pond at auschwitz-