A Gradual Stiffening

— Eleanor Wright/Sam Watson


If it is easy to find theoretical publications about issues of time in photography, it proves quite hard to find any about concepts of place in photography. More than any other medium, a photograph tends to evoke questions on where it was taken and whether the world depicted involves a “real” or constructed place. But what, in fact, is the difference between the experience of a place in real life and in a photograph? And in which ways do a photograph’s context and the characteristics of the medium influence our experience of place in a photo?

A Gradual Stiffening is an ongoing photographic series made in collaboration with artist Eleanor Wright, exhibited and presented publicly within projects under the collective authorial name Eleanor Wright/Sam Watson since 2014. The series intends to in some way deal with the plasticity that we feel exists around both research and exhibition making and the perception or reading of objects and artistic/curatorial research, using the plasticity of photography as a way of talking about the movement of ‘subject’.

Within photography (and therefore the installation shot) the photographer’s eye is perpetually evaluating, he can modify perspectives by a slight bend of the knees or a quarter degree turn. By placing the camera further or nearer to the subject, he draws a detail and composes a picture in the speed of a reflex action. The subjects in A Gradual Stiffening are largely a combination of a series of artworks and exhibition furniture that we develop together for previous and concurrent exhibitions and a collection of what we term peripheral objects. Within the series, these images are disrupted by photographs of architectural and urban details,both large and small.

In the case of using objects (research and material samples, etc.) these have been incorporated into a series of interchangeable ‘support structures’, which in themselves allude to pieces of furniture or display objects that we originally created for our exhibition ‘Soft Start’.

We are interested in how various artworks and objects of design can work together, in multiple ways, to provide a structure and support for other artworks, ideas and objects around them. This is also how we attempt to treat the process of our collaborations.