Friday, 19 September 2008

Stephen Gill

I'm rarely up to date with all that is happening in the UK, and it was only recently via a roundabout route that I discovered the photography of Stephen Gill. This was also the result of discovering the work of Jon Ronson very late too, particularly his series of radio shows, Jon Ronson On. Jon Ronson mentioned the photographs of Stephen Gill, notably his series Invisible, which naturally enough featured in the episode Jon Ronson on...How to be Invisible. I realise that I am about 3 years behind the times, but bare with me please!

I was particularly taken by the revelation that he "wears a fluorescent jacket when he's taking photographs and doesn't want to draw attention to himself". His subject in this book is in the city workers, the people who fix and repair and keep the city ticking over. He suggests that as we are not interested in them and what they do, they go unseen, despite the fact that they wear the brightest clothing possible. This disguise or invisibility has been noted by criminal gangs who have taken to wearing this form of clothing which makes it safer for them to operate in broad daylight than at night.

It struck me that his theory was in essence very similar to mine with a slightly different focus. Whilst my main interest is the invisible buildings of a city, he was interested in the invisible people. However, the reasons for this invisibility are largely similar. These are the workers, the people and objects that serve a very real purpose, and it is perhaps their usefulness that renders them invisible.

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