Dean O'Brien's Blog

University….Introducing me to the most fascinating photographers

with 2 comments

Since starting University in Coventry I have found myself constantly searching for things which will make me become a better photographer.  As my usual lecturer JW is away this term we have had Sally from Brighton standing in teaching in his place.  Last week we had a slideshow as I was introduced to the work of Sophie Calle.  If you have never seen her work before then get hold of her books.  These are not just books of images but personal extracts from her life.  I was introduced by Sally to images from the book ‘Exquisite Pain’.  This book tells the story of Sophie going away and her lover promising to wait for when she returned.  Quite heartbreaking to read and it has been described as ‘a testament to the heartache of romantic rejection’.

If you get the chance, just have a look at her books and the work that goes into them.  I am not just talking about the images and the narrative.  These are not ‘normal’ run of the mill books.  They often have different textured pages, complete with little inserts attached between the pages that relate to her stories and images.  The book ‘Double Game’ comes tied up in a beautiful ribbon whilst ‘Did You See Me?’ has a sponge like cover and has wafer thin mini inserts which contain images and text.  These add to the mystery of Sophie Calle’s work.  The book ‘Take Care of Yourself’ is presented with a pink mirrored cover.  It contains four cd’s hidden in the book in lime green envelopes and like many of her other books contains those inserts which just ooze ‘personal touch’.

I have come to the conclusion that Sophie Calle is not your ‘normal’ photographer.  She is a very deep thinker who manages to pull you into her world.  A crazy, deep thinking romantic who again like many photographers is making me look at things in a whole new light.  I had previously looked at the work of Nan Goldin and Elinor Carucci but Sophie has taken me to a whole new level.  Documentary style photography with a narrative to leave you smiling or in tears.  What a pleasure to discover such a deep thinking artist.

My photography is going to be a long journey.  I want to take you on that journey with me through my images.  Thank you all for taking the time to read my posts.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

February 8, 2010 at 11:21 pm

2 Responses

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  1. A highly original photographer who thinks outside the box!

    Chris Alford

    January 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm

  2. Hello Dean I see on one of your tweets that you have Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans [Hardcover]
    I have a copy of that too. Great book which is really insightful.
    Another book by Frank I recommend is Peru.

    Chris Alford

    February 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm


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