After Marville…

Posted on November 5, 2015


I have decided to rename my project, which is exploring redevelopment/gentrification in the East London districts of Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Whitechapel, After Marville…

The previous name Blueprint presumed the use of cyanotype as the means of printing the work. At this stage it seems much more appropriate to leave things open.

My tentative version one artist’s statement is set out below:

After Marville… statement version 1

I have also produced a short video of the early work I’ve completed on this project. The images included in the video are all digital which have been edited to appear like old photographic plates (to look like Marville’s images of Paris). The idea here is to give the viewer the impression that the images are old and potentially picturesque/anecdotal photographs of London. The truth is quite the opposite as the images show how the old East End is being overwhelmed by high rise steel and glass. The form of presentation also directly references Marville and his documentation of Paris in the 1800s although this point would most probably be lost on most viewers unfamiliar with this work.

The images were all shot on a handheld Sony A7s – a full frame but small digital camera. This camera is designed to produce high quality images at high iso, enabling hand held images to be produced in low light conditions. All have been taken with an Voightlander Super Wide-Heliar 15mm (version 1). This extreme wide angle lens enables me to capture a broad scene from close up – essential to the concept where I am attempting to show how large buildings are being constructed close to older houses, warehouses and shops. It does suffer however from optical aberration problems at the corners due to field curvature issues. This means that whilst the centre of the images is pretty sharp the corners are soft and a little distorted. In Marville’s day lens technology was at an early stage of development so this kind of problem might well have occurred (depending on the lenses he used). As such I am relatively happy with these imperfections.

In contrast to ‘Lifting the Curtain’ the images include people, as they are shot in daytime. However, due to the extreme wide angle of the lens I have been using the people look small, and are dominated by the buildings. This is a deliberate strategy to represent people as just small cogs in the larger ‘machine’ of redevelopment and gentrification.

The video can be viewed by clicking the photograph below:

After Marville… early work ©Keith Greenough

After Marville… early work ©Keith Greenough