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synonym journal / A new personal series

September 20, 2012

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A new series of photographs, “Ennui”
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I’m excited to tell you about a new personal project that I’ve been working on.

A few of the photos above are included in a brand-new publication – synonym journal, issue 1. The theme of the issue is “ennui”. It’s full of interesting, thought-provoking and beautiful work from a variety of contributors. There’s writing, drawing, photography, collage – it’s really amazing and it feels very fresh.  The list of contributors is pretty incredible, too.

synonym is the brainchild of Amelia Giller and my friend, Leigh Patterson. In the forward to the first issue, the editors talk about their idea for synonym and the theme of the issue, “ennui”. They explain what this theme means to them (and how it affected the direction of issue 1) in a really thoughtful, considered way that really resonates with me. It’s about boredom, discomfort and exhaustion with online digital content and a constant barrage of inspiration and expectations online.  But it’s also about the way the internet has the simultaneous ability to unify and provide a fertile ground for connection and for ideas to flow.  This disconnect resulted in issue 1.

You should buy a copy immediately.
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. . . .
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I used the theme of “ennui” to launch a new photographic project of my own, and 4 of the photos from this new series have been included in synonym.

Here are some of my thoughts about this series that I’ve written down to give some context and background:

I wanted to explore my boredom and frustration with current food photography and the overused ways of seeing and shooting food – specifically, representations of food as a prop that is not meant to be eaten or enjoyed, but fetishised and obsessed over. A certain aesthetic has become ubiquitous and inescapable, even in a non-commercial context — and this aesthetic often feels fake and unoriginal to me.

As a result, I’ve been experimenting with my own food photography. The photos illustrate a part of this process of experimentation. Many of them almost appear to be “behind the scenes” images from a typical food photoshoot – they offer a comment on “staging” and food as a prop.

I also want a sense of thoughtful exploration and experimentation to come through – the photos are an attempt to show my process and a work-in-progress, one that is both playful and meditative. I want to explore the qualities of food that make it such an appealing prop: color, shape and texture. Most of all, I want the work and my process in creating it to be thoughtful and considered and to feel personal.

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. . . .
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This new series is ongoing, and I hope to continue to play with these concepts and create new work. I hope you like the photos, and I welcome your feedback and thoughts via email – brianwferry (at) gmail (dot) com

In the meantime, buy a copy of synonym! You won’t regret it.
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14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2012 2:25 pm

    I didn’t even finish reading this post before heading over and ordering a copy! Pretty much would buy anything You and Leigh are involved in:) I’m really excited to meet her and Michael when I go to Austin in November.

    This is such a great series, Brian. I’m so bored right now with my usual observation-style photography and I’m itching to do some type of series, something I haven’t done since my photography class days at college. Coming up with a concept that doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard to force a theme is tricky and yours turned out beautifully – subtle yet interesting, but also still entirely your style and not a totally different direction than your other work.

    You’re always making me think, Mr. Ferry.

  2. September 20, 2012 5:53 pm

    B,
    A really great description. Love your contribution. Miss & love.

  3. September 20, 2012 6:17 pm

    I’m happy this exists.

  4. September 20, 2012 10:55 pm

    “… representations of food as a prop that is not meant to be eaten or enjoyed, but fetishised and obsessed over.” best quote! can’t wait for Synonym to arrive Australia in the coming week or so.

  5. September 21, 2012 4:34 am

    B,
    Thanks for turning us on to the Synonym Journal, sounds like a great project! Love what you say around food photography, it is something that I continually struggle with. How do I present food in a way that feels expressive in a genuine and uncontrived way of what I am trying to say about it? Good things to think on. Take care.

    D

  6. Esther permalink
    September 22, 2012 12:56 am

    B,

    Love all photos here. Your photos mean & say a lot to me. Thanks for being there.

    E

  7. September 22, 2012 4:09 pm

    LOVE the Lily & juice. Elegant.

  8. September 25, 2012 6:05 pm

    Excellent playful and meditative, and beautiful!

  9. September 26, 2012 4:15 pm

    Eat the props! Really like the different light in all of these, B – great series.

  10. September 27, 2012 2:32 am

    absolutely love this series!

  11. September 27, 2012 10:52 am

    i love your enthusiam towards this theme of work, something i dont think i have seen before! i really enjoy your use of light and colors to make something as simple as food, so intriguing to just look at.

    also wanting to take some sort of photo project on myself, thank you for the inspiration. :)

  12. September 27, 2012 11:38 am

    Really love this. Nice work!

  13. September 30, 2012 5:06 pm

    Hi Brian – such an interesting idea, and an inspired publication. Congratulations. In thinking about your going “behind the scenes” on traditional food-proppery … love the idea. And some gorgeous photos. I also think it’s interesting how this echoing/critiquing is also in part upholding the artificial food aesthetic you critique – because while you pan out and show us all the staging elements, we also are still seeing a watermelon sliced so artfully and in a way we would never slice it if we were planning to eat it. But the question is – which is more staged? Intentional reveal of the artfulness of food design, or intentional concealment to try and make the food appear “real” (and therefore artless)? In your pictures, we get to see that those perfect slices are, in fact, art – and that there is an artistic reality to the perfect slice that trumps the artifice of creating an “imperfect perfect” slice instead.

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  1. Ennui, synonym. | JESSICA STANLEY.

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