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Exhibition Outtakes

April 10, 2012

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Today I’m sharing a few more outtakes from my upcoming exhibition – these won’t be included in the show at Standard Goods but I love them anyway.

Also, I’ve been meaning to talk more about the idea behind the photos — the concept and where it came from, the meaning of the title (“This Is What Was Once All Yours”), and what I tried to accomplish with this new work.

David John, the man behind the great website “You Have Been Here Sometime”, asked me some questions about this recently and he’s posted our conversation today on his site. I’m posting a short excerpt below.

“This Is What Was Once All Yours.” Where did this phrase come from?

Brian Ferry: “This Is What Was Once All Yours” is a line from a short story by Justin Taylor, included in his book “Everything here is the best thing ever.” I read it a few months ago and wrote it down – I think it’s such a loaded phrase. The line stuck with me and as I was thinking about the concept for this show, I saw my note and it immediately gave me an idea. Something about the phrase implies an active loss, rather than a passive one – where you have actively given something up. It also implies a sense of access and possession, but in the past tense. The photos for this show were all shot in the UK, where I lived from November 2009 to November 2011. I chose to move back to the US for a variety of reasons; it wasn’t an easy decision and I’ve missed many things about my life in London since returning home. London felt like a city that really suited me in many ways. I returned for a 10-day visit in early March 2012 and I wanted to explore the idea of giving up my life in the UK – and what I had left behind. I knew that it would be interesting to return to England only a short time after moving back to the US. My hope was to capture some of the things that I left in the UK – not necessarily specific things (like my old flat or a favorite coffee shop) but more abstract, emotionally-charged stuff. There is a sense of nostalgia, perhaps – but I think it’s more than that. I returned to England with a very different state of mind than when I left. It was important to allow myself to feel that change and hopefully let the change show in the photos I took. I wanted the work to explore change & transition and the mixed feelings that can accompany that.

DJ: Will you expand on the “more abstract, emotionally-charged stuff.”

BF: I wanted to capture something about the UK that is difficult to put into words for me – those subtle things that feel distinctive to me. It’s about memory and aesthetics and environment. I guess this is why I am a photographer – it’s easier for me to show you, not to tell you – I want to share a small part of my experience with you visually.

Head over to You Have Been Here Sometime for the rest of the conversation. (Thanks to David for the thoughtful conversation and for his support).

Generally speaking, these photos are a meditation on what I left behind in the UK. They feel different than my previous work in certain ways, too – so they are also forward-looking. Once the show opens on April 21, I’ll share the photos online.

More soon.

  1. April 10, 2012 2:28 pm

    I love these. The third and fifth are especially poignant in terms of the exhibition concept — choice/free will vs. natural inevitability, both inherent in active loss.

  2. April 10, 2012 3:53 pm

    Wow. Congratulations. These are wonderful!

  3. April 10, 2012 3:58 pm

    Love these.

  4. April 10, 2012 4:31 pm

    Love these. Was thinking about your photos this evening as we enjoyed a Camden lager at the Southampton Arms.

  5. April 10, 2012 4:35 pm

    Just read the whole interview; it’s incredibly inspiring, Brian!

  6. marthasnail permalink
    April 10, 2012 4:39 pm

    i’m drawn to the same two as winnie. your interview is really wonderful, b. it reminds me that i’ve always wanted to go back to my hometown to photograph it. love the title of your show and your description of what it means to you. can’t wait to see the rest of the photographs.

  7. awfrederick permalink
    April 10, 2012 8:55 pm

    That third image is absolutely unbelievable.

  8. Meg permalink
    April 10, 2012 10:37 pm

    the third and fifth photos are something else. this show looks amazing. just in seeing these photos, it feels as though you’ve really pushed yourself with these photos and this show.

  9. April 11, 2012 3:07 am

    Love this set, Brian. Great to see your interview on YHBHS.

  10. April 11, 2012 4:14 am

    The second one gets me… the back garden of a post-war semi on a grey, autumnal English morning with a little melancholy in the air. Reminds me of my grandparents’ garden, evidence of human tending but slowly returning to nature.

  11. April 11, 2012 8:22 pm

    Beautiful pictures :) You are truly lucky to have live in the UK. I’ve always dreamt about moving there for a while. I particularly love the photo of the rainboots.. I’ve never had a pair myself, but one day, I hope to have a pair of worn out, muddy rainboots that carry with them a number of fun memories.

  12. April 12, 2012 4:15 pm

    Love the fifth picture. Looks like english wallpaper gone wild.

  13. lisa permalink
    April 12, 2012 9:34 pm

    Loved the interview

  14. April 13, 2012 10:00 am

    lovely pictures as usually

  15. April 13, 2012 12:14 pm

    I feel especially drawn to the shot of the road and tunneled hedge, as well as the last one of fallen flower petals on a grey day. I really enjoyed reading about the story behind your project.

  16. April 13, 2012 6:55 pm

    Stunning. Brilliant. Nothing less than I would have expected.

  17. April 14, 2012 1:34 pm

    This is a great concept and title. Especially in this times where home is such an ellusive place or even a no-place at all but a state of mind, I’ve been working around that idea too. I’ve moved 4 years ago from my home and I’m planning to leave again soon, so I really would like to see your exhibition. Good work Brian.

    PS. The wellies, brilliant.

  18. April 14, 2012 2:12 pm

    I also made the decision to leave London and have very similar feelings of nostalgia and “missing.” In fact, having lived in four different countries and moved homes more than 20 times in the last three decades, I experience those notions a lot. To the point where lately I’ve been feeling rather fragmented and longing for a place to stay and call home with a ferociousness that is taking me by surprise. I loved your interview on so many levels and your photos always help me ground myself when I am in danger of becoming too lost. Good luck with your exhibition! Kerstin

  19. April 14, 2012 5:01 pm

    These are very beautiful photos and I really loved reading about your idea behind the exhibition, especially the name. As I have just left a city I lived in for a long time to go somewhere very different, it really connects with me.

  20. April 17, 2012 4:40 am

    great interview. congrats for the exhibition!

  21. Jimjam permalink
    April 26, 2012 7:00 am

    the road and the petal fall are stunning – I can imagine them huge – they remind me so much of the area I am lucky enough to live in, of course I only sometimes take a camera out with me and it’s usually my low res phone one

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