A week or two ago I was looking at Andrew Hetherington‘s web site and wondering whether to write a blog post about this Dublin- born photographer who is currently extremely well-thought of in New York and whose work I first became aware of when he was selected for PDN’s 30 photographers to watch in 2003. (The site will still work if you allow pop-ups for it.)
I didn’t get round to writing about him then, largely because his site is so slow to load on my fairly basic 1Mb broadband connection that I got fed up. But just click on one of the portfolios and go and read e-mail for a minute or two or make a coffee, because they are really worth waiting for. Once loaded the site works reasonably slickly (almost as well as if it had been well-written in html) and the images are great – and good quality.
(You can also download each of the three portfolios as a PDF. Mix and Match 1 has I think 32 pictures and is around 3.2Mb. But I don’t recommend this, as someone has made rather a mess of this file – I didn’t bother to try the others. The image quality on screen is nothing like as good as you would expect from 100Kb jpegs, and very poor compared to the flash. They are also curiously distorted on my screen. The flash presentation shows images on my screen as sharp 98mm squares. At full size in the PDF they are extremly nastily artifacted and 198mm wide, 230 mm tall. The quality become almost acceptable when viewed at 33% but the distortion remains.)
One of Hetherington’s favourite photographers is obviously Martin Parr, but I say that not in any way to detract from his work but to locate it in a broad area of work. It’s easy to see why people are talking about him, and work that I think is successful in both artistic and commercial terms.
I came back to look at Hetherington’s web site thanks to a link from the EPUK newsletter about a feature on his blog, what’s the jackanory? where in a post called ‘London Calling‘ he picks up on a post by photographer Chris Floyd (have that mouse at the ready at the bottom left of this page to douse the music when that site loads) made as a comment on another blog, Rob Haggart’s A Photo Editor (is anyone in this business still taking pictures rather than typing into blogs?) with an interview in which he discusses with Chris Floyd the current state of photography in Britain.
Those of us in Britain will indeed recognise many of the things that Floyd says – and backs up from his own experience. The piece perhaps won’t endear itself to my friends in Birmingham, nor photographers in Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow etc with the comment “Britain is not like America. The UK media market is London, London, London. Trailing a distant fourth place is London” though it may be hard to argue differently.
But its a long, interesting and fairly wide-ranging conversation about the current state of the industry, with some comments on Martin Parr and Ryan McGinley among others, as well as on being an artist. Of course it comes from a particular viewpoint, and is between two photographers whose ways of thinking come very much from their successful commercial practice and shared experience in New York.
And while you are on Chris Floyd’s site (see link and note above), don’t miss The Nineties, in the Archive Section. Some fine pictures I can appreciate even though I’ve no interest in (and don’t recognise) most of the celebrated subjects.