Image by Richard Boll

Exhibition Review: Counter Memory by MA Photography at Brighton University

Photography telling stories in a ‘world beyond language’ through ‘objects which cannot always be seen’ was celebrated in the Brighton MA Degree Show 2016.

In her foreword to Counter-Memory, Joanna Lowry explained these are not images which support the collective memory bonding communities to support the status quo but predominantly a discourse of fragments.

“This is a more disruptive form of memory that irrupts into those cultural spaces and offers the opportunity for something alternative to be revealed,” she wrote.

“Maybe something that we can hardly name, a story spoken by someone who might be forgotten returning us to a moment in a history that has become deformed, a desire that we fear to recognize, or a personal memory that has lost its original shape and which forces itself to become visible and taken account of at this moment, in this image, in the here and now.”

Three of the most striking bodies of work in the show were produced by long-term Spectrum customers: Martin Seeds, Richard Boll and Richard Burniston.

Martin’s Assembly is a body of work set in the Stormont Estate, the home of the Northern Island Assembly.

“The work uses the power of photography to generate allegory – letting the plants, trees and foliage deliver a message from the grounds surrounding the Northern Ireland parliament building about the struggles embedded in a fragile political landscape,” said Martin.

“Assembly suggests the importance of the grounds as a common material space beyond culture in which difference and likeness are both articulated and intertwined in a natural world outside of the political chamber.”

There is another chance to view Assembly during the Brighton Photo Fringe.

A preview will be held from 6pm to 8.30pm on Friday, October 7, at No.10 The Regency Town House Basement, The Housekeepers’ Room, Hove.

The exhibition is on from October 1 to October 30, Thursday to Sunday, midday to 6pm.

Richard Boll’s Six Degrees of Freedom is a response to the late seascapes of the painter J.M.W. Turner and the challenges photography faces in expressively rendering the sea.

It saw him sail out and fit pinhole cameras to buoys in The Solent, with exposures ranging from two minutes to an hour, to reveal eerie seascapes of an elusive world.

“The project creates an interplay between control and chance,” said Richard.

“The aspects of control include the selection of the buoy, the choice of the time of day to make the images and the duration of the exposures. There is chance, however, in is the unpredictable movement of the buoy.

“The resulting photographs are renderings of the sea and sky, directly produced by the six directions of movement that affect a buoyant object.”

Following the death of his parents, Richard Burniston realised his oldest memories were ‘imperfect, fragmented and disordered’.

“Perturbed by this fading away of self I travelled to a place forbidden to me as a child, a wooded valley bordering our suburban home, and set loose a counter-factual proxy – a boy of ten who was like me but who was not me – to play freely in this archaic green space,” he said.

His resulting exploration of the valley and attempt to ‘yield an anterior space of new memory’ were captured in Hogsmill Valley (1977).

Copy by Sheena Campbell

Image by Richard Burniston
Installation view: Images by Martin Seeds