1972 – Going Places II

How do you cope with picture overload? Well, I know how Juha does, he just posts an impossible series of pictures every day and does not sweat about it. But how do you mere mortals, people like you and I, do it?

In my case processing Saturday’s images cost me most of Sunday. I made some Sunday images, macro shots that I took at home, but so far I didn’t even find the time to copy them to my computer.

On Saturday I had to go to a shopping mall in Villach, and although we had guests in the evening and I knew I would have to cook, I had at least an hour to stroll around and take pictures.

It was a sunny day and there were many options. After leaving the mall I could have been in an entirely rural area within ten minutes. Instead I decided to take a walk through the not-so-fashionable outskirts of Villach.

When I started it, I did not exactly know what I was look in for. I merely followed a feeling, but while I took pictures, a terminus rose to consciousness: “Non-Places”.

You probably know the term, there is a book by Marc Augé called “Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity“, this is the book that coined the term, but even if you (like I) have not read the book at all, you certainly know places like those that the book talks about.

Non-places are places that lack character, places that we normally don’t even recognize as such. The importance of the concept lies in the fact that most of our environment consists of non-places and of the fact that more and more places are converted into non-places.

Don’t get me wrong, a non-place can be very interesting as a photographic subject, although or especially because it lacks full definition. Non-places are blanks slates that we can use to write our stories. They are useful as artistic devices just because they are so omni-present.

Non-places have always fascinated me, they show up in much of my own work and you’ll also find them in the works of some of my blogger friends. The non-placeness of so many of his subjects may be part of the irritation that Mark “The Landscapist” Hobson‘s images cause to so many of his viewers, and whenever Juha does not take images of landscapes, he pictures non-places.

If you still don’t have an idea of what I’m talking about, I can recommend the curated Flickr group “Non-Places“. Just click on “Slideshow”, lean back and immerse yourself. Don’t forget to come back though 🙂

The Song of the Day is not a new one, I have already used it in September 2009, then for a post about the non-placeness of Auschwitz.

The Song of the Day is again “Going Places” from Mod-Father Paul Weller’s 2002 album “Illumination”. Enjoy it on YouTube.

10 thoughts on “1972 – Going Places II”

  1. I know what you mean. I live in a Non-Place bigger than your Non-Place, a big one called Southern California. It does take a clear, open mind with no preconceptions to see anything but monotony in most of the local inland towns. It is definitely a challenge. Tyler Monson left a quote on one of his blogs attributed to Minor White to the effect that the best photographs are grounded in no-mind, or completely open mind, a lesson I could learn!

  2. The 2nd thumbnail down on the left side: Until I clicked to em biggen, I thought you were looking down on some tables and chairs – what a surprise!

    And the 3rd down on the right side – this may be a non-place in Villach – but WOW! A poster announcing a lecture by Von Daniken?! Amazing!

    Another thing that struck me is the almost total lack of humans and any indication of human activity – just the impersonal signs and apparently empty streets and buildings. The 2nd thumbnail down on the right side does seem to show the wheel of a vehicle.

    Andreas, you are one of the few photographers I know who can make a non-place interesting!

    Mike C, I hear you about having to live in a non-place. I get so tired of looking up and down my street in a typical American suburb! I have to get away from my own neighborhood to feel any motivations for making images! Andreas, at least in parts of Villach, you can find interesting doors and windows. Around here, I’d have to go into places in the larger city where it’s not safe for a woman to go alone, even in the daytime, to find interesting architecture.

  3. First, the term “non-place”, what a good one it is! Makes one think.

    And then in the comment by Flo, this: “A poster announcing a lecture by Von Daniken?! Amazing!” – A great description for a non-place if any. (And I didn’t know that Daniken is still around – is he?)

    I seem to be rambling, it is one of those days. As to taking photographs, when it becames reflex, it just happens. A reflex which is a bit like clicking on a “You have won 500 euros” message in your inbox… 😉

    By the way, I suspect that some resources are being put to exploring the best wordings to get people to click on spam e-mail. I found an interesting posting about this, containing the nice phrase “encouraging an immediate reaction, trying to get some sense of urgency” as the overall target of spam. In itself this could be a motto for certain type of photography.

    Anyway, what I was aiming towards is the potential connection of the term “non-place” between the physical and virtual spaces. Spam is an example of something making a non-place out of the virtual.

    And finally, it is interesting that photographs of “non-place”, at least these ones here taken by Andreas, are certainly not building a non-place here in the virtual – it is quite the opposite. I wonder why it is so…

  4. I find your non-place interesting. Some great clean images. The shapes, colors and graphics have a design quality that is hard to define, but definitely European. And of course to someone from across the pond that look has a bit of exotic to it, but probably not to you.

    1. Yeah, Mark Hobson recently said that our street signs have different colors, and of course there are all sorts of differences, but when you look at it, they lie in details of old buildings. Once our new buildings are old, there will be no recognizable difference between ours and yours 🙂

      1. You are right about old buildings but that is not what I am drawn to in this entry. There is a modern style often called Swiss style associated with the Helvetaca font and the Bauhaus school (which of course was in Germany). It is those modern details I am drawn to and admire.

  5. Hi,
    have been following your blog for some time and enjoy it very much. I am not very good at commenting, but this theme inspired me to do a post about our neighborhood in Oslo. The mundane needs to be shown. Adding to the blogs you mention, I would also recommend Carl Weese and his blog at http://workingpictures.blogspot.com/.

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