Welcome to the first issue of Backyard, an online photography magazine.
Backyard features and showcases the work of photographers who love to explore and capture their neighbourhoods. For the first issue we’ve chosen to keep it really close to home and have selected work based in and around London.
Our first issue has been curated by photographer and co-founder of Backyard, Mark Burton, who is a passionate supporter of local and community-based photography projects.
Issue One features fantastic work from Jonathan Goldberg, Katherine Green, George Plemper, David Solomons, Paul Tucker and Graeme Webb.
Backyard will focus on projects close to a photographer’s heart and home. We’ll be looking at photography with an international flavour, but by the photographers and artists who live and work there. Next year we’re planning an Australian issue of Backyard and are really excited that artist and photographer Will May has already agreed to curate an American issue.
George Plemper took hundreds of black and white photos in the 70′s and 80′s. This work lay hidden for many years, but thanks to a scanner and Flickr George has been able to revisit his negatives and start sharing them with the world. This led to coverage in the Guardian in 2008 and reconnecting with some of his subjects from decades past.
George’s work evokes an undeniable nostalgia, but what makes it so engaging is its simplicity and directness. His portraits seem to have been effortlessly captured with simple, straightforward compositions. Nothing gets in the way of the viewer and the subject – who look back across the decades as if the photo was taken yesterday.
The series we have chosen for Backyard were taken at South Bank Polytechnic between 1978 and 1982 where George worked as a research assistant while completing his PhD. The photographs were taken (in his own words) ‘in between making and burning plastic strips’.
Jonathan Goldberg’s work is an ongoing series on Transition Towns. These are communities striving to create a low carbon way of life and an environmentally sustainable future. Jonathan’s work is based in West London, but there are Transition Towns all over the world. This subject is close to Jonathan’s heart and he has become increasingly involved in this movement.
Over the last few months he’s helped to grow local produce, kept bees and has gone on foraging trips for food in wild places. This has resulted in an insider’s intimacy to his photographs that portray an optimistic alternative to the way communities could live and collaborate in the future.
Katherine Green’s calm and empathetic portraits document a community that lives in canal boats on the River Lea. As with all her work her subjects are within walking distance – or at the most, a bus ride from her home in East London. Katherine has a gift for searching people out, connecting with them and documenting their lives.
Katherine’s work is often accompanied by oral histories and interviews, creating a multi-dimensional aspect to her photography.
Graeme Webb’s beautiful and emotive images are rooted in his childhood memories of growing up in post-war London. His Bleak House work remembers a bomb site where he once played with his friends. These memories have been lovingly re-constructed as models and dioramas, painstakingly lit and then patiently photographed. This process transforms his ephemeral recollections into three-dimensional objects and finally into captivating photographic images.
Paul Tucker has the rare ability to photograph an empty room and make it feel full of people – either past inhabitants or future visitors. His photographs documenting the final days of the Hawker Sidley factory in Walthamstow are alongside the school buildings that replaced it.
Paul’s exquisitely observed and carefully composed images record empty, silent spaces but feel full of noise. By comparing the photographs side by side, you can almost hear the sound of yesterday’s heavy machinery and factory gossip fading in one ear while the clamouring shouts of young children resonate with increasing volume in the other.
David Solomons has been photographing the West End of London for almost a decade, creating a portrait of the city that shows its life, optimism, despair and loneliness. His work relies on his perceptive eye and technical command of an old film camera. He roams the street with an obsessive determination, creating images that reveal the heart of London’s West End at its best and at its worst.
David works on the same streets that are relentlessly photographed by tourists, students and amateur photographers, yet his images cut to the heart of London’s soul in a way few others find possible to capture.