Ingrid Pollard – ‘Race and Place’

Fig 1. Self Evident. Untitled. 1995

British Photographer ingrid Pollard works as a media artist in the UK.  In her practice, Pollard explores the concept of representation and also involve reference to history in which she works within landscape environments.  Pollard has exhibited work across in various showings including the Victoria and Albert museum in London.  Her work often envisages characters standing alone in exterior spaces in which she presents concepts involving identity and place in which she makes a point of a bringing a certain type of person to a particular environment.  In her series, ‘Pastoral Interlude’ (1988), Pollard uses herself as the subject which draws attention to the subject of witnessing foreign individuals in the British landscape environment.  Pollard challenges the cultural assumptions made in this specific type of environment  where it is uncommon for people from a black background to be seen and she does this by literally placing herself in this location.  I admire her drive of this concept as she marks her individuality within the landscape and this shows how there is no ownership of the environment in a cultural sense.  Pollard breaks the rules and upon observing the images, she is not afraid to do so.

Another series in which Pollard explores ‘Race and Place’ is seen within her series ‘Self Evident’ (1995) in which Pollard presents a series of portraits, all of which the individuals are black and they all hold an object representing British economic history.   Set in exterior environments, the portraits present another strong example of the figure and the landscape in which there is a bonding atmosphere between the individual, the place and the object.  There is a tender contrast in colour which divides the subjects from the background and this element supports the concept of representing the independence of the people shown.  The expressions for each of the individual portraits may possibly reveal a sense of relief or peace as they all appear content in their surroundings.  Also, they all appear distanced from the audience slightly as if they are lost in their own world as they do not acknowledge the viewer’s presence but they stand almost in a trance like way; just being with themselves.   I highly admire the setting for this series as it’s theme displays recognition of belonging to a place and having the freedom to exist within it.  I find Pollard brings across identity strongly in her work as she identifies that it is our choice as individuals where we want to be and that we should not assume that a certain type of place will contain certain type of being.

 

‘TSHEREOIUNGGH – Seeing Through Race’ Tottenham Project

 

Fig 2. Seeing Through Race. 2014

The TSHEREOIUNGGH Project is a collaborative project presented by students from the Hertfordshire University in which other members of the project worked with them including Ingrid Pollard.  The documentary project presents a series of portraits set within interior high street locations such as corner shops where the public and the people who serve the public are placed in the spotlight.

Reflecting upon the images as part of a group session,  this series addresses the idea of stereotyping people to environments.  My thoughts on this are that people can be identified by their association with environments in terms of what is within their surroundings and how they express themselves through body language.  Some images also reveal how people with mixed or foreign backgrounds can become associated with environments that appeal to a particular culture that differs from their own.  I find this interesting as it reveals how colourful modern society has become as opposed to older times when certain types of people would be associated with a place that their culture would recognise with.

As another interpretation on culture background within photography, I find this project highlights a truthful subject in a way that defines who people are by simply showing us their roles in society up close and personal.  This gives the audience familiarity of the individuals in which they can relate their own experiences with what is displayed.  I find this project useful to observe as it presents an honesty of people and environments which I something that I find intriguing where we can literally be shown the ‘real deal’.

 

References

Ingrid Pollard (2012) Ingrid Pollard Photography [Online] Available from:  http://www.ingridpollard.com [Accessed 18/12/2015]

Ingrid Pollard (2012) Ingrid Pollard Photography [Online] Available from: http://www.ingridpollard.com/news.html %5BAccessed 18/12/2015]

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