Working towards assignment 2 my tutor suggested I had a look at the work of Simon Norfolk. So I googled him, read this interview and looked at a number of his pictures. His work focuses on landscapes that have been changed or created because of war. What strikes me most about his work is that in his photos, war as we know it with shooting, casualties, explosions, is not visible, but instead a 'layer of war' covers the landscapes.
I lived in Poland from 1997 to 1999 and I remember walking through areas in Warsaw where thousands of people had been killed, but the new suburbs that were built on these places of atrocities were all square and neat, nothing that showed what had really happened there. Still being there would give me great sense of sadness and frustration of why people are the way they are. Looking at Norfolk's images brings up the same feelings, the sense of war, loss and destruction is there, even though some landscapes are really pretty in themselves.
With regards to the design in Norfolk's images, he positions his subjects in such a way that the intrinsic value of what Norfolk is trying to portray really comes up. His photos are striking, beautifully positioned and with a good use of color.
Simon Norfolk has taken photos of Auschwitz of which one is this photo of stairs:
This is a staircase where thousands of people have walked on on their way to death or extreme cruelties. Without knowing this, the photo itself is striking because of the way the light falls on the steps and the way the steps are worn and one might just look at it in the same way like the 'Sea of Steps'. But knowing where the staircase is, brings a whole different meaning and feeling to the photo.
The House of Slaves on the island of Goree is one of the main tourist attractions of Senegal. I took this picture because of the nice curves of the staircase, but when I realize that through the opening in the back, thousands of people stepped into slavery and death, there is a completely new sense to the image. I also took a photo of the step to outside itself, but I'm not so happy with the result. Still the worn footstep says it all.