It was announced this evening that Witherford Watson Mann Architects have won the RIBA Stirling Prize, an architectural equivalent to the Mercury Prize. The project consists of the preservation and conservation of the 12th century Astley Castle structure in Nuneaton, North Warwickshire for the Landmark Trust. The sensitive insertion by Witherford Watson Mann provides new accommodation within the previously fire damaged castle ruin. Although my money wasn’t on this one I have to admit it really is a beautifully unique building with well crafted details and stunning interiors. As it’s part of the Landmark Trust it’s technically a holiday home that’s open to use by the public. No doubt it’s already booked out for the next few years after this evenings event but you can check that here.
The Parents started off as a personal project by Photographer Colin Gray depicting his parents on visits back home in Hull since 1980. “The early pictures were looking at my relationship with my parents and their relationship with each other, often expressed in a humorous way. Many of the images involved enactments of a memory or fantasy, interwoven with past events, domestic rituals, and the encroachment of old age.” The project is now in it’s 27th year.
I went to see the recent documentary ‘McCullin’ about the British Photographer Don McCullin last week and was very impressed. Directed by McCullin’s old assistant Jacqui Morris and her brother David. It is phenomenal what he achieved in his career. McCullin a one point talks of becoming addicted to wars and wished to cover at least two a year.
Don McCullin covered some of the last centuries worst humanitarian disasters including wars and conflicts in Cyprus, Congo, Biafra, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Cambodia and Lebanon putting himself in immense danger and exposing himself to deeply tramatising circumstances, working principally for the Sunday Times until the 80s when Rupert Murdoch decided, McCullin tells us, that the paper should move away from his kind of harsh realism and concentrate on “the pleasures of life”. McCullin discusses the impossibility of any photographer today getting the kind of access he did as the military are now very sensitive in controlling their public image. McCullin’s very straight and open discussion of his fearless life is countered by his self-doubt, coming back several times to his position of documenting atrocities and feeling like a hypocrite, he describes himself as a humanitarian photographer doing his job but in effect exploiting someones misery, ‘I feel guilty because I’ve made a success out of my photographic life,’ he says. ‘Those pictures were of suffering, dying children. I cannot indulge myself by saying I was proud. I wasn’t. I was ashamed, if you want to know the truth.’
He now devotes himself to recording the British countryside, his reasons succinctly summed up in this quote; “I have been manipulated, and I have in turn manipulated others, by recording their response to suffering and misery. So there is guilt in every direction: guilt because I don’t practice religion, guilt because I was able to walk away, while this man was dying of starvation or being murdered by another man with a gun. And I am tired of guilt, tired of saying to myself: “I didn’t kill that man on that photograph, I didn’t starve that child. That’s why I want to photograph landscapes and flowers. I am sentencing myself to peace.” If you get a chance go see this film.
Coming a mere half century after the worlds two largest superpowers jockeyed for the bragging rights over ‘the first man on the moon’ is the wonderfully illustrated concertina book ‘Space Race’ by Tom Clohosy Cole published by Nobrow Press. Tom Clohosy Cole is a London-based Illustrator, Designer & Animator and is represented by The Artworks Agency. Space Race is available to buy through NoBrow where you’ll find crater loads of other great looking publications here.
Images from Mr Bingo’s new book Hate Mail, described by Noel Fielding as ‘Gorgeous and funny! Like a Labrador doing stand-up’. I’ve added the print ‘Charlie does a kick flip’ at the end just cause it’s brilliant. Mr Bingo has sent 400 hate mail post cards since April 2011 and they’re all there in his book which is available to buy on amazon here. The book launch is on tonight (Oct 25th) at the Camden Town Brewery, 55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, London, NW5 3NN.