A Forest

Here is photography tutor and assessor Sharon Boothroyd talking about Rob Brisco’s book ‘A Forest’.

Filming pages from a book limits the time you can take to appreciate each image, so to give you a better sense of the work we have included two images of the double page spreads below (Click in the image to enlarge).Unknown-7Unknown-3


  1. Rob 27 May 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks Sharon! It’s always great to hear that the work communicates in some way, creating its own little narratives in the mind of the viewer.

    My thoughts when I was putting these together was that by juxtaposing the images, there would be something more going on with the images, that rather than going “oh, a beer can in the woods” the viewer would have to think why the two are together. Whether this then triggers some “green” thoughts about waste, or the way things get there is out of my hands, but as Michael Schmidt (recently deceased winner of this years Prix Pictet) has said; “if I am arranging a double page spread, it is important for me that one plus one equals three. A third, invisible image must impose itself in between.” In this case, for Sharon the third image is of youths drinking on the moss. Yeah, I’m happy this is happening.

    There’s a selection of the images on my website (http://www.robtm.co.uk), and whilst my learning log has been archived off in the hopeful preparation for starting the MA, it’s still available online at http://www.iamrobtm.co.uk/archive/Adv.php, although there are no links to it from the main site. If you dig around on there, you might find something. Alternatively, please feel free to just e-mail me via my site or post them here!

    Oh, and just one more thing, and it’s a shameless plug (or two): some of these photographs will be exhibited at Bank Street Arts in July – I’ve pulled together an exhibition with Tanya, Dewald, Keith, Pete and Nigel (http://six-scapes.weebly.com). It would be great if some of you could make it there. And also, if all goes to plan, the photographs will be appearing in #photography magazine next month. It’s available in print and online at http://www.hashtagphotographymagazine.co.uk.

    There we go… plugs done. Thanks.

  2. Vicki M 27 May 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Well done Rob! And there’s no such thing as a shameless plug! If I did not go to the Flickr site or scour the OCA forum on a regular basis, I’d not have seen the news about the exhibition. So, hopefully by mentioning it here, you will reach others who may not have been aware. Good luck to all involved with the exhibition!

  3. Eileen 27 May 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Congratulations on putting together such an interesting collection Rob. It’s been great to watch this work develop through the posting on Flickr and on your blog, and I am sure the joint exhibition will be really worth attending. Good luck with the MA!

  4. Catherine 27 May 2014 at 8:06 pm

    You’ve made art out of detritus in your own unique way. Great to see it here and wishing you every success in the joint Exhibition.

  5. Stephanie Dh. 28 May 2014 at 8:02 am

    That’s great to see it here Rob. Like Eileen, I have enjoyed seeing this project develop on Flickr and I was really surprised (in a good way!) when you “revealed” the final outcome (the double pages with the object associated with the images). 1+1=3 works very well here!

  6. Richard Brown 28 May 2014 at 9:25 am

    Nicely done Rob. I love the starkness of the left hand side in comparison to the lushness of the right.

  7. marmalade 28 May 2014 at 10:31 am

    This I find pleasing on so many levels Rob…my favourite series of yours so far. Best of luck with the exhibition and on promoting this work. A great flourish on your course closure.

  8. jsumb 28 May 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Rob, couple of questions: Can you let us know about scale, firstly the forest occupies a full page, no margins and no escape and then opposite page – the depicted size of the object? And then text, in the short movie there is clear evidence of text in the lower left hand side which doesn’t appear in the featured spreads above nor on your blog gallery – what changed to make that happen?

    1. Rob 28 May 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Hi John. I’m not completely sure I understand the question re scale, but to add something that might indirectly answer your question…

      When I first started to photograph the forests, my thoughts were to have them devoid of any direct lighting, so very shadowy and taken deep inside the forests, for this reason there’s no escape from the trees… I was going to slightly desaturate at one point too, but this changed before the final edit. I also changed my mind a little part way through to start adding some light in some of the photographs, just to lift the overall mood and make it easier viewing.

      As for the items, they’re all photographed exactly the same – same camera (503CW), same lens (60mm prime lens, so approx 45mm by the time you’ve down-factored for MF and up-factored for the old digital back), in the same position mounted on a tripod, with everything arranged so that the largest item (the oil canister) fit “nicely”. The camera/lens combo was the same one used for all the forest pics too.

      By isolating the objects, I wanted to further abstract them from how I found them, the closed and openness of the two sides adds to this.

      Does that answer?

      As for the text, in the book in the bottom left of the still life page there’s just a location caption, nothing more – sometimes I put these in the back of the book, bit for a change I decided to put them there. So, for the two above, the caption would read “Mire Wood for the string, and “Billinge Wood” for the beer bottle. Sometimes I caption them by the wood, sometimes by the item, depends on how I feel about it.

      1. jsumb 28 May 2014 at 6:02 pm

        Yes that about does it Rob, thanks on both counts.

  9. southliving 28 May 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I’ve said it a few times elsewhere… I really like the forest /trees work, the tones, the feel… seeing it in book form makes more sense now.
    I would love to see the forest photos in print, up close…

    Rob has been the ‘head student’ on getting us on Source, and pulling [( 6 )] together…
    Nice to see the work on here, sir…

    Sharon, nice to hear you talk about the work too! Hope you’re well!

  10. Rob 28 May 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks everyone… I’m really happy people like this and seeing it come about.

    1. Margaret T 29 May 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Great work Rob. I look forward to seeing it at Bank St

  11. Dave Whenham 29 May 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Looks great Rob, and seeing it in the context of the book makes the whole project come alive. I can’t plan too far ahead at the moment but if do get the chance I will drive down to Sheffield in July. All the best. Dave

  12. dougslr 30 May 2014 at 6:29 am

    Thanks Rob and Sharon for this. I have often thought about how to display the issue of waste in the environment and had no good ideas – now I can see why. Looking at the images I ‘feel’ as if I was the one walking there finding them and wondering who would have left it behind. We are overwhelmed with waste in the world, yet you have brought home tis concept with isolated images. Thanks

  13. Rob 30 May 2014 at 7:29 am

    Thanks for all the positive comments everyone… it’s reaffirming.

  14. Yiann 30 May 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Incredible series and great to see a glimpse of one of the final presentations. Well done Rob!!!

  15. Rob 31 May 2014 at 9:21 am

    Thanks Yiann!!

  16. Hazel 1 June 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Well done Rob. I really enjoyed it.

  17. Emma 2 June 2014 at 3:05 pm

    The work looks great in the magazine – so beautiful.

  18. Diana E Curley 2 June 2014 at 8:10 pm

    I really enjoyed looking at another aspect of art, photography, and the seeing the void around the objects which I found was quite mysterious, as were the forest photos, some dark and eerie and empty of human life, and obviously void of any sound(s). Creepy or perhaps as the viewer I am on the dark lonely side of a walk in the forest. However, so many variations in tones, shapes and earthly majestic statues. Great to see it presented so well. Well done. Good luck with the exhibition. Diana

  19. david4rugs 3 June 2014 at 11:17 am

    Congratulations, Rob. Lovely work and a very interesting concept in extracting the found items from their location and isolating them so starkly so they have nowhere to hide. I wish I had thought of the idea!
    By doing so you are drawing even more attention to their being aliens in the environment in which they were found and the lack of conscious awareness of those who left them there. The bit in the middle for me, the +1 to make 3, is the realisation that all the found items, however alien they might appear in their present form, originated from the natural world in some form or another and if left discarded for long enough would return to the natural world in a different form. This different form might be utilisable in some way by plant and animal life through the chemical recycling process resulting in some benefit to the natural world, but this is largely an unknown. We humans may believe ourselves to be very clever in our ability to create a Cola can or a plastic oil container but we are not clever enough to know what the implications of the extraction of its constituents from the earth and their subsequent return to the earth as waste will be in the long term.
    What we do know if we stop to think is that the returned chemicals deriving from the eventual breakdown of the discarded ‘rubbish’ will no longer be in a form that we humans can readily use again, if at all, and that the earth’s stock of such resources in a useable form are being used up at an ever faster rate. What your double page spreads say to me is that if we continue to squander the earth’s resources by carelessly using them up and then discarding them, then they might be the only things left to mark our passing amongst the more resilient and better adapted vegetation of the native woodlands. It is significant for me that there are no people included in your photographs of the natural world.
    All this from a few photographs! Long live the power of photographs and their ability to take the mind beyond its normal small world. Great stuff!

  20. Conny 3 June 2014 at 3:44 pm

    wow!! love your pictures and the concept, great work Rob!

  21. Rob 23 June 2014 at 7:04 pm


  22. Sara Waterer 1 July 2014 at 10:06 am

    Really enjoyed these and love the way the objects evoke scenarios.


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