Magnum President Stuart Franklin's latest large-scale project is a series of photographs of Europe's changing landscapes. This will culminate in a book to be published by Thames and Hudson. A selection from this work in progress together with my essay based on interviews with the photographer is published today in the current issue of Portfolio Magazine 44 (Autumn 2006). I have cut and pasted a couple of extracts from this article below. You can also download the complete text of the article [20KB rtf] Download stuart_franklin_landscapes.rtf (without illustrations). Franklin is best known for his photograh of a student facing up to a row of tanks in Tiananmen Square, 1989.
‘What I am trying to do is create a series of landscape images – powerful in their own right – that communicate our vulnerability to climate change, yet maintain a level of ambiguity.’ Stuart Franklin
This landscape series is more poetic, more abstract and more overtly linked to an artistic photographic tradition than any of Stuart Franklin’s work to date. Here he is documenting some of the ways in which climate and technological change are transforming Europe, with an eye for formal power, textures, and the occasional surreality of juxtaposition.
Traditional landscape artists have tended to record stable beauty. Change, where it occurred was seasonal and cyclical. Contemporary landscape photographers such as Misrach, Adams, and Franklin, in contrast, are documenting transitions, infiltrations, and transformations. No longer celebrating the spirit of place, such photographers recognise the menace that can lie behind beauty, and the transience and vulnerability of environments that we might otherwise have assumed to be unchanging. In a few decades we may interpret Franklin’s Changing Landscapes very differently.