“There are times when a cool breeze runs through a landscape and other times when a hurricane sweeps through destroying all before it, laying bare all without strong foundations. That hurricane creates a new landscape and new opportunities to build a fresh with new materials, new ideas and concepts. The last few years have seen just such a hurricane drive through the photographic landscape both commercial and personally creative. A new topography is being drawn and a new environment is being built. That new landscape has yet to be named but it is being built with the tools of lens-based media and by the digital natives who have mastered those tools.
The centuries old power of the narrative informs this landscape and the birth of digital platforms allows these tales to be told to a global community. But who has the maps? Who will tell us where to go and how? Who is charting this new landscape?
It requires pioneering thought based on experience and knowledge to point the way and open the doors to what could be, what is and what we did not know. This is what Coventry ‘s photographic programme understands and provides. It is not afraid to think differently, to find new solutions and listen to the soundtrack of the new landscape. It is forward thinking and therefore the work that transpires is questioning, engaging, emotive and relevant.
They are encouraging a new visual language to be developed. One that is relevant to our world today and therefore relevant to the practitioner’s who are about to engage with that world. For that they must be thanked and praised. But that is enough of words, now is the time to allow the work to speak for itself.”
Grant Scott, Founder Hungry Eye Magazine
In 2008 Jonathan organised with Professor Gary Hall and Joanna Zylinska from Goldsmiths the symposium Photographic Mediations, which set out to investigate and question the photographic landscape in a global and mediated media environment. This collection has now been accessed nearly a million times. The following year Jonathan together with his friend and colleague Jonathan Worth co-founded the Open Photography Classes #phonar (Photography and Narrative) and #picbod (Picturing the Body) at Coventry University. These have sparked quite a stir within photographic education both within the UK (link: JISC the UK’s expert on information and digital technologies for education and research) and further afield (link: Wired’s Raw File – exposing the wired world, one photo at a time).