Jem Southam’s ‘Landscape Stories’ provided so much of the inspiration for my current project that I feel the need to declare my love for it.
I think what I love most about Southam is his sensitivity towards the landscape. You get a real sense of love for the subject, and what really impresses me is that he achieves this without ever needing to shout about it. It is shot in such a delicate and eloquent way that it fills me with warmth, despite most of the photographs being shot on typically drab British days. Maybe that is because I share the same feelings for these places and this weather… I would be really interested to hear a foreign opinion on this work!
Southam, J. 2005 (Landscape Stories)
‘Landscape Stories’ comes across as extremely personal and sentimental whilst also maintaining the utmost integrity. I get the feeling from the pictures that these are places where he has lived, rather than him just passing through. He has a complete understanding of the landscape and has a genuine relationship with it.
Southam, J. March, 1999 (Upton Pyne)
It is very easy to compare this book with some work from Joel Sternfeld (another photographer that I love!), largely because they often adopt quite a similar visual style. However, after first impressions are out of the way it becomes clear that they operate very differently. To me, Sternfeld’s pictures don’t come across as being as personal or as sentimental as Southam’s. Unfortunately, the work of both has so many levels that it is extremely difficult for me to understand why. Maybe it is because I get the impression with Sternfeld that he is a bit more of a passer-by in his landscapes than Southam. That is not to say that I love Southam’s work any more than Sternfeld’s because I don’t. I just love them for slightly different reasons.
Southam, J. January, 1999 (Upton Pyne)