Reall fecam 2013
I have known Jem Southam since 1985, when he started lecturing at Exeter College of Art where I was in my second year as a photography and design student.
Looking back, I realise I was privileged to study during what now seems was a ‘golden age’ of photography education.
Appreciating his work requires patience of the viewer, but this patience is hugely rewarded as layer upon layer of thought is revealed in his often complex photographs.
His work is included in many important collections including Rijksmuseum, Museum Folkwang, and the Yale Centre for British Art.
He predominantly works in South West of England, often returning to the same location time and time again to record subtle variations in the landscape, how it changes during the seasons and exploring the balance between nature and mans intervention upon it.
His photographs combine patient observation of the land with personal, cultural and literary references.
He has been the subject of numerous solo shows including Tate St.
Ives in 2004 and The Victoria & Albert Museum in 2006.
However, in the early 1990’s he started working almost exclusively with a large format 10x8 plate camera.Because of how our course was structured we would simply go and talk to Jem, Paul or whoever at any stage of the day, often thrusting still damp contact sheets in front of them for a quick appraisal.