Rick Poynor – guest lecture

Rick Poynor, writer on design, graphic design, typography, and visual culture, visited last Friday to give a lecture. The lecture he presented was greatly interesting and I felt as though I could relate my work and experiments (of the current project) to his work and the designers and photographers he spoke of. The main title of the lecture was ‘Writing with Pictures’, he has a book of the same name; he talks of “The word and the image” and how “the two pieces go together”, “Taking pictures with a plan to write about them, literally writing with pictures.”. Rick Poynor’s work is strongly photographically based, or seemed that way in the lecture anyway, but this allowed me to relate much of my work to his and his techniques as I have been mainly focusing on photography for the Street Graphic brief.

Rick then went on to talk about a designer and photographer called Herbert Spencer, who speaks of the relation of photographs and graphic design and the combination of the two. I will look into Herbert Spencer in more detail. Other designers that incorporate photography into graphic design include David Carson and the colelctive ‘Tomato’, studying visual environments and using pictures as subject matter, creating a visual journey through the narrative.

Poynor also spoke of using the walls and surfaces as the canvas for photography, explaining how much of his photography is based on different materials, surfaces and walls, allowing for “contained energy coming together in images”, the challenge is to capture an image as it is without having to manipulate it in anyway. One project called ‘Secret Spaces’ is all about decay, texture and surface, I felt this was one of the more relevant areas of his works that I could relate to my own, texture and surface is an aspect of my pixel art on different textures and surfaces including walls, floors, buildings, tiles etc.  The project ‘Shadow World’ focuses on graffiti, stickers and posters, Poynor goes onto say how to “appropriate the environment”, instead of making graffiti, he pictures others work, “re-appropriate them to make them your own”, by changing the composition of the picture. By composing certain images with architecture, colour, space and objects, you have the ability to create an unreal looking end product without any manipulation whatsoever. In some of Rick’s images he captures architecture and other subjects and carefully structures them, I can follow this guidance with my photography, by composing my subjects by carefully looking out for the architecture, typography, signs and materials shown.

For a closer look at ‘Shadow World’ click on the image below, this is one of the photos from a visit to Orford Ness, a long shingle spit formerly used for secret weapons testing .

Another designer and photographer Rick Poynor suggested to look at if we were interested/focusing on street photography is Saul Leiter, his pictures have a sense of ambiguity, movement and flow by layering I will look more into Saul Leiter.

The lecture finished with Rick saying how many different areas there are for exploration in the design world using writing, images and research.


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