Lois Netter: Long Beach Island New Jersey
NETTER, L. (2014) ‘Brief notes on reportage drawing. Visual language and the Creative agenda of the Reportage Artist’. TRACEY, Drawing in situ. (feb 2014)[online]. Available at: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/19890/1/Louis_Netter_TRACEY_Journal_DIS_2014.pdf
[Accessed 16 October 2016].
KRESS,G, and VAN LEEUWEN, T (2006). Reading Images; the Grammar of Visual Design second edition. london, New York. Routledge
Lois Netter is a reportage artist, studying for a PhD at Portsmouth University. This paper was published for TRACEY as part of the Drawing and Visualization research programme, Feb 2014.
Netter looks at the particular drawing challenges facing a reportage artist and how these require the development of a personal schematic visual language.
He explains how the response to the subject is as much about editing and imagination, as about documentation of place and subject. Essential sketchbook drawing as an aide memoire combines with this personal set of symbols to enable the reportage artist to work at speed. Ronald Searle’s Japanese prisoner of war drawings are used as an example. The second part of the paper looks at the communicative value of the sketched line (as opposed to a reworked drawing), and how mistakes, overdrawing and suggestion, engage the viewer. George Grosz and Mario Minchiello are examples. Finally Netter explains the process of composition and compilation of images to make a drawing, and how he uses line quality to imply character.
Netter makes valid points about developing a personal language and about the value of drawing constantly in a sketchbook. The paper also poses some important questions for the reader, though not explicitly. Drawing on location requires a memory bank of shorthand symbols, which is definitely improved and enlarged with practice in the field. The skill comes with editing what is seen. Obviously all drawn images are symbols and metaphors for life (Kress and VanLeeuwen 2006 p 8), but there is a difference between re using a shorthand image, and searching for visual language which represents what is before you? Netter states that reportage is as much about invention. How much can you invent before it ceases to be reportage?
This book explores the topology of spaces. It examines how spaces are categorized and delineated through sets and sub sets. It begins with a personal space and a bed, then bedroom, apartment, and so on until it mentions the small planet of George Perec, No 2817, named in 1984 (p.96).
Within this written structure are textual stylizations that help describe the concepts; calligrams and taxonomies, stage dialogue, and indexes. This creative and inventive use of form is characteristic of Perec's work.
The book is a gift for illustrators and language students, a lesson in lateral thinking about space. There are often playful, practical exercises and suggestions for further thought. I wonder whether Rachel Gannon read the chapter on ‘The Apartment’ (p.26), before embarking on her month long residency at Luton Airport, and indeed Auge, before he wrote about non-places in 1992.
PEREC, G. (1974) Species of Spaces. [online]. Penguin. Available from https://monoskop.org/images/b/b0/Perec_Georges_Species_of_Spaces_and_Other_Pieces.pdf. [Accessed: 10/10/2016]
Bo Soremsky and Der Kachelmann-Prozess
Bo Soremsky is a Berlin based reportage artist. His recent Masters thesis looks at future possibilities in reportage drawing, in particular focusing on interactivity and non-linear narrative.
Jorg Kachelmann is a popular weatherman, and involved in a legal trial. Der Kachelmann –prozess, is Soremsky’s method of recording this trial as a reportage artist. During the trial Soremsky drew as much as he was allowed, some information he had to retrieve from newspaper reports, witness statements and visits to relevant places, as the courtroom was closed to him. Gathering information in this way, from various sources led him to the conclusion that a non-linear, interactive resource was the most comprehensive way to document the trial.
Viewers can select the participants, read their testimonies, and compare the available facts (and fictions). It is subjective and reflects in a way, how a judge would hear evidence.
Digital technology is a perfect vehicle for reportage illustration. Drawings offer an emotive and experiential account of events and can emphasise and comment as well as document. In addition, sound, animation, photography, maps and text can complement the information. A nonlinear reading allows for multiple stories and relationships to become clearer.
Part of my research into a narrative of South Shields has resulted in bringing together stories (audio), maps and illustrations to ‘place’ the narrative in specific locations and give an overview of their relationships to each other. This approach has much potential for future projects.
Reportager (2012) ‘Reportager’: Projects: Bo Soremsky: ‘Passengers’ and ‘der Kachelmann-Prozess’: Research group and Programme at the school of creative arts, university of the west of England.[online]
Available from: http://reportager.uwe.ac.uk/projects12/soremsky/kachelmann.htm [Accessed: 8 November 2016].
Experimental map of South Shields; 2016, I thought about linking the drawings and stories in a similar way.