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SUNDAY FAVOURITE
DAVID ARMSTRONG LANDSCAPES

March 17th 2013
I’ve always been drawn to these Eyestorm-published David Armstrong works but have never really written about them, so I thought it was about time as they’re a perfect subject for a spring (almost!) ‘Sunday Favourite’.

As a huge photography fan, I’m always interested to see how artists and photographers play with the medium to create something beautiful or extraordinary. At a glance, these subtly coloured photographs retain a softness and intimacy that could be mistaken for impressionist painting - their light and out-of-focus nature picking out just enough detail to make out what’s being represented. Looking at these works it’s no surprise that Armstrong originally entered the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as a painting major. He then switched to photography to work alongside his friend Nan Goldin, who he met when he was just 14, which led to his association with a group known as ‘The Boston School’ that included Goldin, who of course also went on to become very well known, and other photographers such as Mark Morrisroe and Jack Pierson. Their collective style was very much intimate snapshot portraiture in saturated colours, and so due to this association I guess, Armstrong began to photograph his lovers and friends, and this is the work he first received critical attention for and probably what he is best known for today. Often perfectly composed with very simple surroundings and nothing or very little else in the frame apart from the subject, these lovingly shot portraits have a painterly quality of their own.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that Armstrong began to photograph landscapes and cityscapes, like the works seen here, with a whole new way of working. In contrast to the sharpness of his portraiture, these works had a softness to them that caused the subjects - this time lights, signs, cars, trees and houses instead of people - to be reduced to a gentle blur, subtly outlining shapes just enough for them to be recognised. For me it’s the subtleness of these works that makes them so endearing; almost dream-like, their out of focus nature gives them a calming affect that’s almost reassuring. The scenes depicted could be anywhere, and so I find myself imagining they’re places I know. And it’s this connection I think that attracts me to these photographs, along with my favourite earthy tones and the peaceful stillness of nature.

See David Armstrong’s works on Eyestorm here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
DAVID ARMSTRONG
Tree Trunk, Tivoli, Lilacs, Bovina (diptych)
 
DAVID ARMSTRONG
Bush, Tivoli, Wall, Rome (diptych)
 
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