Roger Fenton made 31 images of Windsor Castle in the twilight of his photographic career in 1860. Read more to understand the connection between his work and Trevor Paglen, an Art on the Underground artist who will be speaking at the Science Museum.
Rebecca Smith, Collections Assistant
He appears to have spent several days circling it, occasionally approaching, but often photographing from a distance.
The huge castle almost seems to be in hiding, ducking behind trees and edging out from the undergrowth, its monumentality and bulk obscured.
When photographing landscapes and historic buildings Fenton usually adopted the picturesque framing devices common to landscape painting and photography in the nineteenth century. Yet these compositions seem flatter, more horizontal and less inclined to lead the viewer into the scene visually. They block access, and so seem to suggest Trevor Paglen’s interest in Menwith Hill’s centrality in the local countryside, while maintaining rigorous distance, secrecy, and inaccessibility.
Book tickets now to see American artist Trevor Paglen talk to critic Ossian Ward about his new Art on the Underground work for Gloucester Road tube station. Paglen’s large panoramic photograph of the countryside around Menwith Hill explores how we perceive the world around us, particularly within the context of surveillance and ‘being seen’. This free event will be in our Dana Centre on Thursday 19 June from 19.00-20.30
Images (from top): General View from the Town Park, Roger Fenton, 1860 credit Royal Society Collection from the National Media Museum; Windsor Castle from the Home Park, Roger Fenton, 1860 credit Royal Society Collection from the National Media Museum; Windsor Castle, Roger Fenton, 1860 credit Royal Society Collection from the National Media Museum; Trevor Paglen, An English Landscape (American Surveillance Base near Harrogate, Yorkshire), 2014, courtesy of the Artist.
Posted 4 months ago on Monday, 16th June 2014