Slipshots (1982)

This little set of photographs was one of the early works where I sought to combine my interest in conceptual photography – photography about photography – with documentary.

In each image, I found something in real life which was tilted or off-the-level, and, in photographing it, I tipped the camera so that the frame was lined up on this object rather than on the horizon.

When they were printed, it was astonishing how dominant the rectangle of the frame was and how hard it was to mentally tip the image back to how one knew the situation had originally been.

The full set of photographs were not exhibited or published together. In 1982, a group was selected by Jo Spence for the Open Photography exhibition at the Midland Group, Nottingham.

Three of the images were distributed as postcards and one – the New York ‘Bump’ sign – proved very popular in this format. Hopefully it still exists in a number of private collections.

Patrick Hughes selected four of the pictures for his book More on Oxymoron (Penguin / Jonathan Cape, 1983; revised edition: Paradoxymoron, Reverspective, 2011).