Lisa and John

Lisa and John  re-activates and critiques an archive of my  own documentary photography work; Pictures from the Real World, Colour Photographs 1987-88, photographs of working class communities in Derby, and performs a critical reassessment of the work’s purpose and location through an archive intervention, and collaboration with those within the photographs.

In 2016 I began working with Lisa and John, former subjects of the Pictures from the Real World series, asking them to select their own photographs from the full archive via a mutually agreed methodology.

Lisa and John, who were married in the 1980s, had since divorced and worked separately on the same body of work. I then sat with each of them and recorded their responses to the archive producing a verbatim document that was eventually turned into a script.

As an intervention into the original works, Lisa and John  challenges the presence and authority of the original via active participation, where former subjects step into the production space through a series of actions that contributed to the project’s discursive outcomes.
Stage/performance photographs ©David Copeland

1.- The Lisa and John Slideshow (45 minute theatrical play)

‘The Lisa and John Slideshow was written and directed by David Moore and produced by Gavin Dent, using actors to play the couple, opening out the project via an unprecedented theatrical discourse. The script was devised by transcripts of interviews with Lisa and John as they selected their own photographic choices from the archive of David’s series Pictures from the Real World drawing on principles of verbatim and immersive theatre as well as improvisational rehearsal techniques’

The performance explores interplays between photography and theatrical tableaux, where ‘theatre models photography’ around an axis of the everyday and social circumstances. The Lisa and John Slideshow premiered at Format International Photography Festival 2017 in Derby Theatre with Alan Mosley and Sarah Toogood. (Theatre Play. 45 Minutes) Performance photographs ©Callum Beaney

2.- Lisa and John – Oh My Days! (Theatrical maquettes)

An installation of two scale maquettes showing the ‘photographer at the scene’ making key photographs from the series ‘Pictures from the Real World’

The maquette is a device that constructs guidance for performance, advising on position and perspective of actors, scenery and props. So, using a museal vernacular that retains a wide audience, here it is intended that the politics of observation are put into full view, recontextualising process from a 360 degree perspective.

I conceived and designed the models,employing a theatrical model maker to produce them, working from my photographs and sketches. Each are approximately 11 inches square and sit on plinths 1.2m high contained by perspex and may be located adjacent to the photographs that they reinterpret or exhibited independently.

These three-dimensional responses observes ‘the photographer at the scene’ and forms part of a consistent theme of display, performance and performativity that runs through the Lisa and John project. (Two 3d maquettes, on plinths)

3.- Lisa and John – Look at Us! (Immersive projection)

Here, a two-screen choreographed projection, of Lisa and John’s selections, are projected into a corner repeating a motif to be found in the design of the maquettes. The archive is opened up by former subjects voices, as they simultaneously consider the photographs, drawing on audio recordings in their seperate homes. Their voices  sometimes overlap and contradict. This walk-in environment, opens up themes of agency, is darkened, only illuminated by the light of the projector. (AV presentation: 1.35 hrs)