John Paul Evans is a Welsh born photographic artist and academic who now lives in Devon. His work explores the polemics of gender representation in photography with particular emphasis on queer theory. John Paul has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally. Selected publications include: ‘Looking for America’ Ffotogallery publications 2015, Male Bodies a photographic history of the nude- Emmanuel Cooper, Prestel 2004, Art Tomorrow Edward Lucie-Smith 2003, Fully Exposed-Emmanuel Cooper, Routledge 1995. Today we share his series, The visitors – becoming Mr & Mrs Andrews.
The visitors – becoming Mr & Mrs Andrews
The work is a response to the history of the painted wedding portrait, in particular John Berger’s polemic about representation, ownership, the landscape and landed gentry: The images play with the convention of the tourist snapshot. The photograph substantiates the visitor experience by providing evidence: “what I see has been here”.
The photographs depict a generic couple who assert their presence into various public locations, sometimes stately, and sometimes non-specific landscapes. The pair are similarly dressed and pose in a variety of ways. The images suggest the figure might be the owners of the various houses or locales they pose within. In one sense this is ironically true as a number of the chosen locations are National Trust properties and are therefore owned by the nation – you and I.
Berger argues that historically, being a landowner was a precondition for philosophical enjoyment of the landscape…”their enjoyment of uncorrupted and un-perverted nature did not, however, usually include the nature of other men”
The subtle intervention of inserting myself and my partner Peter into the sites of landed gentry, disrupts the accepted ‘natural order’ and presents a queer alternative to the land owner as a response to the way history is mediated through art and the status of the individual…
“We are accused of being obsessed by property. The truth is the other way around. It is the society and culture in question which is so obsessed. Yet to an obsessive his obsession always seems to be of the nature of things and so it is not recognised for what it is. The relation between property and art in European culture appears natural to that culture, and consequently if somebody demonstrates the extent of the property interest in a given cultural field it is said to be a demonstration of his obsession. And this allows the Cultural Establishment to project for a little longer its false rationalised image of itself.”
1.Roland Barthes – Camera Lucida
2. John Berger – Ways of Seeing
3. John Berger – Ways of Seeing
To view more of John’s work, please visit his website.