Stuart Franklin: Narcissus
Stuart Franklin (born 1956), member of Magnum Photos since 1989, has photographed some of the most important news events of the 21st Century – from the massacre at Tiananmen Square to the Intifada – as well as producing many personal projects concerned primarily with man and the environment. Franklin’s work is characterised by a direct documentary-style combined with a strong personal vision. Since the 1990s he began to move away from news into documentary photography and has completed over twenty assignments for National Geographic.
The works presented in our online exhibition – Franklin’s second with The Fine Art Society – are part of Narcissus, a long-term project and book on Norway’s landscape first published in 2013 (Hatje Cantz). In 2009 Franklin bought a cabin on the remote island of Otrøya, in the region of Møre og Romsdal on the western coast of Norway. The plan was to spend time experiencing the landscape and take a break after three years as president of Magnum Photos.
Over the following two years, the small island and its surroundings became the focus of Franklin’s investigation into the nature of landscape photography. He came to realise that by photographing the woods, the snow and ice, the reflection of the mountain in the lake, he was in fact documenting his own personal experience of the place. He was seeing his own reflection in the landscape around him. The work in Narcissus examines the way in which we search for our image or identity in nature. It is about the way man and nature are intrinsically connected and how nature – the landscape – can become mediated through photography to settle as an echo of ourselves.