“Utopian desire” pulses through Ulysses II photography exhibition

Photo: Ming Tang-Evans

A 24-hour trip into the lives of 37 photographers is presented by theprintspace gallery and the annual DayFour magazine.

Opening on December 2 at ‘theprintspace’ in Hackney, the  exhibition called “Ulysses II”,  picks up from the photography magazine’s 2004 venture “Ulysses”.  Once again the basic rule is simple but intriguing. Every artist had to submit one photograph every hour he or she was awake during the course of a specific day.

On 29 June 2009, camera aficionados documented moments, places and people that signified that day’s various feelings, mishaps or surprises. True life was the main driving force of every shot and no photograph was staged.

The guidelines of the exhibition stem from DayFour’s own philosophy, which calls for a restructuring of our lives. In DayFour’s world, we’d have three days of work and a three day weekend, and the remaining day each week would be devoted to something we feel passionate about. Like photography, for example.

David Axelback, one of the participating artists, has worked with Magnum Photos, in New York and London, and had his “Flora” series shortlisted for the “Descubrimientos PHE Madrid (Discovery Award)” at PhotoEspana. As a matter of fact, it was during his trip to Madrid that he was commissioned to participate in the DayFour project.

“I do think the DayFour philosophy is a utopian desire and one I wish could be made into a reality for all people. Although as a photographer some of my weeks do indeed feel like the DayFour model,” says Axelback.

The whole experience confirmed what he already knew about photography. “An experienced photographer must be an adept problem-solver,” he says, “They must be able to adapt quickly to the environment they find themselves in, as well as the people they encounter.”

Fiona Hayes, DayFour’s editor and curator of the exhibition, concurs.

“It is surprisingly stressful having to shoot a picture to a fixed schedule, and to have to do it repeatedly. Nevertheless, a really great photographer really can find beauty or interest anywhere.”

“Ulysses II” opens at theprintspace gallery on December 2nd and runs until January 5th 2011.

Opening times: 9am-7pm (except for December 24-January 4).

theprintspace: 74 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DL

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