‘Once. Again. Photographs in Series’: Jem Southam at The Getty

A new exhibition at The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles focusses on photographers who have revisited people and places in order to make extended photographic series, and includes three major works by British landscape photographer Jem Southam. Once. Again. Photographs in Series features both historical and contemporary photographers who have reflected on the passage of time, with Southam’s work exhibited alongside masters of the medium including Josef Sudek, Paul Strand and Harry Callahan.

Mazie Harris, assistant curator of photographs at the museum, has said: “‘Once again’ is a phrase repeated in a poem by William Wordsworth. […] He was fascinated by the powerful feeling that arises when revisiting a familiar place. He’s experiencing his surroundings in real time and yet is constantly aware of his memories of being there before. The photographers in this exhibition conjure that same sensation. They offer us the opportunity to see people and places afresh, even as we track the powerful changes wrought by time.”

Celebrated for his important contribution to colour photography in Britain, Southam documents subtle changes in the landscape and is one of the most critically respected British landscape photographers working today. The exhibition – drawn primarily from the collection of the Getty Museum – includes three prints taken from Southam’s major early series The Pond at Upton Pyne, which were accessioned by the museum in 2007. The series charts the landscape around a man-made pond near the photographer’s home in Exeter, Devon over a six-year period, with portraits of Upton Pyne captured between 1996 to 2001. During this time, Southam returned regularly to the site, creating poetic images which reflect on the ceaseless cycle of decay and renewal brought about by human intervention and the changing seasons.

Once. Again. Photographs in Series runs through 10 November 2019 at the Getty Centre, Los Angeles. Find out more here.

Explore More