Assignment 1: Artist Research Peter Dench and Paul Smith – 150 MC

So I have now pushed my work a further step forward by looking into the idea of drinking. And I left it somewhat open in my last post about what aspect I would specifically begin to focus on. And after thinking about it for a while, I came up with the theme of drinking culture, more specifically in my social structure of being a uni student due to the perception that young adults just go to uni to drink.
I think it’s important to state here that I’m no longer looking at the idea of a good + bad choice, but I’ve moved onto the decision being made then and there, but leaving the rest open for interpretation.

So to get more of a general idea of this “binge drinking” as it would be called, I decided to have a look at a few artists to get a general idea on how this particular idea is seen. So I started looking at Peter Dench, but more in particular his series “drinkUK”.
In this series, he wanted to discuss the issue of how people in Britain have begun to drink more today (he calls it that we have become a nation of binge drinkers) whilst throwing in some figures from his brief statement for the series.

A young man drinks a pint of Guinness and some whisky wearing a [1]

A visitor to the Great British Beer Festival hald annualy in Lon [2]

A group of friends in fancy dress drink outside The Sloop Inn pu [3]

What got my attention the most was the sentence “drinking younger, longer, faster and more cheaply than ever before.” And it was this that began to make me think about how my work could be seen from a viewer. With Dench’s work, we can easily see his work is based on large events/parties where there would be a lot of drinking regardless, but I see his work as looking at the happy-go-lucky instance as people begin to drink more and have a good time, regardless of what the consequences may be.
With my work, I want to look at the drink culture of university students on how they will drink everything and do everything to have a good time, but yet again not thinking about the consequences at all really. And hopefully the things I photograph, the viewers could relate to this as they have been the same age and maybe done a similar thing. 
Personally though, for my pictures I want to keep things simple; I don’t want to over-complicate things as well as not making everything to utilitarian. Looking at the slight obscurity of something, such as just a hand on a glass so we don’t know who the person is. These little things which have been left out just gives a slight curiosity of what is going to happen.

However, with Dench’s work he had focused more on the civilised side of drinking, since I wanted to get a better look at into the “binge drinking.” So I decided to look at Paul Smith’s work, again more specifically his series called “Make my night” as this looked more into the serious aspect of drinking, such as drinking games, but also showing a good night out.

slam [4]

condom [5]

race [6]

And these pictures are more like the sort of pictures I would be taking as well, as everything seems serious yet happy at the same time. But what I like is how everything is much more simple, in the sense there’s not a lot going on that distracts from the main focus of the pictures, so our attention isn’t diverted at all.
But looking closely at the pictures, and in particular the last one called Race what intrigues me is the shape of the arms when they are drinking. Again it links in to about if we just focused on those particular places only, we don’t get an idea of who the rest of the person is at all, which could raise our curiosity.
I like Smith’s pictures more because not only are the pictures slightly more relatable on the idea of uni drinking culture, but because the shapes of the bodies grab my attention really. That being said, Dench in some of his pictures has interesting shapes as well, but I feel he focuses more on the subjects than anything else really.


[1] Dench P, drinkUK (N.D), [Online] available from <> Slide 7
[2] Dench P, drinkUK (N.D), [Online] available from <> Slide 15
[3] Dench P, drinkUK (N.D), [Online] available from <> Slide 3
[4] Smith P, Make My Night 1999, [Online] available from <> Slam
[5] Smith P, Make My Night 1999, [Online] available from <> Condom
[6] Smith P, Make My Night 1999, [Online] available from <> Race

Britain’s Drinking Culture Shows It’s Not Always Happy Hour By Judith B. Herman November 12 2013; [Online] available from <>
Peter Dench Official Website (N.D); [Online] available from <>
Paul Smith Offical Website, Make My Night; [Online] available from <>


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