Richard Wentworth was originally a sculptor who used the everyday world as his model and his photography uses the same source. He looks at the objects found in the environment – often incongruous- and makes them into a piece of work that describes the place and time.
In an interview with Ben Eastham (Eastham, 2011) he talks about observational intelligence. ‘that’s something of what an image is – it has to have a component which is unaccountable, which sweeps over you.’ He thinks (I think) that we are made up of instinct and curiosity – which sometimes work against each other. That we recognise the spatial environment and respond to it unconsciously, use things as we need them. That words (and their origins) are important. That things happen to him.
The work Making Do and Getting By (Wentworth, 2015) documents small found sculptures where an item has been used beyond its intended purpose (a boot as a door wedge), something that has been mended with a purely functional method (twine or gaffer tape to fix an open gate), a pencil to secure a lock. The images tell a story, not so much individually, but en masse, a story of the practicalities of everyday living. A story about the people who make and mend. A story of what you do to fix the small inconveniences. A quick walk around my local neighbour can produce similar images. As can my house. Flowers from the roadside in a plastic water bottle. The difference is that he sees them and records them.
Eastham, B. (2011) Interview with Richard Wentworth. At: https://www.thewhitereview.org/feature/interview-with-richard-wentworth/ (Accessed 07/07/2020).
Wentworth, R. (2015) Making do and getting by: with an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist. London: Koenig Books.