Monday, October 18, 2010

Brian Dyson Quest

It's rare nowadays for a photographer to have absolutely no web presence. Brian Dyson is a good example. I don't know anything about him except what's in his 2005 book One Eye Open, One Eye Closed. Although it's a bit of a mixed bag, it does include enough classic street shots to pique my curiosity.

Brian Dyson, are you out there? If so, please contact me. I'd like to learn more about you.

La Bodega de Media, Havana, Cuba, 2004

El Malecon, Havana, Cuba, 2004

Leavenworth, Washington, USA, 1970

Steam Engine Rally, Harewood House, Yorkshire, 1967

Portobello Road, London, England, 1967

Portobello Road, London, England, 1967


John Goldsmith said...

I went to used bookstore earlier this year in search of Winogrand's Public Relations. A friend told me it was sitting lonely on a shelf. As I scanned the books in the photography section, it was then that I came across One Eye Open-Closed.

While there are some some nice shots, what struck me when I paged through his book was one specific picture. I won't repeat it here because I've already discussed it on one of my blogs (see link below). While Dyson is still a mystery, maybe it adds to the story.

After leaving the store, I went through the same process as you of trying to find more info about Mr. Dyson, especially because he has shot in Canada and, more specifically, Vancouver. If I remember, it looked like he was stationed in Calgary for a while, maybe operating some art collective. I'm not sure though.

So yeah... where is Bryan D?

Blake Andrews said...

The mystery deepens...

The foreword to the book is written from Calgary, so that's where lived in 2005. Who knows where he is now.

Droid said...

I was able to trace a Brian Dyson to the formation of an arts organization in Calgary called Syntax (Calgary International Artists Contact Center). It now seems to have changed to Scartissue, but their website looks old and I'm not sure if the organization is still operating.

I'm pretty sure it must be the same Dyson.

I e-mailed them but have gotten no response up to this point.

Tiffany said...

If you want to make a phone call, try ringing 1-866-832-4332 (Stock Still Images, no working website)


jophilippe said...

... The Bryan Dyson involved in Syntax has had several musical projects with a guy called Paul Woodrow. I assume it is the same Woodrow who works (has worked?) at the University of Calgary and is involved in the "Einstein Brain Project" which is hosted at the University of Calgary too. Seems that Woodrow could be reached by mail (the page at Calgary university does not work but a cache dated from sept 2010 is visible).

On a side note here too bad that many web pages fails to have reliable date stamps...

Blake Andrews said...

Thanks everyone for the tips. I have sent an email to Syntax, so we'll see what happens.

Droid said...

jophillipe - I was able to get a hold of Paul Woodrow by e-mail and he forwarded Brian Dyson's current address. He now lives in a small town in BC. Hopefully he'll respond to Blake's e-mail and we can all find out more about his book.

Blake Andrews said...

Email from Brian Dyson:

Hi Blake.

Brian Dyson here. I'm alive and well and farming in the Okanagan Valley (Oliver, BC), not far really from your neck of the woods. I'm familiar with your work from In-Public and like your work very much. It's really great to discover the work of street shooters who get it. So many don't. After my book came out I contacted In-Public and circulated some pictures but they turned me down. Not sure why.

The book covers 4 decades, and like you, I shoot for myself, so my photo profile is invisible. I am (was? – I'm sort of semi-retired) a UK art school educated media artist/cultural activist and am/was used to working collaboratively with all the compromises that entails, so the anonymity and self-containment of me and my M2 were a necessity at times. I always saw my shooting as a way of energizing myself - rather incidental but totally necessary, like an artist with a sketch pad. I'm itching to buy an X1 but don't think it's as fast in the hand as people seem to imply and I prefer preset zone focusing anyway. I need to play with one for an hour but I have yet to see one let alone handle one. It will be nice to be able to shoot in colour as a default.

I'm busy shutting the farm down at the moment (2 acres of orchard and ground crops, no livestock). At the moment I have to prepare beds for garlic planting before the freeze-up. I will spend some after-supper time getting familiar with your blog. If you want to 'start up a conversation' feel free. Right now the focus will help me direct my thoughts.

My activist work can be seen at The site is suffering from neglect and parts seem to be unreliable. The archive of past projects seems to be OK. I also used to have a stock site ( of travel photos which is now defunct. It never got off the ground because online commerce was not really a small business option at that time and I could never compete with the big guys and google advertising.

Dallas Pete said...

You gotta suck good dick to succeed in the art world. in-public is no exception.

Droid said...

It is kind of ironic that he was rejected by your group, but then popped up on your radar later. As you said though, it was a mixed bag so perhaps he just didn't have enough current work to satisfy the basic requirements. Thanks for posting his message.