Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: the 'London Underfoot' prints

the 'London Underfoot' prints


London Underfoot #1


London Underfoot #13

I have procrastinated for much too long in preparing and then posting images of my print works from the past year and a half. After working all day on these, I'm thrilled to say that I have at last published the London Underfoot print series in my slide show/gallery***. They are to be found within the ARKEO series - please have a look. Some of you will recognize several of the images from photos which I had previously posted as "London: details" under the "travel" theme, for example here.

Here's an excerpt of a statement I once wrote about these:

In April/May of 2009, while visiting family in the Muswell Hill neighbourhood in London, England, I was attracted by the wide variety of interesting old 'street furniture', as some English call the various utility covers on their streets and walks. One afternoon while out for a long walk, and feeling rather like an archaeologist documenting history, I captured about 40 photos of these, and could have found more if we'd had the time. Back home, in the fall, I chose twenty-six of these images and printed each in editions of five plus artist's proofs. They are printed with archival inkjet on handmade Japanese Kitakata paper, taking advantage of its slight irregularities and uneven edges.

I then chose to put the artists' proofs into a small book or album. The borders are trimmed away to allow contrast with the black sheets. It's a simple and attractive way to show off the entire series to visitors. I hope to somehow photograph that book to show here.

Another group of works which I developed from these small prints will hopefully be uploaded soon, now that I have made this belated start to catch up!

Added Jan.23rd, 2011, related links:

~ about "street furniture"
~ the London Underfoot triptychs

*** Edited January 2nd, 2013: Apologies, this 'gallery' is now offline while a new one is under construction.

Marja-Leena | 17/01/2011 | 12 comments
themes: Arkeo, Digital printmaking, Printworks


I absolutely love these, for so many reasons: the inspiration in the urban everyday; the drawing of attention to something we all walk over constantly and don't notice, to the beauty in things we don't at all think of as beautiful; the colours and textures that so strongly evoke the rusty, metallic feel, but at the same transforming it into something else, warmer and more interesting. And, as with all your work, I'm sure that even the terrific-quality online gallery doesn't convey much of texture and quality of the prints on paper. I can't wait to see the other work you refer to. These should be exhibited over here!

Marja-Leena! These are certainly worth the wait to see! The photographs from your trip were fun to look at, but what you've done with the images is arresting. The colours! Wow!

These are familiar every day sights but no less attractive for that. As prints I am sure they a very successful.

Marja-Leena, interesting and beautiful prints! And the japanese paper is, too!

Oh, I love these!! I liked them when you posted some from your trip, but so lovely to see them mounted so beautifully!

very lovely! I like the museum-like application of these photos of the material culture of the streets of London. You are indeed an archaeologist documenting history, but also playing multiple roles, of artist who re-signifies the material history, and the curator who presents the objects.

i love these too. such great texture, sense of time and story. i love the triptych print in this old house, having a little piece of london with us here. x

Jean, thank you for the lovely words about my work. You describe it all so much better than I. And how I'd love to have an exhibition in the UK.

Rouchswalwe, I'm so pleased that you like these, thanks!

Joe, thanks, I wish you could see these in person.

Leena, kiitos paljon!

Leslee, glad you enjoyed these!

Taina, I love your description of my multiple roles!

Elisa, thanks! I'll be posting those triptych prints soon.

Marja-Leena these are full of delight. I love the limited palette which enhances the feel of the antique along with the handmade paper with the black behind. So many have an air of woodblock about them derived from their shallow sculpture, and some remind me of ancient Japanese shields. I particularly enjoy the ones with a substantial contribution from the surrounding pavement.

I imagine that the book is gorgeous, and look forward to seeing how you present it.

Olga, I'm so pleased that you like these. Interesting about the Japanese shields, thanks!

Just to be clear, the black background shown in these is not part of the works, only digitally added to enhance the edge when shown online on a white background such as this blog. I discovered it to be very effective and efficient to scan the prints with the scanner lid open, which gives me the black. The prints just barely fit the scanner bed, saving me the labour of photographing them, one reason I've been procrastinating for so long.

As for the book, I'm waiting for a bright day to photograph it without flash as I don't have professional lights for studio photography - wish me luck!

These are wonderful with a certain edge especially the top one. Has a look for footprint crossed with face, other-worldly.

Naomi, thanks, I think that's my favourite one, a small non-manhole type that looks like a secret keyhole to an underground home of little elves.