Friday, 28 September 2012

Letha Wilson

Starting with images of idealised American landscapes – Yellowstone, Yosemite, Utah – Letha Wilson transforms and alters her photographs by various physical means. In some works careful cutting, folding and curling of the paper creates enigmatic but immersive environments. In other more extreme (and for us more interesting) work she treats the prints more brutally, crumpling and crunching them up and pouring concrete on them in rough lines and pools. When set solid the prints have a heavy, almost sculptural, physical presence to them, as if Letha had managed to transport a cross-section of a national park into a gallery space. It’s a really interesting approach because giving the prints this physicality invites the viewer to interact with and interpret the pieces in their own way, instead of simply being presented with a landscape to look at.
Whilst her work would no doubt upset Carelton Watkins or Ansel Adams, when you see it in person it has a real visceral power to it, and takes landscape photography in a new direction.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Noritoshi Hirakawa

When we first saw a handful of images from this series they evoked feelings of sympathy and vaguely voyeuristic arousal. It looked to be a particularly well-photographed reportage story on listless prostitutes, perhaps some poor girls destined for a life on the streets in...Cuba, say. But then we saw more images, and looked again, more intently, and realised this was something completely different; something quite incredible in fact. Japanese photographer Noritoshi Hirakawa, using a group of trained dancers and shooting on location at Mexican architect Luis Barragan's iconic, spartan, minimal house, has orchestrated a fascinating series that, through body language and suggested situations, explores ideas of sexuality, power and desire.  The sharp, clean lines of Barragan's house and its myriad courtyards, doorways, levels and spaces become a stage on which Hirakawa achieves remarkably powerful, suggestive images with the trust and complicity of the models. Who else but a dance troupe would be so unselfconscious and expressive, and also be so comfortable being photographed in staged photographs of such intimacy (look closely at the penultimate photo below). 
The images, all in black and white, are beautiful studies in composition, and by eliminating the acid colours Barragan was famous for, Hirakawa makes the viewer focus solely on the interplay of light, form and emotion that make up this amazing series.

All images © Noritoshi Hirakawa

Monday, 3 September 2012

There's Something Happening Here

Some self-promotion with the first post back since Summer. We've curated a group show of many of the interesting, brave and visionary photographers whose work we've looked at, admired and written about on here over the last couple of years. It opens at Brancolini Grimaldi gallery in Mayfair next Friday, September 14th. So if you like the work covered on this blog, go and take a look.
Steeped in the process of photography and versed in the psychology of the medium, the image makers in the exhibition are exploring angst, neuroses, notions of fragility and identity, perception and the subjectivity of photography itself. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds, from fashion and still life to complex conceptual work, their work defying simple categorization. Despite the diversity of their practice, shared interests emerge and the conventional boundaries of photography are challenged and played with. Clare Strand’s Exquisite Corpse re-imagines the fashion shoot as a macabre mediation on surrealism and mutilation. Appropriation also plays a major role in Nicole Belle’s Rev Sanchez series which uses negatives found in a thrift store featuring adolescents posing in a park. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent the artist has doubled, tripled or quadrupled each young person in different poses creating enigmatic portraits.
In the work of Jessica Eaton and Fleur van Dodewaard, it is the properties of image-making itself that are being explored and experimented with. Jessica Eaton’s striking abstract work includes homages to the work of Joseph Albers and Sol Le Witt using studio-based photography which plays with colour and form. Recording tones and shades rather than objects, her work is almost a record of pure technique. Fleur van Dodewaard similarly references the image-making process itself rather than the objects she photographs. Like Eaton, she creates images which are concerned with material, shape and colour rather than any fixed reality, and instead question the nature of photography and perception.
Together these artists are exploring the world and the medium of photography in bold and experimental ways, and we think they represent some of the most interesting talent working today. What emerges is a twisted, sometimes apocalyptic vision of a world that has slipped on its axis revealing something dark, disquieting and not yet fully formed. 
There's something happening here.


A few teasers from the show. For more information see