“Mistakes hook you in, triggering something in our subconscious which draws us deeper into a story”. Felicity McCabe celebrates the art of wabi sabi, the raw and imperfect details which crack open an image and reveal hidden depths to the individual or scenario that occupies the frame.
McCabe’s work stands out and stays with you. Cleverly traversing the space between classism and modernity. This interplay between the past and the future gives her work a lasting influence. A hard to reach sweet spot.
McCabe cut her teeth with a variety of challenging editorial commissions for clients including the New York Times, The Guardian and the Financial Times. Covering a diverse range of issues from UK Non – Voters to Converters to Islam. Approaching each subject with a delicate sensitivity, results in stories that champion the ordinary beauty of everyday people.
Her subtle yet distinctive aesthetic breathes new life into everything she shoots, transforming even the most everyday of subject matter. Her vision rooted in a fascination with light. Influences like John Singer Sargent and Julius LeBlanc Stewart have helped define the rich tonal range inherent in her photography.
Her most significant project in my opinion is one of her most recent. McCabe collaborated with Save the Children on their Action/2015 project where she depicted life in Somaliland. A community devastated by the impact of climate change. The project is formed as a series of diptiques, comprised of portraits and still life details. The portraits convey a powerful sense of humanity, resilience in the face of a life-threatening situation. The details, including a dry animal carcass and abandoned objects, depict the physicality of drought with urgency.
On paper McCabe could be considered an unobvious choice for this type of commission, however her fresh approach brings a renewed focus to an issue that people often choose to ignore. In this risk adverse climate, this is a powerful example of original and creative commissioning.
McCabe brings a new vocabulary, a new way to look at the world. Personal but universal, she makes her subjects accessible whether they are celebrities or civilians. Seducing the viewer with an aesthetic, which goes beyond the surface, a powerful portfolio of quiet images that leave a lasting impression.