The third installment in our regular pick of photography includes work from Mark Lovejoy, Josh Redman, The Royal Photographic Society, Philip E James, Erwin Olaf and Nick Hedges…
Untitled by Mark Lovejoy
These macro photographs from Texan artist Mark Lovejoy capture mixes of commercial printing inks, with bright colours and silky textures that produce striking and sumptuous results. They were created using various combinations of illuminated pigments, diluents, extenders, resins, oils, fillers, waxes, and drying agents, with varying viscosities, surface textures, reflectivity and drying times.
“These are not photographs of paintings – no paintings exist. These images are of something as fleeting as any street scene or sunset,” Lovejoy says. “Each original image has been reworked & reshot repeatedly – preserving any given iteration would be to doom all subsequent possibilities yet each new iteration also consigns all previous iterations to oblivion – the photographic record is all that remains.”
Untitled by Josh Redman
These images from Josh Redman are part of an ongoing personal project on children and autonomy. The first image won Redman this year’s AOP Assistant Award, and the second was taken just a few metres from the AOP exhibition the day after the awards.
“For me, children are one of the great mysteries in our world. The children in these images have discovered a vast expanse of carpet in an otherwise prefabricated environment. They have taken this as a cue to release and exercise an imagination which has been suppressed by everyday practical needs such as not getting lost in the shops,” Redman says. “I hope that I can somehow understand and communicate some of the strange complexities of children in these images.”
Drawn by Light: The Photographic Society Collection
(Media Space, Science Museum, London until 1 Mar, then 20 Mar – 21 Jun at Bradford Media Museum)
Revealing a selection of treasures from The Royal Photographic Society collection, this eclectic exhibition reveals how adventures and experiments in photography have shaped our vision of the world. 200 highlights have been selected for the show, which is now held in an open archive at National Media Museum, and is one of the most comprehensive photographic collections in the world, made up of over 250k images, 8k items of photographic equipment and 31k books and other documents.
The exhibtion draws parallels between photographers across centuries and within the bodies of work from individual artists, revealing continuity and change across a myriad of forms, from landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, nudes, war photography, abstract work and more. Images date back to the 1820s from pioneers including Roger Fenton, William Henry Fox Talbot and Julia Margaret Cameron through to contemporary icons such as s Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill and Martin Parr.
The show provides a facinating glimpse into the vast history of the photograph and its application, in terms of art but also the science and technology behind the work, with several key artefacts and other intriguing ephemera on show including Nicéphore Niépce’s heliographs, Talbot’s camera lucida sketchbook, and the first ‘instant’ camera from 1864. And keep an eye out for (what is likely to be) the first ever photograph of a hippopotamus, taken at London Zoo in 1852 by Juan Carlos Maria Isidro.
Shown above: Nude on Sand (1936) by Edward Weston; Self portrait with Vivex 3-Colour Camera (1937) by Madame Yevonde; Sepervivum Percarneum (1922) by Albert Renger-Patzsch; Spirit of the Storm (1911) by Francis James Mortimer; Fading Away (1858) by Henry Peach Robinson; Contents of an Ostrich’s stomach (1927) by Fredrick William Bond; Portrait of Christina (1913) by Lieutenant Colonel Mervyn O’Gorman. (Images © National Media Museum Bradford, Vivex self portrait © Yevonde Portrait Archive)
Atmospheres by Philip E James
As part of the Atmospheres series, these cinematic images from Philip E James capture red-headed subjects in hazy environments, and radiate a sense of both lingering calm and anticipation or transition in the dawn light between night and day. The first four images above recently won the AOP Non-Commissioned Environment (series) award.
The subjects were lit with a flash, and some editing was done in post to enhance certain areas and remove minor elements at James’ production house Shadowplay, but much of the atmosphere was kept the same as on set, this being an integral aspect of the final concept for James.
“The viewer is left to interpret what has happened, is happening or is about to happen within the scene. The images were taken in Swedish Lapland in August at 5am in the morning when the temperature goes from below zero to 10 degrees in a matter of minutes and creates a wonderful mist as the sun rises,” James says. “I wanted it to feel like you couldn’t tell if the people were waiting for something, leaving something, hoping etc. Very ambiguous.”
Waiting: Selections from Erwin Olaf: Volume I & II
(Hasted Kraeutler gallery, New York, until 28 Feb)
This “abbreviated retrospective” exhibition of work by Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf includes recent and previously unseen photographs, in his recognisable highly stylized aesthetic, with sleek surfaces, hyperrealist lighting and often an unnerving combination of drama and stillness.
Also being exhibited is a split-screen video installation, a 50-minute film also entitled Waiting, created in collaboration with composer Sebastiaan Roestenburg. It shows a girl who sits and waits in a restaurant, and explores the emotions that ‘just waiting’ can trigger – hopefulness, disappointment, and so on.
Olaf has described the psychological state of waiting as “an odd place in between two emotions that is quickly disappearing, as everybody now has a phone or an iPad that connects them to the world”. Much of the work could be read through this lens of waiting, depicting particular moments in emotional states, whilst addresing the wider sense of restlessness and impatience of contemporary society.
All images © Erwin Olaf, Courtesy of the Artist and Hasted Kraeutler, NYC
Make Life Worth Living: Nick Hedges’ Photographs for Shelter 1968-72
(Media Space, Science Museum, London, until 1 Mar)
“The thing about people living in slum housing is hat there is no drama…it’s about the absolute wearing down of people’s morale in a quiet and undemonstrative way.”
It’s the last chance to see this moving exhibition of works from documentary photographer Nick Hedges, commissioned in 1968 by the housing and homelessness charity Shelter to document and expose the oppressive and abject living conditions experienced in poor quality housing in the UK.
Hedges visited towns and cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow, between 1968-72. The photographs are un-sensational thanks to his empathy and passion about representing inequality. However, they remain to be an often shocking but powerful record of an otherwise potential hidden aspect of British social history.
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