Thursday, 16 January 2014

Photography and a little bit of art at the London Art Fair

all is not what it seems

The 2014 London Art Fair photo tour.


I had an hour of browsing before embarking on the tour that I had pre-booked.

We were whisked around at high speed by the glamorous and enthusiastic Jean Wainwright for over an hour, in which I learnt so much that I had not appreciated about the works at first sight.

For photography now is not about straight images. I heard one gallery owner admit to Jean that 'she cannot sell un-manipulated images; people want something more'. Composites are particularly in vogue.

It is about reinterpretation and reworking of the work or others. Of manipulation and conceptualisation. About process as well as content. About using old techniques such as cyanotypes and manipulated celluloid.

The beautiful image above by Rory Carnegie, from his award winning series Port Meadow Dogs is more than just a single image. It is a composite of layers, combined with a studio portrait of the dog , then reinserted into the landscape.

And it is sublime to my eyes. Probably my favourite work seen on the day, even if it didn't qualify for 'the tour'.

We saw artwork reworked from oil painting to photograph, looking at surface and light.

an old oil painting photographed to emphasise the play of light on the canvas
Jorma Puranen 'Shadows and Reflections 83"   at Purdy Hicks Gallery

Jorma Puranen says of the series

'the series questions the relationship between the portrait, the portrayed, and the photograph of the portrait, and the way in which the employed mediums influence our perception of them as an 'image'.

See more examples here

And at  Sarah Myerscough are photographic portraits created in the style of old masters by Maisie Broadhead.

Framed like a painting. Lit like a Dutch master. But a photograph; unadulterated yet clearly set up rather than a snatched image.

Santeri Tuori 'Forest no 3' 

Treetops in both colour and monochrome superimposed.

Alice Mara ceramics

Digital images superimposed onto porcelain by Alice Mara

life sized replication of a real interior of a home

Digital images recreating an entire wall of a home at the original size

Edward Burtynsky 'Shipbreaking 23'

Burtynsky reworked the field proof polaroids that he used when preparing to make images of a ship breaking yard in Chittagong. These had become damaged over time, and by printing these up he replicates the theme of damage and destruction from the original scenes in the damaged celluloid.

Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry

Throw some books in the air and photograph them against the sky........... the series entitled "All that is solid melts into air"

I am not entirely sure what the message is here...... I must have stopped concentrating for a moment on the  tour; probably needing a cup of tea.

Also airborn were these beautiful composites of derelict houses, lifted into in the air and suspending belief, by Laurent Chehere from her series 'Flying Houses'.

I came away with renewed enthusiasm and a determination to get creating. I have barely scratched the surface here with the wide variety of works on offer.

 The art fair is about primarily about paintings, with a substantial number of sculptures thrown in too.

Here are a few that I enjoyed........

'Verge painting 3' by Andrew Mackenzie

triptych by John Caple

Wood Structure by William Gear 1955

It is on for 3 more days; get ye down there. For a photograph will never do the work justice.


  1. *Don't waver from the path regardless of the trends...

    I think you are furrowing the correct field with the painterly multi's.


  2. the trends are always of interest; but there is no likelihood of me managing anything as fancy; after all I just go for walks with my camera.

    However I do think that Santeri Tuori has borrowed my 'treetops'