Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nicholas Hughes - In Darkness Visible

Don't you just hate it when you have an idea for a project, but you haven't fully formulated it or got around to it and then you find someone has just done the exact same thing...

That was my first thought when I saw Nicholas Hughes' project In Darkness Visible taken in the great London Parks, on Lens Culture. My second response was hmm - very Steichenesque - which isn't necessarily a bad thing (+ I'm just reading a novel about Steichen's early life and time in France in WWI, which has resulted in half a dozen massive Steichen tomes from the library stacked around the house)

...I have constructed a forest built from accumulated memory and the ghosts of trees...

The city park offers an escape valve – a window leading the weary city dweller to reconstructed, consumable nature. Although the essence of these spaces can appear pseudo-natural, some of these great trees actually predate the infrastructure of the city, and despite their accommodated appearance have witnessed centuries of human endeavour...

You can find Hughes' website here - which has a lot of his other work on as well.

For me this is an interesting use of colour that yes, maybe looks back to the very early days of Autochrome colour and gum bichromate etc, but is also very different from the whole Contemporary American Color look so prevalent right now.

I would really like to see these in person (at the Photographers Gallery from today). As Lensculture says:

"The photographs of Nicholas Hughes play with light and seeing at the extreme ends of lightness and darkness. In his earlier work, his large white on white on white photographs were like whispers of tone and nuance that rewarded the viewer when your eyes could finally detect the delicacy and wonder and richness of what was there with such subtlety. They were so fine that it was nearly impossible for the finest book printer to hint at the overall elegance of the images. And trying to show them on a computer screen would be a crime."

I think I prefer Verse 1 to Verse 2 (which is also very good though)

Now, if only I'd got my arse in gear and actually got down to working on this idea...

(Edward Steichen, Platinum Print with applied colour)

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