Photography continues to challenge the existence, even relevance, of painting, leading to monotonous cries of doom about the longevity of painting as a contemporary art form. 1839 saw the production of the first photograph and it was not long after that that it was declared “painting is dead”. 170 years on, the same cry that painting is dead crops up every now and then and is mostly ignored as history has proven otherwise.
Six photographers have work showing in the Men on Show exhibition at Artroomers Artspace, and they have proven that photography is not at all threatened by painting (just as painting is not threatened by photography). In fact, photographers, like painters, also continue to reinvent ways of seeing the world by embracing traditional, contemporary and experimental approaches in both techniques and subject matter.
John Lascelles, Chris Donaldson and Tony Sheffield are highly professional “wet darkroom” photographers who use film and chemicals to develop their images.
Tony Sheffield and Chris Donaldson also make use of current digital developments which include using a digital SLR camera or scanning their negatives and printing their images digitally (“dry darkroom” technology making use of computer programmes such as Lightroom, Photoshop etc).
They achieve a crispness to their images, as does Steve Evans, who uses digital photographic technology exclusively, utilising Photoshop’s powerful workspace and applications to adapt his photos to his desired limits.
Steve Evans’ colour photograph shows this same crispness, keeping just within the boundaries of the subtlety of the colours of our world
whereas Mark Davis experiments with infrared photography creating a world of otherness with weird light.
Andy Toohey, who has only been working in digital for the last year or so after working as a darkroom photographer for the past 15 years has given us an insight into a personal space by introducing some intrigue and mystery through his subtle, rather than obvious, use of digital technology, achieving a sensitive, soft image.
To view these works in full, go to the blog Men on Show, posted 2 weeks ago.