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Lost Press : Nigel Grierson : Lightstream


Lightstream represents Nigel Grierson’s most recent work, as he makes hand held, long exposures of figures beside the light of the ocean.Taking a quote from Dieter Appelt, ‘A snapshot steals life that it cannot return. A long exposure (creates) a form that never existed’, Grierson makes illusory images which on the surface might appear to owe as much to the medium of painting as they do to photography. It’s important to him however, that these are unmanipulated images straight from the camera; ‘There’s a huge element of chance, and the embrace of the happy ac- cident within this approach. A sense of discovery within the work, is always very important to me. I’m particularly interested in how photographs can speak to us on a subconscious level’. The traces and marks created by the moving light become a starting point for the imagination, as the images move closer to abstraction. On occasion, a human figure might be so distressed and degraded by the movement, that all that remains is their posture or demeanor; a sort of essence.

“Lightstream feels entirely consistent with the concerns of Grierson’s earliest photographs, while marking a significant development. The pictures uncover another world inside this one, to paraphrase an old Surrealist saying, a realm both ravishing and mournful. I imagine many of these images would have great impact as large, standalone prints, but the photobook’s more complex construction enables an intensification of effect. Each picture becomes another facet in the haunting alternative reality inscribed on the camera’s sensor”. – Rick Poynor


The book ends with a quote from Leonard Cohen:

‘Listen to the hummingbird

Who’s wings you cannot see

Listen to the hummingbird

Don’t listen to me’.


Nigel Grierson studied photography at the Royal College of Art. He is perhaps best known for the album sleeves he photographed and designed for 4AD under the name 23 envelope in partnership with Vaughan Oliver.These have been hailed by the likes of design historian, Catherine Mc Dermot, and founder of Eye Magazine, Rick Poynor, as amongst the most important design of the eighties and early nineties. In 2000, after a career directing music videos and TV commercials in both Europe and America, Grierson gave up commercial work to pursue his own photography full time. A monograph of his work ‘Photographs’, was published by Dewi Lewis in 2014, and ‘Passing Through’ is to be published by Lost Press in 2020. He has had one man shows in Japan and the USA and his work is in the collection of the V&A Museum.


Nigel Grierson : Lightstream 

Published by Lost Press


80 pages, 36 colour plates 272mm x 215mm

ISBN: 978 -1-9162373-1-5







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