‘THROUGH THE EYES OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS’, features works by Brian Griffin, Andrew Holligan, Bruce Rae and Gerry Castle.
Four seemingly diverse photographers have been brought together by the discerning eye of the late Paul Arden, Creative Director of Saatchi and Saatchi, a friend and collaborator with all four.
The show includes works from Paul and his wife Toni’s personal collection, assembled over three decades, plus some new works from these photographers.
About the photographers and their works:
Andrew Holligan’s photographs of the white washed windows of closed-down shops are blown–up in scale and become Abstract Impressionist works in their own right. The unframed images are bonded onto glass with the exposed edges unpolished as if cut out directly from the shopfront window photographed. Born out of the political and economic climate of the late 1990s, with the growth of corporate retailing and the birth of online shopping, our high streets found themselves with a lot of empty shops with obscured windows. It is not surprising to find that Andrew studied architecture before taking up photography. In the 1980s and 90s he worked extensively in the US and Australia before settling down in London. He produced a book on Dalston in East London featuring picaresque local characters – Dalston in the 80s. It is a work of social significance as it shows what the area looked like before the hipsters moved in and the place became gentrified. In 2001 he moved to West Sussex. He uses the camera to explore his world and its physicality. At heart he says he still thinks of himself as a street photographer, where he started, grounded in the familiar and commonplace yet with his camera’s lens transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Gerry Castle spent most of his working life as a chief technician at the National Heart Hospital (London) the King Edward VII Hospital (London) and at the private clinic of Professor Sir Magdi Jacoub, the eminent heart surgeon. Now a part of his early life has come to light, the heart stopping photographs he took of Liverpool in the 1950s and 60s. These images show a city still suffering from WW2 damage revealing a Lowry like stripped back ambience.
These precious images emerged from Gerry’s garden shed in 2005 and were the focus of a show at Arden and Anstruther Gallery in 2006. Bleak streets offer a counterpoint of children playing in front of their homes and in bombed out buildings. The black and white imagery is a powerful evocation of a city still reeling from the war, but whose people’s faces tell of the indomitable spirit of Liverpudlians. Gerry Castle lives now in West Sussex.
Bruce carries off a magic trick, in his still life images he manages to give flowers human qualities, weeping, drooping tiredly, aging, young middle aged and then dying. They carry a great and terrible beauty, reminding us of our own limited time much as the greatest Old Master painters did in their time. Time passing haunts these stunningly beautiful fragile images. Surprisingly he uses wooden cameras and traditional wet darkroom procedures. A wizard making magic.
Rae’s work comes out of a solid understanding of vintage photographic technique. He uses a wooden field camera, similar to those used in the 19th Century, and printing techniques, also from that era. Bruce Rae’s rich prints, have a quality that is not reproducible by any digital means and have a deep luminosity.
Toni Arden says: “In the mid 1980s a box of photographs was left in reception at Saatchi and Saatchi for my husband, Paul Arden. No name, no phone number, just the box of beautiful flower prints. My husband treasured this box and always wondered who had left them.”
In 2004 we opened a photographic gallery in Petworth and a man from the Photographic Society in Midhurst called in and asked Paul to give a talk to the society. On entering the flat in Midhurst where the talk was to take place he saw an image on the wall that he recognised as the work of the photographer who had left him the box of photographs many years before. The rest is history. Bruce Rae and his wife Anni became and remain solid friends.”
Brian Griffin was awarded Best Photograph Book in the world, The Guardian named him Photographer of the Decade in the 1980s, Life magazine used his work as the cover to it’s the Greatest Photographs of the 80s. His work with musicians includes some of his most arresting images. He has photographed the likes of Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, Queen, Peter Gabriel and Bryan Ferry.
Brian recalls meeting Paul Arden for lunch. It was 1980 when I first met and worked with Paul Arden, he was then the creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi. In the early eighties nouvelle cuisine was all the rage, wonderful small art pieces fit for a modern art gallery would confront you on your plate in London’s top fashionable restaurants. One day I sat opposite Paul when the waiter brought him his dish. Paul looked down at it then excitedly spread out his arms and exclaimed “Take it away, take it away its too beautiful to eat!”
‘THROUGH THE EYES OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS’
Until July 14th2018.
Augustus Brandt Gallery
Petworth West Sussex GU28 0DX