The Dissolving Man

Greg Neville, Close Up-Gary Cooper, 2012

A new project I’m working on is from the videos I projected in my Masters exhibition. Short close up shots from various movies were projected in slow motion, to savour the subtle changes of expression and flickering thoughts that actors convey. The new work is a series of individual frames taken from those close up sequences. The moving pictures have become still, and you can study each expression, isolated from time.

The Masters project was an attempt to combine masculinity and entropy, presenting images of male faces expressing doubt and disollution (the video project was called The Dissolving Man).

When good actors perform close ups it can be very moving, a wonderful insight into human emotion. Gary Cooper was known in Hollywood as someone who didn’t appear to be doing anything at all when you saw him on set, but revealed great skill and expression when the same performance was seen on the big screen. It’s about micro-expressions, internalising and thinking the emotion.

To see what I’m talking about, click on the image for a closer view.

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Noise Confluence

Greg Neville, Noise 1 at A Space gallery

The new staff exhibition at NMIT Visual Arts is called Confluence, and it’s running at the A Space Gallery at Preston campus. My new project Noise had a trial run with this image and the Blurb book, and it looks like it will work out when I expand it with more images.

My January shoot

Images from my first ever fashion shoot, for January Biannual magazine.

The inspiration was a post-apocalypse movie called Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle), Luc Besson’s first film. Survivors dressed in makeshift costumes fight it out amongst the ruins. The ingenuity of the clothes inspired Pouline Töpfer’s combinations of designer fashion and improvised materials.

Although the photographs look simple and improvised, it took seven of us, plus the two models, to complete the project. We shot it at manysquaremetres, a large warehouse space in Kensington.

The experience of shooting fashion is one of dealing with other creative people who have their own ideas and needs: designers, dressers, models, hair & makeup artist, assistants. The location itself is another player, and so is the light. In a long day, time is short and every one works hard.

I’ve always thought of fashion photography as the most creative of the commercial genres: artists working with other artists. The unrestrained aestheticism of fashion, the pursuit of beauty in whatever form, seems a noble human endeavour to me, despite all the waste, exploitation and superficiality. Body decoration must be the oldest form of creativity, and it’s not going away any time soon.

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January Biannual

January Biannual is a new fashion and style magazine and its second edition contains my first effort at fashion photography.

January contains articles about fashion, art, design and photography and its printing and presentation is to a high standard. The shoot was done last year with a team that included fashion designer (and magazine editor) Pouline Töpfer, and art director Olivia Nicholas.

My copy of January is from Metropolis bookshop, and it’s also sold through Readings, Magnation and other stores.

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The Minimalist still life

Laura Letinsky, Untitled 1, Fall 2009

Preparing  lecture on the still life, I’ve rediscovered the work of Laura Letinsky. She is a Canadian artist who makes finely composed still lifes inspired by domestic disorder. White table clothes and white walls provide a pristine stage for her assemblies of fruit, plates, leftovers and food stains.  The arrangements are made with great precision – note the contrast of tension/relaxation in the placement below. Fruit and bottle are teetering on the edge, with casual emptiness behind. At the same time, it is plausibly seen as just the natural disorder of any home. It’s a tightrope.

Over time, Letinsky has minimized the ingredients and colour palette to just white with accents of colour. She works in 10×8, which probably explains the tilting planes, depth-of-field and subtlety of colour and texture.

A good archive of her images can be seen one of her German galleries, Galerie m Bochum, and there’s a video interview with her on Vimeo.

Laura Letinsky, Untitled #43, 2001