Last week I visited and shot the new Prototypes and Experiments show at the Aram Gallery.
I always feel lucky to be able to spend a few hours with the work and to observe the relation from one piece to another within my frame. In this particular case it was also a rare chance to discover the thinking process and multiple iterations behind projects I had seen in their finished form a few months earlier during the London Design Festival.
I asked Riya Patel, curator at the Aram Gallery, if she could share with us her vision for the 9th edition of this exhibition series.
Our ongoing exhibition series Prototypes and Experiments has a simple premise, and I think that’s what makes it so strong. Roughly once a year we ask a range of designers and architects to display the process behind a chosen project: whether old, new, never published or still in the works.
For young designers, it’s a chance to see the rough, messy parts of design that never usually get shown. Established designers also find it interesting to see how other studios think and develop ideas. We always aim for a diverse group of participants in terms of experience: from designers who just graduated this summer to established studios who work within their own niche in design. For the participants, presenting process is itself a design exercise – a chance to revisit the story of a project, or pause and reflect on the direction of the studio.
As curator, as it gives me a good excuse to nose around my favourite designers’ studios. I asked a series of architects to get involved in this edition, including Sam Jacob who works in such a fascinating and imaginative way. We talked about representation and presenting a single drawing, but ended up with an ensemble that represents the multi-faceted nature of his work more effectively. The exhibit has clay casts of bricks and basketballs, copies of watercolour landscapes by Prince Charles that have been doctored with looming black shapes, and a part model and drawing of the studio’s work for the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Prototypes & Experiments is at The Aram Gallery until 19 August
The super talented Hattie Fox, founder of That Flower Shop Studio on Hoxton Street, who I recently photographed for Long & Waterson, read her interview here!
In the past year I’ve had numerous occasions to shoot for The Collective/Old Oak co-living space at different stages of its development, and I remember feeling there was something strangely familiar about these desks when I shot them. And then as I was editing the images it hit me; they were by the open source furniture design company Opendesk, which I had discovered a few months before at the Brompton District during the London Design Festival and then again at the Aram Gallery in Covent Garden.
The longest nights of the year are almost here and I’m enjoying Winter even more this time around as I’m getting ready to fly home to Réunion Island where it’s Austral Summer. I relish each frozen breath, blow of crisp air, long shadow in the middle of the day, and day of sun hanging above the mist. Shooting days are shorter as it gets dark so early, but there is something magical about winter interior photography in England, when light bounces through windows to draw long white rectangles on walls.
This time of the year is also when we take a look back at those 50 or so past weeks. While I was expecting them to be incredibly quiet (I was in maternity leave after all), they’ve actually been incredibly busy, with a book published and launched at the Whitechapel Gallery, a new teaching job in the nicest university I’ve ever worked in, keeping up with old clients and starting relationships with new ones. And already 2017 is looking rather promising. See you in a few weeks if I don’t get my acts together for a summery Christmas post from Réunion.
I first came to photography in the strangest way, working as a professional retoucher for a famous photographer. It’s only after I had spent a few years working in post-production that I became a photographer in my own right, while studying Graphic Design, why keep it simple?
I guess this made approach pictures as images or graphic objects, sometimes made up, rather than photographs.
Although I really do a lot less pure retouching nowadays and keep post production minimal when possible, I feel that I know my way around my toolbox.
So when Sleekness approached me to know if I was keen on trying their retouching workflows I didn’t think much of it. But then knowing that I had quite a big portrait job coming I thought, hey, why not. It’s always a bit tricky to try something new when time is limited and that you know where your usual tools are and how to use them, so I was surprise to find everything I was looking for quite instinctively. I really enjoyed testing it out, especially the brushes.
I’m personally a bit less keen on the presets because they are not quite my style and I like to keep the control on the light and colour balance, but actually I ended up using quite a few as a base and removing some filters, and honestly they are quite cool.
So overall a great experience and I will definitely keep using these brushes, and maybe even a few workflows (this is my honest opinion, not getting any reward besides the workflows I tested out by the way!)