What We Liked: Tangible, unique, and captivating unaltered photographic works that really capture a moment of natural beauty.
British photographic artist Nicky Taylor brings his renowned exhibition to London fresh from New York. His larger than life works have gained him renown and a reputation, and his works are highly sought after.
Photography these days has become an incredibly disposable commodity. Anyone can own a camera and become a ‘photographer’ by taking pictures of badly dressed moody people or snapping Westfield Stratford in sepia. What’s more, commercial photography has become so reliant on altering and photoshopping images that very few images these days are genuine. However, it takes a particular talent and inspiration to really make waves in the genre, and Taylor is an artist that certainly embodies both these qualities.
On a very quick glance the images in the gallery may well look like something a little commercial. But in a sense, they are. Taylor’s works are all available for purchase, if you happen to have a wall big enough. After all, the subtitle for the exhibition is ‘Photo Art for Modern Interiors’. Their colossal size dominates the intimate gallery space of The Strand Gallery and any owner would certainly have a focal talking point in whatever room it goes into.
However, on closer inspection that you start to realise that these pieces go beyond generic library archive prints. For starters Taylor’s photographs are not at all altered. Sometimes the vibrant colours such as in his underwater barrier reef photos are as they naturally occur, or sometimes shades and vibrancy are coaxed out by way of applying lens filters. What’s more, there are some wonderful idosyncrices and details that are hallmark of their authenticity – the holidaying couple sat almost camoflague against the cliff’s of Cornwall’s Golden Sands, or the half naked nudist on a tropical beach, who apparently later chased Taylor away! Where some may photoshop such things out in persuit of perfection,
their inclusion gives Taylor’s work an incredible sense of being tangible.
Taylor also never composes his shots. The works are all about capturing a real moment as it is, and sometimes he manages to do this with extraordinary prowess. One particular work, Divi Divi catpures the moment ocean spray leaps up at an Aruban watapana tree – an image so spontaneous and arresting it entrances. Or just happens to be in the right place at the right time, in capturing a debris-swept harbour just after a hurricane has passed. But also he breaks some rules and experiments to outstanding effect. His panoramic of Lake Titicaca has an awe inspiring sense of sky and space as he places the horizon in the centre of the landscape – a cardinal sin in photography.
The works themselves are all Lambda Print, exposed and processed in the traditional manner rather than printed with ink, which gives them an incredible sheen. This, along with their size, mean that its a really special occasion to see this in person as there is a glint to them that simply cannot be translated through an internet or magazine image.
Taylor is proof that great photography is by no means a lost craft, and his art is simply exemplary.
The Return to Beauty is on display at The Strand Gallery, London, WC2N 6BP until 17 June 2012. Entry is free. For more information about the artist and his work, visit www.nickytaylorphotography.com.
Featured Image: ‘Calm After the Storm – Peggy’s Cove’ by Nicky Taylor. Photograph: Courtesy of the artist.