As part of my wider reading and research in part four of Expressing our Vision I have really been struck by the work of Rut Blees Luxemburg the German born photographer and art educator From what I have gleaned from internet searches much of her work is located around urban scenes taken at night. My interest was certainly piqued by her use of large format approaches to image making, given my deep interest and personal practice in using mainly tim for image making. In thinking about the artificial light element of the module I found her images of London illuminated by tungsten and sodium quite haunting and memorable. Indeed They create a storage sense of the beautiful and the brutal in the the same moment.
I need to explain the above statement. When buildings are lit by the tungsten domestic light of occupant from within and are simultaneously bathed in the light of sodium street lights they take on an altogether different form than they do under daylight. Her work not only captures the rugged and at times random within the built environment but it also says something about human presence. I have purposefully not read in detail any critique of her work and I am just describing how the work makes me feel and what i see in it.
I am at an interesting point in the course where I am keener to share what I think of a photographers images rather than annotating the views of others. For tutors reading this I need to acknowledge that it is important to get the views of others and assimilate, accommodate and critique those views but at this stage I am hunting for my own voice as a reviewer of other images.
The image below perhaps typifies what I am saying about Luxemburg’s work. The tower block dominating the images overtly demonstrates the presence of its occupants in a built environment in a way that is not seen in daylight. The random nature of the rooms that are illuminated create a sense of the human in what might other wise could been seen as an inhuman edifice . The glow of the lights from the streets below says something about the urban inner city nature of the location and the way the tower block is framed, almost obscuring everything else in the scene creates an oppressive sense of the scale of the block of that could be a metaphor for the modern inner city. This is of course a highly personal view. It is interesting that the Band ‘The Streets’ used this image as the cover for their gritty album ‘Original Pirate Material’
Luxembourg work explores the urban and what appears to be signs of human presence creating a something beautiful, but also melancholic perhaps. The image below is to my eye composed beautifully and captures much about London on a rainy night with a minimal number of image elements.
As I plan my night time excursion to capture my own images of the beauty of artificial light I am carrying thoughts of Luxemburg’s view on the word in my head!