Effie Paleologou “The Front”

As a follow up to my previous post on Effie Paleologou’s small exhibit in the V & A, I decided to explore the photographer’s work in greater detail.

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Paleologou’s photo series of Hastings (from an exhibition entitled “the front”) immediately grabbed my attention for its gritty urban characteristics. Her images transform the familiar to something abstract and alien, challenging the viewer’s perceptions of the urban landscape at night.

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A number of possibilities occurred to me. Perhaps the photographer is creating a window into an alternate timeline that exists under our very noses. Are the images suggesting that we overlook our surrounding environment? Another possibility is that the images present to us places “we do not belong. It as if we are coming to spaces that have just been left, as if the action had literally just moved on elsewhere, seconds before we arrived”. (Kent, 2000, P.5)

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The latter idea certainly holds currency when observing the images. The use of artificial light (similar to her series ‘Mean City’) and deep shadows create a menacing and profound use of space. Whilst we see sand on the beach, it is really all about the possibility of space – the light and shadow simply adds tension and suggests to the viewer a feeling of “imminent danger”. (Kent, 2000, P.4)

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What is most impressive about this series is the photographer’s take on simple subject matter and delivering a complex visual narrative. The images are not distinguished by their technical prowess, on the contrary, the photographer’s approach is clearly intentional. The creative use of light and shadows and the angles/perspectives used on subjects as mundane as puddles of water and lonely street lights are really what make this series stand out. These are techniques and approaches I may take forward for assignments later in the course and for further personal projects.

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Effie Paleologou “The Front”

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