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Dispatches from Arles: intimate, poetic images by Alisa Resnik

Alisa Resnik’s exhibition One Another, at Galerie Huit in Arles, is a hidden gem

Tucked away down a side street – Rue de la Calade – just a short walk from the Arles Amphitheatre, is an exhibition of work by Russian-born photographer Alisa Resnik.

One Another is a series that Resnik made over a five-year period (from 2008 to 2013), and is shown across two rooms within the ornately decorated, labyrinthine Galerie Huit, a late 17th-century mansion.

The work, which won the European Publishers’ Award for Photography last year and was published by Actes Sud, Blume, Dewi Lewis, Peliti Associati and Kehrer Verlag, is something of a visual diary – Resnik’s responses to places she has lived in and worked.

Resnik, who is represented by Milan-based agency Prospekt, took the images mainly at night, in Berlin, where her family relocated when she was 14 years old, and in St Petersburg. The locations are not important, however; rather, the images are based on how she feels in a place, she says.

“It might be light, or movement that [I’m drawn to]. It’s something I can’t describe, something inside of me.”

The images deftly play with shadow and light (Resnik studied art history at Humboldt University in Berlin and says she was inspired by the use of chiaroscuro in painting); we see blurry close-ups of emotion-filled faces, characterful portraits of punters in the bar where Resnik works, and other ordinary subjects and scenes that become magical through Resnik’s lens – a moth, tree branches blowing in the wind, a horse. Together, the images create a unique poetry that is absorbing and haunting.

A mention should be made of curator Laura Serani, who has done a skilful job of tailoring the images to the space.

Resnik’s work is part of a group show, which also features Australian photographer Vee Speers, among others.

One Another is at Galerie Huit until 09 August