The acclaimed British artist-director unpacks representations of economic and military power in his work
It began in March 2015 when David Yates, a client of photographer and fine art printer Mike Crawford, turned up at his print studio, Lighthouse Darkroom, with a “shopping trolleyful” of old boxes of expired photographic paper. The next day, he brought another. The two loads were what was left of a mass clear-out of Yates’ late grandfather Bret Sampson’s darkroom. The British photographer’s London studio was his first port of call, given that Crawford was already working with Yates on another of his personal projects.
“When I unbutton the sleeve of a shirt/Shades of sky under my skin awaken,” read the opening lines of Maria Barnas’ poem You and I, used at the start of Viviane Sassen’s new photobook, Roxane II. Abstract though these lines seem, they possess a subtle symmetry with the images which follow, in which expanses of pale skin sit in stark juxtaposition to graphic, almost blindingly bright streaks of colour. In Roxane II, the human and the organic seem to bleed into one another with captivating results.
One of the first things Thomas Friedrich Schaefer remembers is hiding behind a sofa in his parent’s Sao Paolo apartment, terrified by the cuckoo clock. Or at least he thinks so. It’s hard to say. Schaefer, 33, moved to Brazil from Mainz as a two-week-old baby, returning to Germany five years later. And as a consequence, his memories are a mix of two countries, and two languages. “I’ve always been interested in how memories are formed and built up, and how they change over the years,” he says, highlighting a theme that infuses Experiential Spaces, the series that won him the conceptual category in the 2015 Felix Schoeller Award. The initial inspiration for an image comes from his childhood, but the final scene, meticulously crafted over weeks, takes on a life of its own. “I remember my dad coming home from work and encouraging me to sit at my desk and do my homework, because I was always playing football outside with my friends,” he says of the spark of inspiration for the first shot …