New Works

Stephen Hughes
Open Eye Gallery, Wood Street
5th August - 27th September 2005

Reviewed By Kenn Taylor

New Works is a collection of pictures taken by UK photographer Stephen Hughes over a four year journey across Europe and America, where he aimed to capture “places and people that seem to exist on the fringes of the urban and natural landscape”.

Don’t be fooled by the quite impressive image above of a concrete silo set against the snow in Buffalo, USA; few of the pictures are that interesting. In fact most of Hughes’ images are the epitome of bland, but I think that is his point.

Most of the untitled pictures are taken in miserable weather, with average composition and by and large the most unexciting of subjects; patchy woods, houses in the American suburbs, desolate beaches with usually only one or two lonely figures hanging around on the fringes. I guess what Hughes is trying to capture is the everyday average scenery and life seen on the fringes of major centres of population, neither the bustling city nor the dramatic countryside. If this is his idea then he has captured this truth well with the likes of empty playgrounds in Italy and the edge of a paintball arena in the USA. While it is part of the job of artists to show the truth, unfortunately this particular truth makes for rather bland viewing, interesting at best.

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