Airports for the Lights, Shadows & Particles

A survey exhibition by Jyll Bradley
The Bluecoat, Liverpool
25th Feb - 1st May 2011, free entry

Reviewed by Ross O’Toole

As soon as you enter this exhibition your attention will be caught by the huge, wide-angled photographs which are brilliantly suspended in the darkness. The use of light boxes and low ambient lighting bring the the photos to life. The works appear chiefly concerned with documenting the dynamic relationship between light and objects.

In photography, light is the supreme element. Photographers wait days, or even weeks, for that 'perfect' light. Bradley focuses on artificial lighting, which is notoriously difficult to photograph correctly. Despite this, some of the photographs are the best renditions I have seen of artificial light. For example, one image is captured in a seemingly mundane office building. The perfect exposure makes the image seem altogether pleasing, drawing our attention to the complexities of light and shadow.

In other works Bradley uses text imposed into the frame to provide a narrative for the photo. I find this distracting and it is why captions are otherwise used separately alongside photographs. However, one might wonder if Bradley is exploring how the relationship between text and imagery is used - or perverted - in the mass media. Considering the intelligent presentation and the technical skill of the photographer, Airports for Lights is an interesting approach to the commonplace and is recommend.

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