Harry Watts

STUDIO

FROM 2009

Text by Aaron Schuman

The photographic studio is generally regarded as an invisible space - a non-place, distilled of reality, where photographers are presented with an opportunity to 'make', rather than 'take'm photographs. At the centre of this stripped-back monochrome environment sits an isolated three-dimensional void that is exclusively intended to serve the two-dimensional image, where precise, polished, elaborate and imaginative worlds are conjured up and transformed into a single place. In STUDIO, Harry Watts turns this environment inside out, allowing the camera itself to inhabit the void and explore its surrounding boundaries, where the means, mechanisms and ephemera of the photographic image - ant the photographic imagination - reside. Remarkably, he discovers that upon closer examination the borders and tools so often used to define this space and generate sleek, idealised visions are themselves clunky, cramped and awkward. Painted cinderblocks, crumpled backdrops, crooked ladders, half-broken fans, snaking wires, crumbling styrofoam, and countless bits of gaffer, masking and packing tape encircle such sites, alluding to the hidden character and true nature of the studio itself. Within the series, the charm of the functional trumps the thrill of the fantastical, and through clever and considered observations, Watts sheds light on both the making and taking of photographs, returning these environments - originally created for the purpose of illusion - into places of photographic insight, intrigue, investigation and ultimately, study. 

 

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