William Talbot, Leaves of Asparagus, 1840
Garry Fabian Miller, Risen, 1989
Susan Derges, River Taw, 1998 (detail)
Shadowcatchers at the Victoria & Albert Museum (13th October 2010 - 20th February 2011) is one of this autumn's major exhibitions, presenting the work of five international photographers (Pierre Cordier, Susan Derges, Garry Fabian Miller, Adam Fuss and Floris Neusüss) who have pioneered new techniques in camera-less photography: experimental picture-making using the first principles of photography - the action of light onto light-sensitive paper.
Ingleby Gallery has represented Susan Derges and Garry Fabian Miller for the past ten years, and will present a parallel exhibition, looking at the wider career of these two artists in the context of early historical photographic experiments.
A Little Bit of Magic Realised takes its title from the words of William Henry Fox Talbot, writing in 1839, and the exhibition begins with a very rare copy of his Sun Pictures in Scotland; a volume of twenty three calotypes published in 1845, the first book of "photographic" images published anywhere in the world.
The simple, elegant techniques and processes behind camera-less images evolved from Fox Talbot's starting point through the work of other nineteenth century figures: Hill & Adamson, John Muir Wood and Anna Atkins, and into the twentieth century with Man Ray's Surrealist rayographs, Christian Schad's Dadaist shadographs and the László Maholy Nagy's Constructivist photograms.
These processes have also formed the basis for Susan Derges's and Garry Fabian Miller's own explorations with light over the last thirty years. A Little Bit of Magic Realised presents work from the archives of both artists to consider these links with the early pioneers. This exhibition also looks to the future, and in conjunction with Shadowcatchers at the V&A, confirms Derges and Miller as two of the most progressive artists working with photography today.
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