ART: PRIVATE VIEW: Susan Derges Newlyn Art Gallery

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The Independent Culture
Susan Derges's "River Taw" photograms present the natural world as you've never seen it before - a view from the riverbed looking up - tracking the water's currents and flow and capturing the way that the river looks from the inside out, according to changes in weather and the phases of the moon.

If this sounds complicated, the technique is actually very simple, though hard to do: a piece of Cibachrome paper is taped to an aluminium plate and covered with a lid to protect it from the light. The plate is then sunk in the water, the lid removed, a flare of light is flashed from a flash gun and the night becomes a giant darkroom fixing the image on the paper. The world is Derges's camera, so to speak. It was one of the earliest methods of photography and is still one of the most direct ways of recording an image.

The result is the view from the bottom up, looking through the water toward the flash gun with ambient light from the moon and stars providing a coloured tinge from pale greens and greys to blues, mauves and pinks. They are extraordinarily beautiful, mesmeric pictures which confirm that Derges is one of the most skilful and imaginative photographers working in Britain today.

Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn, Cornwall (01736 363715) to 24 Oct

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