Picture preview: The Rural College of Art by David Gates


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The Independent Culture

David Gates is an image catcher. He hunts them down and fixes them to a point using pinhole photography and collage.

He works with leaves, feathers and bark capturing their outlines directly onto silver gelatin on bitumen on cardboard.

For Gates pinhole images, far from being nostalgic, are a way of authenticating the present, making it vibrant and shimmering.

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Pinhole has often been used to explain and explore photography by educators and amateurs or even scientists. Lens–free and camera–free it is often thought to be a pure or honest form of image making.

In recent years pinhole photographers Zoe Leonard and Vera Lutter came to prominence – they use the technique together with commercially available, professional photographic paper.

Gates' practice which incorporates both working with found images and pinhole photography seeks to break both technique and possibilities down even further – and make a virtue of trial and error.

It is not a question of returning to some historic position as pinhole has never been developed or used seriously as a technique in the history of photography.

He appropriates aspects of physics and chemistry that are the fundamental tools of all photographic reproduction and combines image fixing techniques with light directed via a hole made by a pin.

The Rural College of Art is at Domo Baal gallery, 3 John Street, London, WC1N 2ES until 30 March