Portfolio: Peter Marlow
Sunday 22 May 2011
What is a "point of interest"? That is the question the renowned British photographer Peter Marlow poses in his latest exhibition, which takes a decidedly oblique viewof the world and places centre stage that which would more often be overlooked.
Marlow has worked as a photojournalist for the celebrated Magnum agency for the past 30 years, his projects taking him to more than 80 countries, from Africa via the Americas to the Eastern bloc.
But over the past two decades, he has worked on a personal project alongside his main commissions, shooting on reflex anything that captured his eye. Unlike the immediacy of photojournalism, there is no innate narrative to the imagery, but rather an eerie sense that something has happened, and it is for the viewer to muse upon exactly what: the safe in the derelict room, for instance; the shopping trolley in the lake; the tree emerging from a window. As it happens, the first of these was left at Islington's Gainsborough Studios, the home of many a B movie from 1924 to 1951, which was stripped of artefacts before being demolished in 2002 – only the safe was too heavy to move; the trolley, meanwhile, was shot in Milton Keynes – redolent, perhaps, of our throwaway society; while the tree is there to keep goats out of a school in a Cypriot town abandoned during the island's intercommunal violence. But none of this is known to the casual viewer.
"I'm fascinated by the idea of telling a story without much going on in the shot," says Marlow. "I compare it to staring out of a train window, not looking at much, but as you fall asleep, those images come back into your head. It's very subjective."
'Point of Interest' is at the Wapping Project Bankside, London SE1 ( thewappingproject bankside.com), from Tuesday to 2 July
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