cinema; The natural world

Simplicity and nostalgia captured on film
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The Independent Culture
Two very different photographic styles prepare to meet this week at the opening of the latest Photofusion exhibition.

Peter Maschkhan and Lorenz Kienzle have brought their diverse talents together but draw on very similar inspirations.

Maschkhan's striking black-and-white images, taken in 1993, celebrate urban and rural aspects of the Australian landscape and establish a distinctive style which familiarises itself with the viewer after a seemingly short time.

He captures chunks of dramatic sky, intrusions of sharp, spiky succulence and the play of natural shadows on human habitations, reducing everything to a more abstract expression.

Maschkhan uses no sophisticated camera trickery, relying instead on a red filter and a high-contrast printing technique, which gives each image depth as well as a rather compelling sinister quality. As Maschkhan says, this also "enhances simplicity, which I believe is very important for my work".

Lorenz Kienzle, on the other hand, draws on the rich and varied life of Latium, north of Rome, which he has visited many times and where he spent a year between 1990 and 1991, documenting the peasant community which seems straight out of a 1920s family album.

He catches people both on and off guard continuing a way of life which has remained virtually uncontaminated by modernity since the earliest farming days.

He explains: "My neighbours were still living and working on their land. For me they represent an old- fashioned way of living in Italy which is dying out."

The images are powerful, poignant and, some might say, consciously archival. With such subjects as an old woman sporting a wine bottle on her head (right) or lazing dogs napping in the noon day sun, they are, however, unconscious markers of history.

ROBIN DUTT

'Australian Landscapes' by Peter Maschkhan and 'Monti Sabini' by Lorenz Kienzle are at the Photofusion Gallery, 17a Electric Lane, London SW9 (0171-738 5509) 12 Sept to 11 Oct. Tue-Fri 10.30am-5.30pm, Sat 12noon- 4pm.

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