As a homage to monochrome photography, the art of printing, and the intriguing beauty of still life, Bruce Rae’s “Looking Glass” exhibition now showing at the Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards has few equals. There is grace, elegance and, for want of a much better word, allure in these images that seem so simple but which are the result of a combined eye for detail at the mechanical stage of pressing a shutter and then in the quest for a printing process and format to bring forth the desired result. It is all quite affecting.
The paper Rae used in the 1980s has long gone. In the intervening years he has tried all manner of vintage processes, notably salt printing (there’s a nice Telegraph article from 2001 that comes up via a quick google). But for this collection he has ‘gone back’ (per the press release) to a more standard approach and printed onto silver gelatin papers. The resulting pictures have a superficially narrow colour range but within that reveal myriad tones and depths. When even a shot of a lightbulb makes you gasp you know you’re in the presence of something special.
The exhibition has but a short time to run on Norman Road. Get yourself there and be entranced.