In Camera is a legal term meaning “in private” and derives from the Latin “in a chamber.”
This photographic exhibition by artist Alexandra Ross and photographer David Ross unveils two complementary private chambers – one dark and erotic, the other light and sensual. Though their work shares the subject of the female nude they present two quite different viewpoints. In Camera reveals their reflections not only on intimacy and privacy, sensuality and eroticism but on memory and history too.
Both have used ‘low-tech’ digital cameras contained within other tools to produce their work. Alexandra Ross used a built-in laptop camera and David Ross shot with his cell phone. An interesting tension exists between the immediacy of the digital medium and the nostalgic aesthetic of the final images which recall other periods in history when photography was both time-consuming and hands-on.
The themes of intimacy, relationship and memory emerge with quiet restraint in the work of David Ross. His private chamber is a bedroom flooded with daylight – a place where a lover’s narrative unfolds. Often drawing attention to the ephemeral qualities of light in his work, he imbues these grainy monochromatic images, enlarged from low-res files almost to the point of disintegration, with a sensual and tactile quality. They are reminiscent of 1960’s pinups but even more, they offer an elegiac statement that bears witness to the transitory nature of light, beauty and memory itself.
Alexandra Ross’s dimly lit, illicit night scenes draw the viewer into a more erotically charged interior. Here the female nude poses provocatively and consciously for a male viewer who is included as a prop within the pictures themselves, for viewers outside the frame and for the artist herself – the nudes are self-portraits. Her small scale, intimate images were produced using both digital and archaic photographic printing processes (salt printing) and finally printed onto metal plates. These densely coloured, dark images shift ambiguously between the contemporary and the historical, referencing early Victorian erotic daguerreotypes but also subverting stereotypes of the female nude through parody and wit.