Working almost exclusively with black and white film, his monochromatic images document a different side of generic London: an urban landscape undergoing perpetual modernisation. Devoid of colour and with few empirical references, Cairns’
LDN takes us on an obscure path through new London with a dedicated yet dreamlike portrayal of the city’s streets. As we gaze upon the collection of imperceptible modern builds and places, searching for recognisable traces in his abstracted scenes, it is hard not to wonder what we may pass inattentively as we walk through the metropolis, unconsciously guided by our designated or laid-out routes.
The LDN series integrates the new with tradition – a marriage that comes together in the action of making the prints. For Cairns, these images are as much about the content as the layering of the process. With a profound interest in the history of photography and traditional printing methods, his practice is rooted in chemical-based techniques. These 35mm transparencies are part-developed, solarised, and then re- developed before being printing onto pre-coated aluminium sheets. The spills and imperfections of this process cross paths with the finished image, adding to the aesthetic of his captivating project.