Amy Russell's new body of work, In Search of the Other Crowd is a series of night-time and day-time shots. The work takes its influence from Irish myths and legends such as The Tuatha Dé Danann, magic, mortality and the unknown mystical other worlds of spirit and form. The sometimes abstract blurred figures contained within some of the photographs are in search of something: notions of the physical world versus the spirit world. This multi-layered work emanates hints of playfulness, mysticism and melancholy.
In Search of the Other Crowd was shot completely with a Holga camera, an inexpensive medium format (120 film) toy camera, made in China and appreciated for its low-fidelity aesthetic. The Holga's cheap construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blurring, light leaks, and other distortions. Russell utilizes the low-fi sensibility of the camera and chooses to see these technical properties as challenging and virtuous aspects of her process.
The Holga camera is light, durable and easy to transport. It is a shot in the dark literally, taking some of the photographs until they become finely tuned with serendipity playing a part. Russell's process entails a long and involved approach requiring multiple shots in many locations in order to capture the perfect lighting or spacing of figures and props. The process is similar to trying to perfect a painting, reworking it until she gets the perfect negative. Some of the shots are double exposures adding extra layers of abstract meaning or dream like effects.
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