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The Pale Mirror

By Sharne Wolff

Mark Kimber’s photography explores the blurred edges between truth and fiction. In The Pale Mirror, Kimber draws on cinematic imagery of the past to conjure epic scenes; tall ships on stormy seas, eerie city buildings, beaming searchlights and cliff top mysteries highlight episodes from youth ‘half remembered’ by the artist.

To create each shot, Kimber fashions a small hand-built diorama lit dramatically by tiny lights. Each miniature landscape is photographed on film using a pinhole camera and a combination of old and new techniques – but without any digital manipulation. Colours are vivid but pearly, and dark vignetting emphasises the cinematic effect. Veiled scenes emerge while possibilities of time, place and imagined narratives tumble from each image. What we see is dependent on the relationship between the visual evidence and our intellectual experience.

The idea that photographic technology is the most reliable process by which to capture ‘truth’ has been one much explored in art. Kimber’s photographs serve as reminders that every image we see is a construction, and every ‘replica’ of reality only ever a pale mirror.

29 August – 6 October 2012

Stills Gallery, Paddington.


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