Brian Griffin “Still Waters”


Exhibited in June in Derby as part of the Format Festival 2013, this collection of portraits captures inspirational characters, people who shaped Derby’s cultural, economic and industrial landscape. Although brining to mind the 18th century collection of paintings from the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, the portraits carry something more contemporary and surreal as well.Format Festival’s description of Griffin’s work:

“The cinematic qualities evident in Still Waters are heightened by an almost audible narrative between the characters and the, now absent, photographer. Griffin stated in his 1980 short film The Story of Brian that : portrait photography brings two people close together in an intimate relationship, where the photographer takes on the role of the sensitive manipulator.

Here, the solo portraits slowly draw one into the subjects personal space and an intimate dialogue ensues, the lazy side glance is intimate and outstretched arms are sedictive. The group compositions emanate a different dynamic; the meticulous placement of the figures results in them emitting a tangible energy, a tension. Crown Derby workers are presented as triptych to exacerbate this, fractional changes in gesture and gaze appear as if snatched from a film sequence. Fluid gestures become awkward when static, a raised eyebrow becomes a flicker of impatience and the glint of an eye is irritation.

Brian Griffin has had a profound effect on photography in the last 30 years and is described by the British Journal of Photography as the most unpredictable and influential British portrait photographer of the last three decades. He creates works of art that leave the viewer mesmerised.”

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