Gallery One and a Half is pleased to announce acclaimed photographer Laura Pannack’s first London solo show.
For this exhibition, Pannack takes us inside the covert and secret world of young British naturists.
This series builds upon Pannack’s recent explorations of individuals on the fringes of society and her interest in underrepresented stories, particularly within youth culture. Pannack’s work exudes a kind of still beauty, maturity, and timelessness, particularly heightened in this show by the complicity and disclosure of her subjects.
This project provides a mediation on the nature of portrait photography and highlights the traditional role nudity plays within art. What happens when we strip away the elements of personality that are tied to our perceptions of clothing and environment? We know nothing about those pictures – whether they are weathy, poor, educated, uneducated. Panack’s work liberates us from these limiting confines of judgement.
Though unlike conventional representations, the images in this exhibition neither celebrate nor comment on nudity and human form, but rather on the body’s irrelevance when these strangers meet. Pannack’s subjects are connected and at peace with their identities. Their interest in naturism is not built on voyeurism or exhibitionism, but rather on the sensations their environments provoke; the cold water on their skin, the damp grass between their toes, the sun on their backs. These photographs challenge our assumptions, showing young people as who they are, removed from the trappings of contemporary life and expectation.
For more people, being nude in public is the stuff of nightmares, but for a marginalized group of young people, who are ordinarily conditioned to be image conscious, the act of stripping off and sharing yourself with the group is the ultimate form of freedom.
The gallery’s three floors represent three stages of undress, and three levels of inclusion. Solitary nudity with the subjects own homes, moves to solitary nudity in shared spaces, and later to nudity within groups. Paradoxically, the more comfortable that the naturists feel, the heightened sense of discomfort for the audience. Upon first meeting these pictures, we find ourselves scrutinizing the choices of footwear, and other minute items of adornment as though searching for something familiar. This need is usurped as we become more comfortable with the imagery. We appear simultaneously as intruders and associates.
What is perhaps most shocking about these photographs is the normality and inclusiveness that they capture. This project does not showcase vulnerability, but the strength of a minority and the nature of personal liberty.
Laura Pannack is a London based Photographer. She was educated at the University of Brighton and Central Saint Martins College of Art. Her work has been exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally including at The Magenta Foundation (Toronto), Hereford Photography Festival, Lucies International Photography Awards (New York), Royal Festival Hall and National Portrait Gallery (London). In 2010 she was awarded the first prize in the World Press Photo Portrait Singles category and is a finalist in this year’s Sony World Photography Awards. Her clients include The Sunday Times, Telegraph, Guardian, and The Independent.
This exhibition is produced in partnership with Here, supported by Catherine Collins, and curated by Rhiannon Adam. To coincide with the exhibition, we will also be producing a series of events to complement the work on show, to include portfolio reviews and artists talks (TBC). For more information please check the events section of our website for announcements.