URBAN ODYSSEYS - BATH AND OTHER WORLD CITIES
BASED ON AN EXHIBITION OF PHOTOGRAPHS AT THE BATH ROYAL LITERARY and SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTION, QUEEN SQUARE, Bath, NOVEMBER 2nd-18th 2011 Exhibition website: http://david-lewis-baker-images.smugmug.com/
by David Lewis-Baker
About the Book
This collection of urban photographic works is linked to an exhibition of my work held at the Bath Literary and Scientific Institution in November 2011. It is part of the wider 'Bath Art Affair' an annual exhibition by over 30 private and public galleries in Bath who belong to the joint Bath Galleries Group. (Website http://www.bathgalleriesgroup.com/ ) the exhibition of 40 works is included here along with many more. The exhibition website is here: http://david-lewis-baker-images.smugmug.com/
I have been photographing the street life and buildings of world cities for the past 30 years, often on my travels around the globe to academic conferences and as a fine artist I bring to bear an instinctive eye for detail and sense of theatricality, grandeur and place. Many pieces are in the great traditions of urban and street photography, sometimes seeking to deal with iconic sights in a novel manner, or recording tiny moments in time as people hurry by or relax. In the process I focus on those elements of cities and their street life that are often ignored. Amongst other things the works displayed reflect my belief that Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, small though it is, bears comparison with the other world cities examined here, many with more obvious roots in modernism and dynamic change. This is achieved by placing images of iconic buildings and scenes of the life of the city of Bath amongst comparable images from the other 'world cities' including London, New York, Chicago, Delhi, Mumbai, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Bologna, Cincinnati, and Manchester
The long tradition of urban street photography, to which my work pays due homage, includes urban landscapes as well as street life. Seminal figures in this tradition include Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, Robert Doisneau, William Klein, Bruce Gilden, Garry Winogrand, Andre Kertesz, Lee Friedlander, Bill Brandt, and Diane Arbus. All have had an influence upon me, whether I am aware of it or not. But I also bring my own originality to each piece including a certain sense of irony and surrealism. Cartier-Bresson famously, and correctly, remarked that the urban photographer requires: 'A velvet hand, and a hawk's eye.' While another urban photographer, Elliott Eriwt, pointed out that photography: 'has little to do with the things that you see and everything to do with the way you see them.' Finally, since reality is subjective and illusive, like all the fine arts, fine art photography is, in my view, a way of telling truths through fictions.
David Lewis-Baker, Lower Camden, Bath, September 2011
A retired professor from Warwick University, David Lewis-Baker is a writer, photographer and new media artist living and working in Bath. His artworks are in private collections around the globe and he is currently Co-convener of exhibitions at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution and undertakes official photography for Bath Abbey.