The River Lea runs from the Thames in east London up to Hertfordshire. Once a busy commercial waterway, it is now a nature reserve and leisure area but also includes industrial estates, sports centres, new build homes and council estates.
Working together, Polly Braden & David Campany move between observational documentary and experimental stagings. There are poetic snapshots and theatrical incidents, naturalistic portraits and semi-fictional enactments. The photographs reflect the place but also reflect upon the processes and conventions of documentary photography.
Escape from the city; the reinvention of social spaces; the attraction of water; the meeting of different cultures; the persistence of nature. The project weaves together its motifs, building a complex description of the past, present and future of this half-forgotten thread of land.
The photographs were made between January 2003 and July 6, 2005: the day it was announced London would host the 2012 Olympic Games and build its key facilities in the lower Lea Valley.
The present architectural and cultural metamorphosis of King’s Cross echoes the recent changes in the Lea Valley, providing an interesting backdrop to the exhibition.
Since graduating from the London College of Printing in 2002, Polly Braden has collaborated with a number of writers to produce extended photographic essays on the Middle East, China and the UK, published in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and Icon. Her book China Between was published by Dewi Lewis in 2011. Past winner of the Guardian Young Photographer of the Year, the Jerwood Photography and the Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographer’s Award, Braden has established herself as one of the most interesting photographers working in documentary photography. Her work has been exhibited widely at venues including Street Level, Glasgow; the Noorderlicht Photogallery, Netherlands; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
David Campany is an artist, curator and prolific writer, publishing over two hundred essays on art, photography and film. His books include Art and Photography (Phaidon 2003), Photography and Cinema (Reaktion 2008) and Jeff Wall: Picture for Women (Afterall/MIT Press 2011). He co-curated Anonymes: unnamed America in Photography and Film for Le Bal, Paris, in 2010.
Campany & Braden are also presenting collaborative work in the group showAlias, curated by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin for Krakow Photomonth 2011
Printing provided by Photofusion
Exhibition printed on Canson Infinity Rag Photographique Digital Fine Art Paper