LONDON.- A Day At Home, the new photographic series by Charlotte Colbert, playfully explores the relationship between the imagined and the real within the context of the home. She loosely parallels the writer and the housewife as figures struggling to distinguish between the two, their identities dissolving within the huis-clos of their setting and imaginings.
The black and white images, shot on medium format film and shown within the context of their original negative, are like surreal fragments of a dream or nightmare.
A truly original visual storyteller her images are hauntingly evocative Laura Bailey, Vogue.
Using long and double exposures as well as props and distorting mirrors, her camera becomes a portal into the mind of a fictional character.
Some photographers take pictures and others make them. Charlotte is most definitely in the second category, her pictures a gateway into [...] her search for meaning and her very special way of seeing --Dorothy Bohm, photographer and co-founder Photographers Gallery in London.
With playful nods to Bourgeois femme-maison, the visuals of ruins and fairy tales, Colbert questions the daily insanity of being human, more specifically within the context of the home.
Sometimes it feels the thread linking us to the world is so frail that at any time it could break leaving us at the mercy of all our repressed confusion, loss and fear --Charlotte Colbert.
Shot on location, in a derelict house in Bethnal Green, the ruins become a character in themselves, the murky mind-scape from which one cannot escape.
When I see the pictures I feel the woman is probably sat in her clean and comfortable living room. The decay around her existing solely in her head -- Mila Askarova.
Charlotte Colbert is a photographer and screenwriter based in London. She has developped a distinct narrative to her work, which can be followed from her large-scape triptychs, to her film-noir series and her more recent medium format stills.
Drawing from her screenwriting, Colberts photographic work is strongly anchored within the language of film and story-telling. Her pictures originally conceived as a series, a sequence developped in script format before being shot.
In her first solo show, Stornoway, shown at the Wilmotte and Tristan Hoare Gallery in the old Lichfield Studios, she explored the concept of narrative within the still image, building around the sequencing of images in order to express a space and a time. She used traditional 35mm black and white film and showed the pictures within the negative, questioning the way one looks at photography and contextualizing it as a record of events and patterns in the greater sequence of meaning. By turning the image around and leaving the negative apparent, she aims to allow the viewer to re-acquire the moment at which the photograph was taken and make the memory their own.
She then developped a series: D.R.I.F.T, an acronym for Do Reflections Imagine For Themselves? shown at Proud Gallery and at Gazelli Art House in which she created a loose film noir sequence within the gallery space, giving the viewer clues to construct and imagine a narrative of their own.
A Day At Home builds on the story-telling language of her work. A very personal exploration of the relationship between the writer and the home, the real and the imagined, identity and the self. A study of madness, the fragility of our sense of existence, reality and belonging. The writer and housewife coming together in their sense of isolation, solitude and confinement within a space which both closes in on them and but aslo opens up into an epic landscape of surreal imaginings. Here, the use of medium format film allows for the character to be overwhelmed, defined and even disappear in her surroundings. Only a couple images are shot in 35mm, the ones exploring the relationship the mystery of self-perception, the womans body rendered grotesque as the viewer is placed between the character and her reflection.