Friday, 16 December 2011

Radical Love | toni greaves | photographer

Radical Love | toni greaves | photographer:

'via Blog this'

Visit this site – it seems to me to capture what documentary photography is about.

I looked up Greaves’ website after seeing 4 shots by her in BJP (Issue:7795, Dec 2011). They cover aspects of life as a nun in a monastery and are as good an example of People and Place as you could want I think. Greaves obviously spent some time earning respect from the sisters as she seems to have had virtually untrammelled access to the Monastery. The set is a great mix of shots from a distance, intimate portraits and small details which manages to imply a separation from our world, while at he same time presenting quite an intimate view of life 'inside'.

She achieves this by clever use of framing and focus to distance herself from some scenes while managing to provide a balancing set of intimate portraits and shots of small details which just add to the atmosphere. It seems so familiar and so different at the same time.

Utterly enchanting!

There some other fascinating sets on the site as well – a group on ritual circumcision ceremonies in part of Kenya and an odd little set on people who like to dress up as furry animals (I’m assuming this is not a wind up). There is also a somewhat more tense set on childbirth in Nepal for the Gates Foundation.

Greaves gift seems to me to manage to distil the essence of whatever she wishes to portray into a very small number of shots – she lends the lie to the idea that its all about video and interactive experiences. Her photo essays are close to visual poetry with their contrasts and conciseness.


After writing this I went back for another look and discovered quite how well known she is. Nice to see that my assessment wasn’t off the mark.

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