Negative space.

After a recent visit to the Rachel Whiteread drawings exhibition, who happens to be one of my favorite artists, I started to think about negative space, her work is entirely about this. She molds the insides of rooms, underneath of tables and chairs, and probably most famously the Austrian Holocaust Memorial, a concrete cast sculpture of the inside of a library (

Her work, to me, speak volumes and much more than just showing an image of the library. It shows the very things the Nazis’ were trying to eradicate, Jews’ knowledge by burning their books, this shown in a simple idea and in both a gentile and powerful way. This made me think about photography doing the same thing. I always think it’s what you leave out of the image that is just as important as what you put in. We edit a photo as we take it, constantly choosing to leave certain things out, and I think in my work I try to leave out as much as possible. I try to show just enough to tell the story. When I look at my current major project I feel this is what I am doing. I am not taking graphic images of an ill person. I am, I hope, taking images that tell a story without showing pain, illness, hurt, instead showing small parts that hint at that, thus hopefully letting the viewer use their own minds and imaginations. I don’t like graphically brutal images, except in cases of war when we should all be exposed to what our county is doing in ‘our’ name, but for everyday images its way too voyeuristic for me and can be very exploitative, I imagine most photojournalists’ worst nightmare.

Whiteread, for me, does fascinating work, and along with Mark Rothko ( another of my favorite artists. I see real similarities in both their work, simple ideas, yet done in very different way. They show so much with such ‘simple’ means. Walk into a room of Rothkos’ and you can just feel the intense emotion in that room, it’s enough to give you a headache. When really it is only huge canvases filled with rich dark colours, in the same way Whitereads’ are just concrete cast, but both done in a way like no other painter or sculpture has done. For me anyway I love them, and would love to be able to create images that oozes emotion like Rothkos’ paintings do or generate thoughts like Whitereads’ sculptures. We can all but wish…

Rachel Whiteread
Rachel Whiteread
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko


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