04
Mar
11

Eric de Maré : Photography

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“a social conscience of visual values – more valid than ever”. Norman Foster

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Post Mill
Essex
Gelatin silver print
1960

Watermill
Halstead, Essex
Gelatin silver print
1960

Crumlin Viaduct
Ebbw Vale
Gelatin silver print
1954

‘Skyscraper’ fishermen’s sheds
the Stade, Hastings, Sussex
Gelatin silver print
1956

West Norwood cemetery
London
Gelatin silver print
1968

St Edward’s, Brotherton
Ferrybridge B power station
Gelatin silver print
1960s

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De Maré found beauty where it was least expected, in canal locks, viaducts, worn steps and boat sheds. These were utility structures with efficient design that appealed to many modern architects. His monochrome prints reveal textures that makes you want to reach out and grab the subjects of his images. The photos also presage the work of German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, who made it their life work to chart the intricate differences and stark beauty of largely-ignored industrial architecture. Looking at his photos from the 50s and 60s, it’s particularly moving when you realise that many of the subjects no longer exist, swept away by the modernisation and “improvement” works of the following decades. Others have been neutered; for example, the warehouses at Gloucester Docks are now an antiques market and designer outlet. De Maré captured the last gasps of industrial Britain, with images softened by smoke and smog. It’s an unmissable trip down memory lane that has much to say for our present and future, particularly in terms of townscape and human-scale design. [G.Gardner}

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Eric de Maré : Riba

Eric de Maré : Guardian

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