Black and white by Zoom’s Kilmartin and Ellis
Zoom Arts 2017 season at the Warrior Square station gallery is getting into its stride. Easter week sees a return to photography with an exhibition entitled The Round, featuring work in black and white by Steven Kilmartin and Tony Ellis. Here they explain what lies in store.
The Round explores two topics. First Steven Kilmartin examines the world of martial arts boxing via the Fighting Tigers gym in St Leonards. He followed them through their training regime as they prepared for an upcoming tournament, then photographed the mixed gender, mixed martial arts tournament.
He shot in black and white, trying to capture the essence of the controlled aggression and unhindered emotion that takes place within the ring.
“I strove to create a body of work that examines the relationship between motion and emotion,” says Steven. “Reflecting on the controlled aggression needed by a mixed martial arts fighter when in the ring.
“These black and white photographs were inspired by Martin Scorsese’s 1980 classic film Raging Bull, where Robert De Niro plays the boxer Jake La Motta, who while in the ring displays a poise and beauty which is channelled through the language of emotion and motion.
Fighting Tigers in the frame
Fascinated by the pure primeval instinct that drives us to fight, and the juxtaposition of a highly disciplined athlete, I was able, with the help of a local mixed martial arts club, Fighting Tigers, to study the pugilists training for a tournament. This allowed me to understand what it takes to step into a ring.
“My 12 images all stem from the night of the mixed gender tournament, where emotions have to be controlled and pain needs to be absorbed, as the fighters aim to punish their opponent, as well as respecting them. All in the name of sport.
“I have the highest respect for the Fighting Tigers and their fellow opponents, as they welcomed me into their world of high discipline and focused skills.
Secondly Tony Ellis photographs the local area using a digital camera in a pinhole fashion – using no lens, he produced some remarkable images.
“We all like to congregate at boundary conditions. Where land meets water. Where earth meets air. Where bodies meet mind. Where space meets time. We like to be on one side, and look at the other.” Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
“Growing up in London’s East End in the 1950s our family photos were mostly taken by my uncle on holidays to the country and around the big train stations and markets in the city,” Tony says.
Always having an interest in photography, I was to become the very proud owner of my uncle’s tiny Braun Paxette camera. From this point on, in the late 1950s I took over the role of the family photographer, documenting in much the same way as my late uncle.
“My interests in image making are many and varied and have included landscape, macro, public events, unusual shapes, shadows and unexpected or found objects and viewpoints.
“I particularly enjoy taking unusual shots of buildings in city centres, where angles made from steel and glass offer some intriguing geometry. I have always aspired to creating images close to the sea where the spectacular changes and quality of the light continue to give me inspiration and a sense of calm.
“Those who have Influenced and inspired me are:
My uncle, Edward Ellis;
Henri Cartier-Bresson for that “Decisive Moment” and spirals;
Andre Kertesz for his sense of humour, wet streets and shadows;
Robert Doisneau for inspired observation.
“My current work includes street photography, coastal landscapes, empty public spaces, sets of architectural features (such as steps, windows and doors), derelict machines and structures, London railway stations and experimental digital pinhole.”
The Round Photographic Exhibition by Steve Kilmartin and Tony Ellis. Zoom Arts Warrior Square Station Gallery, Monday 17-Sunday 23 April, 10.30am-4.30pm. Private viewing Saturday 22 April at 7.30pm.
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