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Norman Road by Bob Mazzer

Norman Road by Bob Mazzer

Bob Mazzer at The Kave Gallery

The work of Hastings-based photographer Bob Mazzer has been described as: ‘a myriad view of Britain.  His work reads part social history archive, part homage to the power of nature.’  When asked about his own feelings, he replied:  “Everywhere I live, I like to think of the people around me as my family.  So this is a family album.” HOT reporter Cathy Simpson reviews Bob’s family album…

The show consists of 23 A0 prints displayed in The Kave’s inimitable manner, where no framing or display stands interfere with the work; somehow adding to the overall sensation of honesty experienced when you survey the image.  There is a variety of subject matter, from the frankly beautiful and topographic View from East Hill, to some really wonderful enigmatic images.

The first impression, though, is wonderment as to how he captures all the immediacy and spontaneity of a snapshot – yet retains  monumentality and grandeur.  They have caught a moment in time which will not last – but he has made them eternal.  The prints are not titled directly;  a list of works is supplied, and the exercise of working out which title belongs to which picture is an interesting and telling one.  Sometimes the most obvious pictorial element is not the most significant one.

As with the image above, Norman Road, these pieces are immaculately composed;  strong underlying construction becomes dynamic with the lines of tension of a youngster unsuccessfully trying to restrain a dog with ideas of its own; this balanced by a boy in a parallel pose almost perfectly mirroring the trajectory of the dog – with his bike (which is rather more compliant).  If this were a painting you would be admiring the carefully calculated placing – but a scene like this could not BE contrived like that.  Bob repeats this genius again and again – Harbour arms and legs is another astonishing piece –  yet retains the depth and solidity normally encountered in nineteenth century photography where the hapless model stood for hours rather than a fraction of a second.  For pure tactile, sensuous texture of this kind, Man with Lizard is a prime example (shown below).

Man with Lizard

Man with Lizard

These pieces are also full of humour;  as with this one, Bob uses chance background objects to great advantage, making the images all the more intriguing.

Many of the prints bear witness to Bob’s love of Hastings and its people; one striking figure will be singled out from a crowd;  Jack in the Green is balanced by Jill in the Green, and there’s a very disconcerting image of a young lady posed cheerfully and precariously on a window ledge.  Other striking images include Little shining man – which captures the innocence of childhood without being sentimental, and Medieval Fair (below).

Medieval Fair by Bob Mazzer

Apparently the latter was part of a re-enactment event, but another visitor to the show commented that he’d thought it was just another bloke caught wandering down Kings Road!

This is indeed Bob’s family album – intimate, clever, funny and precious in its capture of the moment.

You can share it by visiting:

The Kave Gallery, 8 Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea  TN37 16EA

Open every day until Saturday 10 November, from 11.00am – 5.00pm.

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Posted 09:36 Wednesday, Oct 31, 2012 In: Photography

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