If you work in Britain or Europe and you make contemporary objects (particularly glass, ceramics and silver, all notoriously difficult to capture in the lens) and you want your work to glow, chances are you want London-based Sylvain Deleu. He is the leading photographer in documenting arts and design. He’s worked closely for the last 15 years with artists, designer-makers, painters, ceramists, sculptors, galleries and museum installations.
Above image: Photograph of Aneta Regel‘s work by Sylvain Deleu.
Clients have included: Gerhard Richter Archive (Dresden) Serpentine Gallery, Somerset House, Crafts Council (UK, Scotland, and Ireland) , Hauser & Wirth, David Robert Foundation, Museum of Everything, Adrian Sassoon, Salon Vert, House of the Nobleman, RCA, Central St Martin, Chelsea College of Art, Goldsmith’s and many more. Sylvain has exhibited at various galleries including National Portrait Gallery at the Taylor Wessing Award 2012.
I have watched Deleu’s progress for years and have become adept at spotting his work before reading the photo credits. Having photographed ceramics myself for many years with only moderate success I am in awe of the masters of this genre. Over the years I have come to understand that the key is as much in understanding and sensing the art as it is in optics. In this regard Deleu’s excels.
Moreover, to make sense of the cryptic headline above, he “feels” the work through light, directing the lighting so that it touches textures, makes colors radiant, silhouettes are sharp, contours flow with languid, sensual ease and tiny spaces within larger and more complex shapes are illuminated like sacred altars encased in shadow. Another signature of his work is a reflective table which elegantly, and at times very subtly amplifies the three-dimensionality of the object to the point where one feels one could reach into the photograph and touch the work.
This is the first of two posts on Deleu’s photography, the second will appear next week.
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile.
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