As I’ve said in #12, photography is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and, recently, I was feeling in a bit of a dip. “What I need”, I moaned at the ever-patient Kirsten, “is a job that really gets my mind working”. Then Satan answered my call.

From 12-17 October, the Old Vic theatre has arranged for their newly aquired space in the arches underneath Waterloo station to host a show of artists’ interpretations of the underworld, “Hell’s Half Acre”. The owner of the gallery behind the event, London-based Lazarides, has recently said that his version of hell is the current coalition Government but thankfully, the artists involved had pushed the boundaries a little further and created a truly beautiful thing.

Not only did I get the chance to look around the show before the doors opened but it was also arranged just for AFP, meaning that there wasn’t the usual fight to get positions, copying of ideas and general stalemate that photocalls of this nature often become. After a handful of gallery and auction house photocalls this week, it was so refreshing to get to think about things for a little longer, come back to pieces that I had new ideas on and generally enjoy the shoot.

Including work by artists such as Conor Harrington, Vhils, George Osodi, Antony Micallef, Doug Foster, Todd James, Paul Insect, Mark Jenkins, Boogie, Ian Francis, Polly Morgan, Jonathan Yeo, Zak Ové, the aging arches naturally have the smell of damp and darkness to them that sit perfectly with the artwork on show. While some artists have gone for truly nasty concepts such as Marc Jenkins’ “Chrysalis 1-6” (identical female mannequins encased in shrinkwrap, hanging from the ceiling), others have opted for more satirical digs such as Vhils’ portrait of “Bernie Made Off” above.

Jonathan Yeo’s “For what we are about to receive” is another piece in the style of his regular work where fragments of paper from porn magazines are suspended in sheets of glass and hung from the ceiling, creating a whole new image when viewed from one angle and chaos from every other position.

The wonderfully helpful Julia from Purple PR proved a top help in the shoot as she posed with a live projection of a tray of maggots crawling on the screen in front of her. My requests to hold the pose for a bit longer due to a “maggot just crawling out of your nose” couldn’t even put her off the job at hand.

Having worked your way through the show, for a spiritual ending, you pass through the glowing fluffiness of heaven before you find yourself in the glamourous Station Approach. I consider myself well and truly uplifted.

12 Responses to “Hell is where the party is”

  1. Hey Leon – I had tickets for that last night but couldn’t go. These shots are definitely the next best thing – nice work! Looks like a great space to explore as well.

    Posted by Richy
  2. SO beautiful. My favourite is the mannequin image. So tempted to go and see this now.

    Posted by kirsten
  3. Nice work. Last shot is interesting, really like the shrink wrap woman – lit like that already or off camera flash? Saw it on framework blog the other day, good job. I can imagine how nice it must be to get a shoot all to yourself.

    Posted by Adam
  4. Amazing work Leon. The piece by Yeo is insanely good, and so so clever.

    Posted by James Arnold
  5. That syringe shot is the business! I love it!

    Posted by Jodie
  6. @Richy Ah man, that’s a real shame. It’s a great show and well worth a look if your plans change!

    @Kirsten Those mannequins made me freak when I first saw them. Proper horror movie stuff!

    @Adam Cheers Adam. The lights in there are a little harsh as they have VERY directional spotlights on certain parts of the figures with the rest in darkness. Metering nightmare! Off-camera flash to the rescue!

    @James Yeah, it’s a great technique. I was aware of his stuff but had never seen it int he flesh (as it were…)

    @Jodie Disco fever indeed.

    @Ralph Thanks for putting together such a great show! Unfortunately, as you can see from the watermark, the pics are actually owned by AFP as I’m staff so they can be purchased through our UK distributor Getty Images if you’re interested.

    Posted by tabascokid
  7. That last shot reminds me of that scene from ‘The Ring’. As always, nicely done. Where have you been all these days, my liege?

    Posted by Akin
  8. Great pictures! – Looks like a terrific show.

    Posted by Ian Forsyth
  9. What a fantastic set of shots – lucky you getting in when (a) there was no one else there and (b) presumably with a tripod. These are WAY better than my crappy hand-held efforts! Would it be ok with you if I placed a link to this post onto my blog post of same event, so that people can see how good it really looked? Thanks!

    Posted by Viveca Koh
  10. Go for it! There’s nothing wrong with your shots, either. You’ve captured a whole bunch of things I never even spotted. It was a great show wasn’t it? As for tripods, I laugh in their metallic faces! Hand-held all the way (as is evident in the motion blur…) 😉

    Posted by tabascokid

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