Art Info / Item Details
Brian Dowling, 2000
Featured in the Practice to Deceive: Smoke & Mirrors in Fashion, Fine Art and Film exhibition
Brian Dowling is an important character in British fashion photography, the photographic printer to whom the kings of fashion photography turn when they want the best. A trained photographer himself, Dowling took on an emotionally demanding task when he photographed the fire-damaged home of his mother.
Brian shot these images less than twenty-four hours after the fire occurred. As if the emotional strain of photographing your mother's wrecked home wasn't enough, practicalities were against him. After a fire, the remaining soot gets into your lungs making breathing uncomfortable and the stench of burning lurks for days as a constant sensory reminder. With no light (the electricity supply had been switched off and soot-stained windows allow almost no light through) Brian was quite literally shooting in the dark. Soot even crept into his camera rendering it useless.
What Brian emerged with was a set of images that capture a private and monumental moment. A home has a life of its own - here you can see that ending. The clock has stopped at 8.52pm signaling a moment frozen in time. A bowl of fruit is shrouded in soot; a bottle of mineral water stands on a bedside table never to be drunk; and a calendar destined never to make it past February hangs on the wall. All chilling reminders of the end of this home.