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David Hill Gallery

  • Art
  • Ladbroke Grove

Time Out says

Intimate independent gallery at the top of Ladbroke grove focusing on photography. 


Ladbroke Grove
W10 6HA
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Ladbroke Gove tube
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat 10am-4.30pm
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Baldwin Lee: ‘A Southern Portrait, 1983-1989’

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Photography

For seven years in the 1980s, Chinese-American New York photographer Baldwin Lee cut an eccentric figure around the Southern states of the USA. Lugging an ancient wooden large-format land camera (the kind with a black cloth that you disappear under), Lee would set up his awkward tripod and take pictures. Pictures of families, of kids playing in the stifling summer heat, of young men posing with their cars, of girls in their best dresses. Of clapped-out wrecks, sagging shacks and ominous intimations of poverty, slavery and racism. The large format means that every detail is there to explore: a young man protectively puts a hand on a stack of four cassettes on the hood of a car; a kid provocatively presents a dollar bill to Lee’s lens, a battered Diana Ross gatefold LP teeters atop a totem pole of TVs and hi-fi, as a stern little girl stares us down. All the people are Black. There’s an obsessive feeling to these photographs. Maybe because of Lee’s choice of antiquated equipment, they sometimes feel like they’re from a much earlier era, like the work of the Farm Security Administration in the Great Depression (Lee studied under FSA luminary Walker Evans). Lee deliberately used antique uncoated lenses for their ‘creamy’ quality – these are crisp images, but not hard-edged, and imbued with huge humanity. There’s no icky feeling of ethnographic study about it, though, despite the fact that life if you were poor and Black in the Deep South things clearly hadn’t improved much from t

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