Discovering Lorena Lohr.

A recent conversation with photographer Ben Bailey Davies, about William Eggleston, led me to discover the photographer Lorena Lohr. Whilst hunting for a particular Eggleston image, on Google images, I clicked a link to the site journal.collectionair.com where I read an article that compared Eggleston’s photography with an upcoming photographer Lorena Lohr.

I was immediately drawn to her lonely imagery, her colour compositions and use of texture to create spaces. I appreciated the use of colour film which I feel contributes to the understated sorrow and beauty of her images.

The overuse of filters and overlays on platforms such as Instagram have undermined the sincere aesthetic of film. One of the best, and worst, examples of this populist aesthetic is the instagrammer @accidentallywesanderson. This account the instagram extension of a ‘community’ travel and backpacker website or ‘lookbook’ – www.accidentallywesanderson.com where people are invited to submit their aesthetically retro (ala Wes Anderson) images for publication.

Lorena Lohr’s series ‘Open Sands’ might easily be dismissed as a similar enterprise. A traveller, taking composed snaps in a retro style on her journey through the American southwest. However, her photography stands apart from this populist phenomena. Her images are created with an integrity that describes experience and tells stories.

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Lorena Lohr, Untitled, 2017

Louise Benson describes Lohr’s work as, “The experience of the unknown, together with the heightened sensations of both wonderment and fear that come with it, is embraced in Lohr’s focus on the neglected interiors and faded facades that populate much of America.”

When describing her methodology Lohr states, I don’t try and work that out too much or have any continuous approach. But there’s always an interest to preserve the arrangements that are present in interiors, streets and building facades, both in public and private spaces – to record the way these objects are seen at that point in time, having been placed that way by the people coming and going, and how layers of narrative are built up in the way these objects are left behind.”

This is where I find connections with my own practice. Firstly in method. When I do take photographic images I use an Agfa Isoly 100, 1980’s 35mm point and shoot camera, a Pentax SFXn, 35mm SLR from the early 90’s, a Diana Baby 110mm point and shoot or a Sony AVCHD with lens mount a Helios 44mm lens and HDYA Skylight 1B filter. I use the digital Sony when I require more control over the image I am taking, but for  experimentation and chance, such as in Lohr’s images I use the point and shoot cameras.

Secondly in methodology, I work in series, obsessively collecting images I have made according to the subject matter I am exploring. Currently photorealistic illustrations of home computers from 1978 – 1984. The computer subjects are lonely bodies, genderless, silent. Neglected machines with untold stories.

It is in the stories that have not been told, the voicelessness of the neglected, is where I find most connection with Lohr’s work.

Lohr states that she is interested mostly in “harmonious line, colour and composition” and that she is inspired by early Renaissance painters such as Hans Memling, Hieronymus Bosch and Lucas Cranach.

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Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights, c.1500

There is certainly a visual connection between colour and flatness of picture plane. Also, there is a voicelessness in these Renaissance paintings. Of course with the religious paintings, people would have known the stories, but the subjects in the paintings themselves seem voiceless. Their story is imposed on them by a common understanding. There seems so much left to be said.

When talking about her painterly influences she says that she often wonders what her images would look like as paintings and alludes to the possibility of collaborative work. This is interesting to me also. I do not stick to one medium, hand drawing, digital drawing, photography and filmmaking are all part of my practice. Often I transfer an image between media. The idea that Lohr’s photographs might not be the end, the finished image is a concept that has some potential for exploration. The idea of taking an image on a journey through different media, discovering how it might change. Would taking an image out its context as a photograph of a place into an illustration of a photograph of a place, give enough distance to change its narrative?

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Lorena Lohr, Untitled, 2017

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Lorena Lohr, Untitled, 2017

Sources:

Collectionair, Ones to Watch, One-On-One: William Eggleston And Lorena Lohr, 2016 journal.collectionair.com/ones-to-watch/one-one-william-eggleston-lorena-lohr/

Wise, L, From Gucci ads to Instagram fads: how the Wes Anderson aesthetic took over the world, April 2018 www.theguardian.com/film/2018/apr/07/from-gucci-ads-to-instagram-fads-how-the-wes-anderson-aesthetic-took-over-the-world

Benson, L, Lorena Lohr Exhibition Introduction, Claire de Rouen Books, 2016 clairederouenbooks.com/collections/photography

Hernandez, C, An Interview with Lorena Lohr on Traveling To Where No One Goes, Lomography Magazine, 2017 www.lomography.com/magazine/333230-an-interview-with-lorena-lohr-on-traveling-to-where-no-one-goes

http://www.lorenalohr.com

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