Since 1976 Jean-Luc Mylayne has led a nomadic life, travelling for weeks and months on end in search of his photographic subjects - ordinary1 commonplace birds such as robins or sparrows and their avian relations.
Although Mylayne has, by necessity, a deep knowledge of ornithology his work bears little relation to the images of wildlife photographers. He does not pursue his prey with a telephoto lens, and is not searching for the exotic or the unusual.
Mylayne has produced fewer than 150 photographs during his life. Unsurprising given that each image, although recorded in a split second, in fact embodies months and months sometimes years - of patient work, watching and waiting, because artist and bird have to be intimately acquainted before the portrait can be captured.
Mylayne describes the bird as the "actor" to his "director'. And like a film director, every aspect of the scene has been carefully designed beforehand in his mind - the quality of light (often artificial), the time of day, the season, the composition of the landscape elements - leaving only the bird's presence to complete the picture. As the bird flies into the frame to assume its designated position, the shutter clicks, and the photograph - perhaps a year after conception-is finally finished.
The intense proximity of the artist to his subjects is clear when, in some photographs, you catch his image reflected back in the bird's eye. At other times, the bird is partially obscured by foliage, or caught in mid-flight, or tiny within the frame, so that you struggle to find it hidden within its natural habitat.
At heart, Jean-Luc Mylayne's is a conceptual art which addresses the philosophical and experiential phenomenon of time, as expressed in his absolute absorption with the details of nature. Mylayne's photography is about the quiet "discipline of experiencing the intervals" in contrast to the decisive moments so traditional to the photographic medium.
This is the first ever exhibition by Jean-Luc Mylayne in the
United Kingdom and includes a selection of work from the last
Many of us in America believed that President Kennedy was nurturing a renewing belief in the concept of government as an enabler for all its citizens instead of acquiescent handmaiden to the privileged and the powerful. Before he was able to instill that as a working principle in our society he was gunned down by an assassin. Five years later when Bobby rose to try to re-establish a government of hope the hearts of America quickened and excitement flared. Then tragedy struck again. The blow was monumental. Hope on the rise had again been shattered and those in most need of hope crowded the tracks of Bobby's last train - stunned into disbelief - and watched that hope trapped in a coffin pass and diasppear from their lives.
It was just past midnight, in the early hours of 5 June 1968, when the New York Senator and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was shot in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles. He died just over twenty-four hours later, the latest (but not the last) tragedy to befall the Kennedy family. After his funeral in St. Patrick's Cathedral1 New York, his body was taken by train to Arlington Cemetery, Washington, his coffin placed in the last of the twenty-two cars, elevated on chairs so that it was visible through the large observation windows.
The photographer Paul Fusco was on the train, although it was what lay outside it that interested him most, the track-side mourners who waited, silent and curious, to pay their respects. With their strange blend of valediction and voyeurism, these pictures capture a decisive moment in American history, pictures in which the subject is forcibly absent. This extraordinary project has never been exhibited before.
Paul Fusco was born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1930. He received his B.F.A. in photojournalism from Ohio University, and went directly to work for Look magazine as a staff photographer and travelled extensively in South East Asia, Mexico, India, Europe and Russia. In 1974 he joined Magnum Photos. His work has appeared in many domestic and international publications such as Life, Time, Newsweek, The Sunday Times and Paris Match. He has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modem Art, Newseum, New York and the Corcran Gallery, Washington.