John Riddy

Northampton UK 1959, lives and works in Londen

Palermo (Foro Italico)
2013
archival pigment print
74 x 85 cm (unframed)
2013.JR.03

This series of Black and White photographs of Palermo were made over a three year period starting in 2011. As with many of Riddy’s previous projects, his interest was sparked by 19th century art – in this case, the photographs taken in Palermo by Gustave Le Gray, shortly after Garibaldi’s entry to the Sicilian capital in 1860.

Riddy focuses on the same historic centre; an amalgam of ruin and renovation; working class communities and markets; alleyways and quaysides. Often neglected while other areas were newly constructed, this urban centre has a weight of texture and history that is clearly documented in Riddy’s work. Despite the noise and energy of a modern urban centre, his photographs are silent, formally balanced and complex, exploiting the expressive power of the grey scale to make images with a stillness that is reminiscent of an empty stage.

He writes … “so much has happened recently in terms of technique and process. At its crudest we are all aware that a photograph can now be “made” at a desk. But the progression from subject to print can be refined and driven by individual sensibilities… for me that progression has to start outside my conceptual compass. I spend more time looking to make fewer photographs, and even longer trying to make a complete print. ”