Magic Gallery exhibitions

04 May 2016

Exhibitions, Society news

Following a successful series of exhibitions spotlighting the homeless at the Magic Gallery the Royal Photographic Society is starting a collaborative series of exhibitions that will showcase the work of students alongside that of the Fellows of the Society. The first exhibition brings together Jane Hilton's beautiful and tender images of working girls photographed at legalised brothels including Madam Kitty's Cathouse and in conjunction with Rakesh Mohindra's intriguing images of a hidden presence. What is being withheld from our view? Is it something precious? Do we want to possess it?

Jane Hilton

Precious is Jane Hilton’s nude photographic study of Nevada working girls. Jane first encountered Madam Kitty’s Cathouse in 1998 and in 2000 she was commissioned by the BBC to make ten documentary films in this brothel and the Moonlite Bunnyranch, both situated in Nevada, USA.

In 2010 Jane decided to return with her plate camera for her latest book, ‘Precious’, a collection of intimate nude portraits of working girls. Prostitution is one of the oldest professions and although legal in Nevada, is not socially acceptable. In these portraits the viewer has an opportunity to leave behind any preconceptions. The women are from different cultural backgrounds, ages and body shapes which also challenge the traditional idea of beauty.

By choosing to photograph the girls with a plate camera that took hours of patience, it became a bonding experience. As issues about their own body shape became apparent, so did their feelings about their journey as a working girl.

© Rakesh MohindraPossessive and Possessed
Rakesh Mohindra

The dynamics of possession are explored via the enigma of covered objects through the photography of Rakesh Mohindra. By covering an item, we remove the signifier for the object and thus the associated signified meaning. The specificity of the object is lost and the relationship with it is all that is left. This evokes a presence of something that is withheld from view, yet present nonetheless, in these beautifully finished and presented works. Photography itself can be thought of as a form of possession. The work asks the viewer to consider what is really precious. By blocking the gaze is something else revealed?

Rakesh is a visual artist who was born and brought up in London. He holds an MA in Photographic Studies from the University of Westminster. His work has been exhibited in group shows in London and the South East, including the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery.

Magic Gallery, Charing Cross Underground Arcade, The Strand, London WC2N 4HZ
Tuesday, 17 May to Saturday 24 June. Open: Tuesday-Saturday, 1pm-6pm
Private view: Monday, 16 June,  6-
8.30 pm