Week 6: Catherine Yass

Born in 1963 Catherine Yass, shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2002, is well known for her films and brightly coloured still images. Working principally with a field camera she combines two images, one positive and one negative to make many of her photographs. Listening to a recording of Catherine describing her development and way of working I was struck by some similarity with my own intentions (Tate 2018). Adding depth with the two negatives, using colour to enhance impact, viewing images upside down (I am playing with degrees of rotation) and above all to experiment without the constraints of established ‘rules’ of taking, producing and presenting images in order to find a personal language or voice. Through this approach her images arouse curiosity in others. Focussing in more recent times on architectural spaces she creates “supremely, radiantly beautiful work” (Dorment 2002).

I have been encouraged to look at Catherine’s work in two portfolio reviews of my images particularly those relating to recycling. Use of a light box to display my images has also been suggested and I note that Catherine has done this (Oddy 1999).

“The photographs are then displayed in lightboxes to make the colours much more intense. There is a feeling of being drawn right into the inner world of the image.” (Phillips 2011)

Not having done this before but seen how effective it can be in an exhibition of Susan Brown’s photographs for the Devon Guild (2017/18), I will investigate options.

Catherine Yass 2011, Decommissioned


Sarah Newton 2018, Event Horizons 2











BROWN, Susan. 2017. Solo exhibition at the Devon Guild, Bovey Tracey, Members Showcase Gallery. December 2017 to January 2018. Available at: https://www.susanbrownphotography.co.uk/exhibitions [accessed 15/11/18].

DORMENT, Richard. 2002. ‘Why the Tate can’t win’. Telegraph. 30 October 2002. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/3584956/Why-the-Tate-cant-win.html [accessed 15/11/18].

ODDY, Jason. 1999. ‘Focus on a double life’. Independent, 30 July 1999. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/focus-on-a-double-life-1109488.html [accessed 02/11/18].

PHILLIPS, Sarah. 2011. Photographer Catherine Yass’s best shot. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/jul/03/photography-catherine-yass-best-shot [accessed 04/11/18].

TATE. 2018. ’Catherine Yass: ‘I try to make work that provokes thought’. The filmmaker and photographer shows us her studio and the camera she has been using for twenty-five years’. 27 January 2018. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/catherine-yass-2386/catherine-yass-work-provokes-thought [accessed 02/11/18].

YASS, Catherine. Alan Cristea Gallery. Available at: https://www.alancristea.com/artists/69-catherine-yass/ [accessed 17/11/18].

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