Jim Naughten

While I was in New York I went to DUMBO and checked out the galleries there.  At Klompching gallery there was a show of Jim Naughten’s work.  I was immediately struck by the tanks and equipment on a white background.

© Jim Naughten

Then I was hit by his battlefield re-enactments.

© Jim Naughten

I had to control myself!  The work is stunning and has a wonderfully unified look to it.  Surreal desaturated colors contrary to the heavy, thick colors that predominate the few slide film exposures of the actual time period.

At first I felt somewhat disheartened, but I managed to get a grip and ask Debra Klomp Ching, who was there how Naughten managed to achieve his tank shots.  Surely not in a studio like the rest of his portraits…

© Jim Naughten

She said Naughten took the tank shots in the field and cut them out with some heavy post work.   I couldn’t help myself but had to give her a postcard of one of the PROM mines I shot for my Minescape project.

I walked away somewhat perplexed.  Does this work infringe on my Imaginary Battlefield series I’m working on right now?  Certainly it is in the same vain but after a couple of days and speaking to some other people about the work I’m more certain that my work, is still in the genre but has it’s own voice.  Or at least I feel it does…

Whatever the case, Naughten’s project is fantastic and it’s wonderful work to see in person.  And now I have something to think about when working on my own project…

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One Response to “Jim Naughten”

  1. Hi Brett, I saw the work of this guy alongside with mine in the ASA collective. He was there and me and some others asked some questions.
    The battlefields are 100% generated, in the sense that he photograph separately the subjects and the landscape and then adds the soldiers to the battlefield. There is a heavy postproduction, and he creates equally on field and in postproduction.
    We asked him why those people does that and he couldn’t answer, doesn’t know. For me is very interesting also to know why they do that and how they get involved emotionally, and he doesn’t seems to care so much.
    I personally don’t like his work, and I think your imaginary battlefields have its own voice, of course!

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