Rory Carnegie

Work in Tate Britain collection

We are delighted to hear from gallery artist Rory Carnegie that a book of his Autoportraits series has been acquired by Tate Britain for their permanent collection. 

He says, ‘I started making the Autoportraits series in 1982, working with a 35mm camera, using black and white film. I was working on the series in London, where I was studying. Later, I started using a Hasselblad medium format camera and colour film and extended the series to cover all areas of England.

Autoportraits were made using a long cable release. Each person participating was asked to show himself or herself as they wanted. They would choose the background and where they wanted the camera positioned and with the cable release would determine the moment of exposure.

‘I was interested in, whether, with this transferral of power, the subject would alter his or her mode of self-representation and compose a new mask. The longer the exposure required, the more the subject grew into the picture and the less I was involved.

‘The works are culturally typical and yet independently particular. Each successful image, for me, is one that tells a story.’

Rory Carnegie has worked with Sarah Wiseman Gallery since 2014, exhibiting his more recent ongoing series Port Meadow and Long Ago and Far Away. These soft, painterly portraits depict wild, often exotic animal species photographed in a studio, or in their zoo enclosures.

The animals’ images are digitally transposed onto a misted landscape, emulating in a dreamlike way the topography of Port Meadow, a vast, ancient area of grazing land in central Oxford. The animals now displaced only enhances the vividness and charisma of untameable wild beasts. Colourful stripes and plumage, glinting claws and teeth are contrasted against a soft and drizzly English floodplain.

Over the years, Rory Carnegie’s work has covered broad range of photographic styles, although he is often interested in social documentary, and is especially curious about those living on the fringes or outskirts of society. His photographs have been published by The Observer, LA Times, The Telegraph Magazine, The Sunday Times, GQ and The Independent Magazine, Creative review and the British Journal of Photography. 

You can see a selection of his current work on our website, just click the link below.

December 14, 2021