Instigating each project with a scientific question, the work of John MacLean directly reflects his educational background in Maths, Physics and Geology and seeks to probe, discover and explore the nuances of image making.
His new book ‘New Colour Guides’ is a study into the semantics of colour; both in the cultural and symbolic representation of hue, and in the human /photographic structures of viewing and recording light. Veering between a number of locations and subjects, the images adopt an uber-contempoary narrative device that blends reality and artifice, both in the use of flash and the deliberate intervention of colour palettes that appear throughout.
The inclusion at of a PIA/GATF light indicator at the start of the book - which displays stripes when viewed under the incorrect lighting conditions – provides a nuanced reflection on the subject of viewing colour which in some respects is absent from the images themselves.
Ultimately the work resonates as a Technicolor version of Mike Mandell and Larry Sultan’s ‘Evidence - which by most people’s standards is no bad thing – however in the context of the current zeitgeist for highly stylised, portrait format photography, it is difficult not to see the work other than a highly-polished Tumbler feed.
New Colour Guides