Nigel Tooby’s thought-provoking exhibition at The Ropewalk
A thought-provoking exhibition by Wakefield based photographer Nigel Tooby is on display at The Ropewalk arts centre in Barton upon Humber until March 1.
The exhibition in the Artspace, Of Our Times – The Price of Money, was originally conceived as an art book and because it is based, in part, on his own experience of business it inevitably contains veins of autobiography.
“Nigel’s assertion that rampant greed sowed the seeds of the 2008 credit crunch is clear from the work, but the effects of the greed-associated business paradigm reaches far deeper levels, perverting politics as well as the lives, relationships and health of those involved to varying degrees,” explained The Ropewalk’s Exhibitions Officer, Richard Hatfield.
“He implies that enterprise doesn’t have to be conducted that way – that commercial activities can be carried out ethically and can, as a result, provide a more stable and productive business.”
Until fairly recently, Nigel specialised in contemporary travel, documentary and reportage and joined the Royal Photographic Society in 2009, gaining his Licentiate a year later. He was awarded Associateship of the Society (Contemporary Panel) for a submission drawn from his project “Mi Familia”; an intimate monochrome documentary of family life and was made a Fellow of the Society (Contemporary Panel) for his book “Of Our Times – The Price of Money”.
This work marked a major departure in his photographic style, leading him to explore images which were pre-designed, staged, and intricately drawn to link together and which can thereby communicate information in a way which a single image cannot. This is not just apparent in the theme and the body of work as a whole which is not uncommon in contemporary photographic practice, but very specific parts of one image may be designed to directly link with a separate image; the linkage providing the crucial information. This goes a step beyond the norm and the linkages can be very subtle; all the more rewarding when they are spotted…
Nigel’s interest in photography began in the 1970s when he was inspired by music album cover art and in particular the work of Aubrey Powell and the late, great, Storm Thorgerson.
Although the years that passed saw him absorbed into the world of business he still found time to record events around him in an uncompromising documentary style.
“Nigel creates artwork using images as a medium, to encourage debate through purposefully choosing controversial and sometimes difficult/uncomfortable subject matters to share a message,” Richard explained. “He shuns the single visual for a network of linked pieces in which the connections between pictures – as well as what is left out – contain information which then springs from an apparent void to provide messages which transcend the ability of any single image to communicate.”
“As a consequence, he produces work which is current, inspiring, original, and, photographically speaking, quite different to the norm. His work is direct, occasionally brutal, creative of opinion and sometimes shocking, but it leaves little doubt as to where his own opinions lie. Thought provoking; his work invites the viewer to accept, reject or else debate that opinion,” Richard added.
The exhibition can be viewed from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm and on Sundays between 10am and 4pm. Admission to all The Ropewalk galleries is free.