It’s been more than 90 years since Alfred Stieglitz pointed his camera at clouds in the sky and called the resulting pictures the equivalents of his own experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Stieglitz’s “Equivalent” are the inspiration for “Out of Obscurity”, a group show at Flowers Gallery in London that explores contemporary abstract photography through its link to the sky. (Another concurrent Flowers Gallery show, Murmur, curated by Magali Avezou, focuses on abstract photography that revolves around the print and its materials—both are on view until September 3.)
Among the images are examples from Chris McCaw’s “Heliograph” series, which burn the path of the sun directly onto photographic paper through multiple exposures. Chloe Sells’s “Alliance” overlays flocks of birds in the Okavango Delta in Botswana with cameraless abstractions made by manipulating darkroom chemicals, combining one kind of abstraction with another. In Wang Ningde’s “Colour Filter for a Utopian Sky,” a sunset is deconstructed and reconfigured into a wall installation of pure color. Julie Cockburn scratches and then carefully embroiders a found photos of what looks like a grey expanse of sky. In these and others, 12 photographers find their own equivalent between the celestial and the photographic.