The starting point for Derrick’s beautiful and meticulous photographs is flower arrangements. The striking and larger than life pictures are rich with saturated colours and pattern. The images draw on sources as diverse as Dutch flower painting, Cezanne’s still lives, Monet’s bouquet for Olympia, Napoleonic wreaths, Roman wall paintings and Italian marquetry.
Strictly representational, these photographs look at the role of beauty in art. Is the beauty in the subject of the picture, namely the flowers, or in the object, the photograph itself?
Derrick combines an academic approach to the studio with a rigorous technique to create fastidious images that are considered and constructed across their entire surface. By individually photographing and montageing up to 15 images for each work, the artist brings abnormal levels of scrutiny to the act of photography, thus producing hyper-real images. This questions our preconceived ideas about the way photography traditionally works as a representative medium, and examines the role of determination, craft and technique, within image-making.
Within a specially constructed and lit set, a flower arrangement is captured on a series of up to fifteen 10 x 8” transparencies. The resulting plates are then scanned at maximum optical resolution which produces an image is constructed using the sharpest and best elements from each plate. This becomes the master file, from which the final artwork is printed. This process requires around 100 hours of post-production time per image.
The resulting prints are of an unreal quality and depth that are breathtaking in their clarity and realism. Printed digitally on large-format machines, the works are mounted on aluminium panels up to 5 metres in width.
Having previously worked at The Face as the magazine’s Art Director in 1986, Robin Derrick was appointed Creative Director for the launch of Italian Elle in 1987 at the age of 24. He became Art Director at British Vogue in 1993, and was appointed Creative Director of the magazine in 2001. Since 2005, Derrick has been a contributing Creative Director for Giorgio Armani.
Robin Derrick’s gallery photography builds on his technical experience as a photographer and art director to examine the role of photography in art. He has had three solo exhibitions in Paris and London and this new body of work will be exhibited at Galerie Gordon Pym & Fils, Paris.