Alan Eglinton

Only the fires say

Alan Eglinton was born in England in 1980. He is a graduate of the ENSP in Arles.

Through the interaction of photography and writings, his projects explore the themes of “home” and uprooting. His work has been exhibited at the Michèle Chomette Gallery, the Ball and the Toy Store.
In 2018, he will exhibit his series “Yes, No, Maybe” at the Biennale de la Photographie de Mulhouse and his photo book “Only The Fires Say” will be published by Editions Poursuite.

He currently lives in Scotland.

All of Alan Eglinton’s work is gathered in a book called “Only The Fires Say” by Editions Poursuite.
It can be represented as a visual poem, bringing together a set of personal archives produced between 2006 and 2016.

« Only the fires say » invites through a methodical sequence of images, a visual and perceptive narrative.

The assonances and dissonances between the impressions (hot and cold, empty and full, slow and fast…) are orchestrated by subtle transitions, thanks to which each image is “read” in the light of the trace left in the memory by the previous one.

The idea of combustion prologues from the first picture. It introduces a leitmotif that will soon unfold throughout the structure, with the fire announcing the end of a season.

In photography, it is current to identify two types of works: those relating to the observation of the thing seen and those resulting from a staging. The complexity of the medium’s history shows that this separation is far from clear, and we know that the emergence of digital technology has contributed to further blurring such a border.

It remains undeniable that some photographers, such as Alan Eglinton, allow themselves to be attacked by perceptions or sensations, while others practice image capture as the confirmation of preconceived ideas.

But the problem is not exactly there. The central question is rather the nature of the premeditations involved. Because any photographic gesture, even the most “spontaneous” in appearance, is the result of an intention. However, some intentions are conscious, while others are semi-conscious or even completely buried. In philosophy and cognitive sciences, we know how to be interested in this kind of enigma: if I catch up on an object that is going to fall on the ground, my gesture is entirely unpredicted, and yet it is “rational” adapted to the situation.

Alan Eglinton is part of the long line of these photographers who submit their reactivity to the most disparate visual situations, then patiently construct stories from the images that result from these encounters. So it is with Only the res say. It would be wrong to consider his work as a simple game with the whimsical generosity of chance. Alan is a perfectly methodical artist. In the selection of his images first, always rigorously chosen according to the l of his production, to the extent of their strange scenic solidity; in the poetic art of the narrative then: far from being simple restitutions of fragments of life, his skilfully composed visual processes explore with unexpected objectivity the magnetic capacities of paradoxical sequences – as if it were a question of observing interactions between the images themselves as so many chemical elements.

Alan Eglinton looks around him with brio and shows great concentration in the arrangement of his ensembles. It is not surprising that his literary culture shows solidarity with his photographic and artistic erudition. In Only the res say, the assonances and dissonances between impressions (hot and cold, empty and full, slow and fast…) are orchestrated by subtle transitions. Each image is “read” in the light of the trace left in the memory by the previous one.

For example: from the first image, the idea of combustion prologues and introduces a leitmotif that will soon unfold; then the human bodies, sometimes caught in strange twists, are interspersed with the forms of animality.

At another time, the image of two young women dressed in black in a street (sisters?) immediately follows that of two “twin” shrubs; however, it is not only the coupling of the two elements that is repeated, but also the shape of the intermediate void that separates them.

But the sequence as a whole is also organized into a distinctive scansion by the images of colour lights, which separate the chapters with a kind of casual and equally dreamy approach. They agree that the rigour of the work is not conceptual in nature, nor is it formal in nature – except to consider that pure abstraction and plastic intuition can cooperate in the construction of a poetic object. As if the ottante attention that delivers passage to these images in the alert photographer’s home was for him an opportunity to exercise his intelligence.

Arnaud Claass

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