Julia Fullerton-Batten

Wow. Let me just take a moment to rave about Julia Fullerton-Batten's work.

She recently won the HSBC Foundation for Photography Prize, along with the also-deserving Matthew Pillsbury.

The sharp focus, intense detail, and sometimes disquieting subject matter of her photographs are very stunning and thought-provoking. It reminds me of Gregory Crewdson's similarly gorgeous and unsettling images of suburbia, but it's not overly referential. You could stare at her work for hours - each time I look at one of her photographs, I am struck by some sort of little revelation...the way light shines on a particular object, or a certain detail that pops out at me. There is something provocative about the lush surfaces that persist in her work.

Her new series is really extraordinary. It's called Teenage Stories and it depicts these teenage girls cavorting, Alice in Wonderland style, in tiny model villages and towering over mini highways. It really reminded me of the awkwardness of one's teenage years (still rather uncomfortably close) where you feel invariably out of place in your body. Conversely, it also recalls teenage bravado, those fabled days when you feel invincible.

I was lucky enough to catch her exhibition, A Picture of Health at the National Portrait Gallery in London this summer. I remember thinking, 'who is this woman?' I meant to go look her up as soon as I got to a reliable internet connection where I wasn't being being charged £5 an hour. But the excitement of my lengthy trip took over, and, well, I forgot. Until now!

Thanks, MAO, for reminding me.

Anyhow, I strongly encourage you to vist her website. There is lots to look at. There are other things I could talk about but I think I'll leave that for another post.


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