Review: Chemistry at the Old Fire Station, Oxford


This is an exhibition of photographs by Dulcy Lott and Imran Uppal. They have worked with a dance troupe, Joe Lott Dance.

The exhibition is quite small, less than 15 photographs, and a small video piece. Some of the photographs are by Imran Uppal who is a professional photographer. Some are by Dulcy Lott, a fine art photographer. The photographs are of the dancers.

Overall this is a nice collection of images. The theme is the chemistry of relationships. That ‘chemistry’ includes the theme of alchemy. The video piece includes a nicely choreographed dance sequence (set in an upstairs room at a pub in Oxford). This shows (in my interpretation) a group of people meeting and interacting in a pub, in dance form. It is fresh, short (always a blessing in any art-form), and holds the attention well. It is very pleasant to watch, basically. And, while I know zero about dance, seems to be well performed.

The images by professional photographer Imran Uppal are in colour. They are based around two dancers, one dressed in a gold sequin suit and the other in silver. The photographs show them interacting. Using ghosting and (less successfully in my view) superimposing one image over another, a certain sense of dynamism is created. The images show a good level of technical control. I just wonder what Imran is trying to say? I don’t have a strong sense of any personal meaning being communicated. That said one or two of the images definitely do convey an idea of certain interpersonal reactions, so it may just be me. (But there is no doubt that the images are well controlled and executed).

The images by Dulcy Lott are in both colour and black-and-white. I find the latter more successful, though this may just be a personal bias towards the medium. The strongest image for me is a simple portrait of one of the male dancers. I like this because it is simply a good portrait, really conveying something of the soul of this person. The other photographs are more complex, attempting to show interactions or relationships between the dancers. One of note is a quality black-and-white print of a couple at an old kitchen table, with a diagonal of light on them and splashing onto some kitchen items behind them. Another one of note is a colour print called ‘Tungsten’ which uses a nice warm tungsten light to good effect. Overall I found the images by Dulcy Lott slightly more inspiring than those by Imran Uppal.

So. While quite a small exhibition, if you are in Oxford, it is well worth a look.

The exhibition ends on Friday 1st February.

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer