On this Studio Sunday we are featuring the workspace of Canadian photographer Jeff Wall. Wall is most well known for his extremely large scale photographs, often featuring complex scenes of everyday life with multiple subjects and focal points – almost like wide shots from a film, suspended in freeze-frame.
Wall’s studio, in this photo, appears clean and stark – a contrast to many of the painter’s studios that I’ve written about. Because Wall’s photographs are often presented formally on light-boxes, the clean, white light in his studio must be essential to going over every inch of the developed photo before presenting it to the public. I enjoy seeing the artist up on a ladder to do this – his works are on such a large scale that he has to make himself bigger, in a way, to deal with them properly.
Jeff Wall is one of several artists known to make up what is called the “Vancouver School” - that is, the grouping of works by several different artists working at Vancouver, BC, in the 1980’s, all dealing with conceptual photography, and photographic artworks that look into deeper social issues or have strong narrative ideas. While Wall and many of the other artists involved tend to resist this generalized grouping, it is undeniable that Wall’s photos are expressly conceptual and narrative.