UNEQUIVALENTS Alan Powdrill
From 1925 to 1934 pioneering photographer Alfred Stieglitz produced a body of work called ‘Equivalents’, a series of cloudscapes that are widely recognised as the first abstract art photographs. Art critic Andy Grundberg later wrote “Equivalents remain photography’s most radical demonstration of faith in the existence of a reality behind and beyond that offered by the world of appearances. They are intended to function evocatively, like music, and they express a desire to leave behind the physical world, a desire symbolised by the virtual absence of horizon and scale clues within the frame. Emotion resides solely in form, they assert, not in the specifics of time and place.”
It seemed poignant to reinterpret this work during the pandemic lockdown in 2020 to try an photographically represent the unprecedented time of anxiety and fear. With travel and much of normal life severely restricted I really appreciated the vast open sky of Hackney Marshes near my home which seemed to mirror the mood at the time.