High Art, Low Tech

Edmonton photographer challenges perceptions of the urban landscape with his series of large-scale analog projections.

In the era of digital “selfies” and point-and-shoot Instagram culture, photographer Jonathan Luckhurst is a refreshing anomaly. The 35-year-old self-taught artist, with a contemporary approach to documenting landscapes, wants to change the way we view the urban environment by turning neglected concrete walls into canvases for contemporary art.

“If you look at human nature over the last 200 years there’s been this rapid increase in technological advancement and a real focus on [function] which has really altered the landscape and I don’t think it’s always for the better,” says Luckhurst, who will produce a series of projections and installations at the City Hall SkyTrain Station during his residency at the Vancouver Biennale in 2015.

To create the images for the projections, Luckhurst creates mini “walls” using one inch by one-inch hollow wooden cubes he built, arranging them in various formations in his studio where he photographs them and then transfers the images onto acetate.

The acetate images are then projected onto blank concrete walls using an overhead projector. The end result is an altered and distorted image which Luckhurst photographs and distorts again during the printing process using old techniques such as Japanese Chine-coll. Finally, they are turned into large-scale four-foot-wide prints.

As is the goal of all of his work, Luckhurst says he hopes to use the medium of photography to take the final image further away from something that is “true to life,” evoking instead an emotional response from his audience through the subtleties which he says pure documentation is unable to fully capture.

“Degradation is a common theme in my work,” Luckhurst explains. ” I’m very much interested in and concerned about the degradation of our societies. The dichotomy between our man-made utilitarian world, and the natural world, is a very concerning dichotomy and one that I believe is unsustainable in the long term.”

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