Whitechapel Art Gallery

John Stezaker at the Whitechapel gallery explores the attraction and mystery of images through a series of collages of vintage film stills, glamorous photographs of men and women of the 1930’s to the 1960’s in black and white. He takes these images and rearranges them by cutting and rotating them to create distortion and disturbances to the images that are rather alluring.

As one enters the relatively large room and wanders through exhibition, one gets a feel for the division of his different image arrangements. Examples would include a series of images where what would seem to be ‘important’ sections of somewhat melancholic faces, people or actions have been cut out and left blank, or images where faces have been ‘masked’ by postcards of bridges, caves or rural landscapes, allowing the viewer to imagine and associate the facial features with details in the postcard. Whilst imagining these features, the images began to leave a romantic impression as these ‘masked’ features seem almost completely lost yet at the same time they are right there in front of you, you just have to look out for them. This initially must be part of Stezaker’s aim, as these distortions of glamorous film stills and attractive people that have been somehow morphed, which may be quite eerie at times, create a sense of beauty, a sense of showing that even things that are not perfect can be beautiful. Beauty is a mysterious and alluring notion that Stezaker achieved to pull out of his exploration of the image.