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Jesse Marlow, Aerial, 2012, Pure pigment print, edition of 10. © the artist and Anna Pappas Gallery

I don’t think I’ve mentioned my somewhat tenuous interest in sailing… from a previous life.  At my first glimpse of Aerial (above), I saw kevlar sails and brightly coloured spinnakers. Who would have thought that plastic tarps on a building site would bring to mind the exhilarating sport of sailing…but there you are. I quickly discovered that ambiguity is one of the themes in Jesse Marlow’s work. 

There’s also an element of humour in his work.  Especially in his award winning Skip Divers which was one of the images that won Jesse the 2011 London Street Photography Award

His exhibition, Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them (Part 3) has been years in the making.  The images are intriguing, demonstrating a photographer at the peak of his career.  You can enjoy his photographic genius at the Anna Pappas Gallery in Prahran until 26th May.

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Jesse Marlow, Lal Lal, 2012,  Pure pigment print, edition of 10. © the artist and Anna Pappas Gallery

I love the story of his introduction to photography.  Aged seven, his uncle gave him a book about New York subway art and culture “Subway Art”. Pictures of graffiti on trains captured his attention.  Immediately thereafter he enlisted his Mother’s help to drive him around to take photos of Melbourne’s graffiti art during his school holidays. He’s pretty much been hooked on photography since then.

It was a natural progression for Jesse to study photography after leaving secondary school. His early teacher, Reimund Zunde inspired and mentored him. He took Jesse under his wing and pushed him away from convention. It was through the mentorship of Reimund Zunde that Jesse developed his ability to truly see the urban environment.

His images are utterly unique. They’re not set up. He will ‘see’ shots on the way to something else or in between his commercial photography jobs. Unusually, he shoots on film for his art shots.  He loves the suspension created between taking the shot and waiting for the negative to be developed. He uses minimal photoshop as he wants the images to retain their purity. He tells me that “The decisive moment will always be what I’m looking for.”

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Jesse Marlow, White Cat, 2011, Pure pigment print, edition of 10. © the artist and Anna Pappas Gallery

“If, after viewing Marlow’s photographs, we stop our feet in front of a broken shop window and ask ourselves whether this scene is a still-life laden with anxiety and pathos or simply one fleeting moment in the long and jumbled visual narrative of life, then surely we will also be acknowledging the enlightening effect of Marlow’s works. In selecting to photograph only those scenes which adhere to an aesthetic brilliance, Marlow resolutely acknowledges his role as an artist in the world.” Suzanne Fraser, 2012 for Anna Pappas Gallery

Jesse is all over the www.  Notably, for all of you renovation tragics, the gorgeous Richmond home of Jesse and his wife Aria is featured on The Design Files…photos are of course by Jesse himself.  Have a squizz.

My thanks to Jesse for agreeing to be part of Isiiad and to Anna Pappas Gallery for their assistance with this post.