Photography is an excellent expository art form, which suggests what it cannot reveal, and reveals more than can be seen. In Australia, a photographer such as Bill Henson has found considerable fame by transmitting the intimate awkwardness of adolescence, as if it were some beautiful, dissociative state.
The ennui and displacement of tweendom is Marea Reed’s subject matter in Beneath Leafy, a series which autobiographically recalls an outwardly comfortable, but internally dysfunctional, lonely adolescence in leafy suburban Sydney. Her award-winning photographic landscapes detail the liminal and communal themes common to much artistic practice: notions of time, imagination and memory.
The sadness beneath the charm is a compelling theme for screen and lens artists. Glimpses of a manicured but problematic, world recall the great American photographic storyteller, Gregory Crewdson, whose monumental work shares with Marea a sensitivity to the weight of light and what it reveals of the melancholic spaces of human interiority. But Marea’s figures are captured without the film crew and cinematic lighting assistance of a Crewdson shoot. In perfect but strange suburban repose, her figures convey emotional states which exist just beyond our ability to name them in language.