It’s a wonderful feeling to walk into a gallery and be overwhelmed by the beauty and power of the photographs on the walls; that’s what happened when I walked into MARS Gallery in Windsor.
Kate Baker’s photographs of dancer Aleix Martinez have been inspired by the legendary Russian dancer/choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky and in this work Baker has sort to make tangible the inner and outer world of Nijinsky through photographic expression.
There are ten of Baker’s photographs on exhibition here; they are large prints and with one exception all square. The main photograph Toward the light printed at mural size commands attention on a wall of it’s own. It has great impact and conveys the grace and beauty of the dancer in action.
Baker studied photography at the Australian Centre of Photography and did further studies with Sydney photographer Gordon Undy at the now closed Point Light Gallery.
For me there were two things about this exhibition that make it so good. I’m not drawn to dance, but I found Baker’s choice of subject so interesting that I became fascinated by it. Secondly the quality of her prints. The silver gelatin prints here are flawless, her technical ability matched with her compositional skill make this an outstanding body of work.
The prints have a tonality that is only achievable in a darkroom, inkjet prints no matter how good don’t even come close to the quality of Baker’s silver gelatin prints.
Her ability to use available light to full advantage makes this body of work flow beautifully. The prints have a tonal softness and strength at the same time.
I have always been drawn to a well composed square photograph, and two of the stand out images in the exhibition I feel show the strength in Baker’s ability to make well composed images.
What’s beneath, shows the dancer’s foot with his head reflected in a mirror, both balanced beautifully with negative space.
The Yearning, has the dancer looking up at a bunch of grapes he is holding, and it also shows great compositional use of the square.
The exhibition is a must for photographers to see. Kate Baker’s prints are a bench mark in excellence. She has honoured Vaslav Nijinsky, she has honoured the dancer Aleix Martinez and she has honoured photography.