Review: Dryden Goodwin's Cast, Photographer's Gallery

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 117 months ago
Review: Dryden Goodwin's Cast, Photographer's Gallery
1004_goodwin.jpgImage from Caul by Dryden Goodwin

For the last show at its Newport Street location, the Photographer's Gallery is hosting Cast, a solo exhibition by street snapper Dryden Goodwin, who - in the manner of Garry Winogrand, or more contemporaneously, Philip-Lorca diCorcia - takes apparently candid shots of unwitting passers-by. In the gallery's first piece, Cradle, five black and white photographs of Londoners taken around the West End are blown up to large scale. On top of these images, Goodwin has streaked the faces with wrinkles and lines, drawn on by a digital stylus, with only the lips left unblemished.

Such vandalism is used for a more unsettling purpose later on in Caul. Goodwin adopts the same technique to people photographed on the upper deck of a London night bus, but this time his scrawls are made in blood red, as if the head has been injured. The moral ambiguities eked out by Goodwin's invasive technique are augmented by consternation that one might happen across his or her own graffiti-ridden visage - nocturnal bus rides will never seem so innocent again.

This contrast between photography and illustration informs other works in the show. Shapeshifters comprises 700 quickly-sketched pencil drawings taken of fellow passengers encountered on public transport, with a video screen nearby projecting the sketches in a continuous loop. Casting combines the two approaches neatly - photographs of street scenes, in which the pedestrians are usually enveloped by shadow, form a series of dyptichs alongside tiny sketches of the characters Goodwin imagines he might encounter in each space. The final piece, Rock, sits hidden away in an enclosure at the gallery's far corner, and boils his twin methods down into their element - images drawn in red projected on a small video screen, the cranial sketches emerging from a black void before dissembling again. It's a subtle, understated finale, and a fitting goodbye to Newport Street.

Cast is at the Photographer's Gallery until November 16th. In December the Gallery relocates to a temporary space at 16-18 Ramilies Street in Soho, while a new, purpose-built space will be completed in 2011.

Last Updated 03 October 2008