I'm interested in death and impermanence, how things shine and how they disappear. How love comes and goes. I find film beautiful. How it fades and disintegrates.
I use no digital processes whatsoever. I work with old cameras and salvaged 35mm cine film only; blending traditional film photography with cinematography, the intention being to give these 'still' pictures a vaguely narrative quality that I hope speaks about love, loss and memory. In Portuguese, the word is 'saudade'-- a love steeped in sadness, 'to feel what no longer exists'. By definition, that is what photography does--to stop time, fend off oblivion, allow us to feel what no longer exists-- to remind us of what we have lost or have never had.
"When we were deciding on the shortlist for the Guardian exhibit last October, Robin Cracknell's tender, beautiful photographs really stood out. They suggest a sense of loss, a nostalgia or longing for times past, their cracked, worn, faded surfaces evoking fragments of narrative leaving us to wonder what was happening on either side of the image in front of us. I think this is one of the reasons why his photographs leave such an imprint in your mind." ... Rebecca Wilson, Director, Saatchi Gallery, London.
"Improvisational -- which is part of its charm ... The notebooks of Robin Cracknell and Saul Leiter are delicate and lovely, works of art in their own right." ... The Literate Lens, 2014.
"These notebook pages ... exist like silent testimonies or relevant passages that undulate between the original image and the page that holds it. Titles like “Lebanon Republic” though in no way discursive, lead the reader to a distant perhaps parallel mental landscape and the photographic image applied to it tends to travel along with it by a staccato hauntological effect." ... American Suburb X, 2016
"Robin Cracknell explores the transience of childhood, the fickleness of love and the impermanence of life. His notebooks are beautifully designed and their minimalism forces the reader to consider every element carefully. Flipping through them is like peering into someone’s memory and trying to decode its significance. Cracknell’s notebooks teach us that the capriciousness of memory can be beautiful, even if we’re not sure why we remember what we remember." ... 'Photographers' Sketchbooks' Thames and Hudson. 2014
"Taking his young son as a muse, the London-based photographer and single father combines a portrait of childhood with a critique of the complications of parenting and a reflection on his own youth. He uses corroded film stock, and his images can seem salvaged from the trash heap of memory. The identity of the boy, who is often seen swimming, is almost always obscured—his face covered by stars, dots, graffiti, and scratches. In one image, the child’s mouth is covered by an “X” of white tape. Throughout, Cracknell’s gaze is loving, yet frustrated." ... The New Yorker. April, 2016
Biography - CV
Born in India and raised in America, Robin Cracknell moved to London in 1987 after a season in Milan where he had been shooting fashion photography. Once in London, increasingly disillusioned and frustrated with the conventions of fashion work, it was his portfolio of personal work that led to a decade of commissions from publishers and art directors for posters, magazine covers and over 300 book jackets. His technique of combining cinematography with traditional still photography and various mixed media came about from spending many of those years killing time in the ICA projection booth, watching obscure movies and gathering up the random cuttings of discarded film which later became the new 'emulsion' for his work.
After unexpectedly becoming a single father in 1997, Robin refused commissions for eight years to concentrate solely on raising his son. In September 2006, a series of photographs documenting this period was selected for the top 10 of 12,000 artists on Saatchi Art for a show curated by readers of The Guardian as well as noted gallery owners, critics and artists. Robin's work was personally nominated by sculptor Marc Quinn. Shortly thereafter, these photographs and notebooks from that period became his first solo exhibition entitled 'The Camera Suture' at The Whitecross Gallery in London. Since then, his work has been widely published and exhibited including, notably, Eyemazing Magazine, The Michael Hoppen Gallery in London and a solo show at Sous Les Etoiles in New York. A selection of his notebooks is featured in the acclaimed 2014 Thames and Hudson publication, ‘Photographers’ Sketchbooks’ with further work from his 'Childhood' series in Thames and Hudson's 'Family Photography Now' published in Spring 2016.
Robin Cracknell's work is in various private collections internationally as well as The National Portrait Gallery in London, The Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Fundacion Privada Sorigue, a museum of contemporary art in Lleida, Spain.
2017. Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York City. 'The Farther I Remember'. 10.12.16 - 04.02.17.
2016. Uncertain States Annual. Mile End Arts Pavilion. London. November.
2016. Fotohaus. ParisBerlin Fotogroup. Berlin, 23 June and Arles, France. 7 July.
2016. Revela-T, Barcelona. Selections from 'Weight, the Sea'. 20 May - 5 June.
2016. Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York City. Solo Exhibition. 10 March - 30 April.
2015. 'The Heart Grows Fonder' I / LAND. London 2015 and Tokyo 2016.
2015. 'Lost Love'. SMBH Magazine.
2014. Art Experimenta. TriSpace Gallery. London, UK.
2013. World Wide Wall. Collection curated by Roger Ballen and Saatchi Art.
2013. ENFANCE(S) La(b) Galerie ARTYFACT Paris, FRANCE.
2013. Saatchi Screen. Saatchi Gallery, London, UK.
2013. Art + Healing. Street Gallery, UCL Hospital, London, UK.
2013. ‘Useless, useless’. California Building, Minneapolis, MN USA.
2012. Modern Love. Curated by DayFour Magazine. Theprintspace Gallery. London.
2010. Capture The Fade. Curated by Bill Henson and Ampersand Magazine. Sydney, Australia.
2009. Michael Hoppen Contemporary. 'Starting With a Photograph'. London.
2008. Chain Reaction: BFAMI Auction, Phillips de Pury, London.
2008. Art Au Salon, The Whitecross Gallery, London.
2007. The Whitecross Gallery, London : Solo exhibition, 'The Camera Suture' .
2007. Zoo Art Fair. Two photographs selected and sold by Saatchi Art.
2006. Guardian Press Room, London. Selected for premier exhibit with Saatchi Art and The Guardian.
2017. Analog Magazine. Issue 4. August 2017
2017. Od Review. 'Robin Cracknell and the Invention of Belief' January 23, 2017.
2017. AINT-BAD Magazine. November 25, 2016.
2017. Phases Magazine. 'Weight, the sea'. November.
2016. American Suburban X. 'Robin Cracknell's Automatic Topographic Family'. October 18, 2016
2016. Der Greif / Fotomuseum Winterthur. 'Situations' (Un)filtered Scenarios. Sept/Oct.
2016. The Literate Lens. 'Well-Worn Words: An Interview with Robin Cracknell'. Sept. 6, 2016.
2016. The New Yorker Magazine. Review of 'Childhood' exhibition. April 18, 2016.
2016. Family Photography Now. Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. Thames and Hudson.
2016. L'Oeil de la Photographie. 'Childhood' March 9, 2016.
2016. Musée Magazine. 'Science' Issue.
2016. Zindo & Gafuri Ediciones. Series of book covers, international poets and writers.
2016. Oranbeg Press. Net 14. 'A New Glass'
2015. Sarmad Magazine, Book Two. 120 copies, Risograph plates. Charles Nypels Labs. December.
2015. Lamono Magazine. 'Visiones de la Impermanencia.' August.
2015. Darwin Magazine. Volume 7: Analysing the Evidence.
2014. Eyemazing Susan Annual Pictorial.
2014. Musée Magazine. 'Rituals' Issue.
2014. The Literate Lens. Review of 'Photographers' Sketchbooks'.
2014. Velvet Dust Magazine. ‘Notes to Self.’
2014. Musée Magazine. 'Temptation' Issue.
2014. Heist Magazine / Photography Collective, London. July.
2014. Shoot Me Magazine. ‘Surfacing’ series. June.
2014. Photographers’ Sketchbooks. S. McLaren and B. Formhals. Thames and Hudson.
2014. Archivo Magazine. ‘The Constructed Image’. Spring Issue.
2014. F-Stop Magazine. ‘The Natural World’. April.
2014. All Hollow Magazine. ‘How Do Particles Adhere?’ Notebooks. Spring 2014, No 7.
2014. ArtPhotoMag. ‘Blue Lake’ series. February.
2014. SELF PUBLISH BE HAPPY. 'Self Publish Be in Love.' February.
2013. ‘Spotlight’ Strand Gallery, London. October.
2013. Darwin Magazine, Editor’s Pick. September.
2013. Paragraph Magazine. June. ‘Tenth of December’ by George Saunders.
2013. Feature Shoot. ‘Custody’. Group show: Mother’s Day. May.
2013. Feature Shoot. ‘Blue Lake’. Group show: Beach Vacation. April.
2013. Mutantspace. ‘Robin Cracknell Explores Childhood’.
2012. The Paris Review. Kay Ryan’s ‘Bitter Pill’. November
2012. Eyemazing Magazine. Fall Issue.
2012. Faith is Torment. August.
2012. DayFour Magazine. Modern Love Issue. Notebooks.
2011. Ampersand Magazine. The Fade. Autumn 2011 issue with Bill Henson.
2011. Ralph Lauren for Polo ‘Art Stars’ commission.
2010. Nihilsentimentalgia. Portugal. ‘Notebooks’ feature. November.
2009. Saatchi Art Critics Top 10 as chosen by Kerstin Niemann, curator Van Abbemuseum, Holland. March.
2009. The Telegraph Arts and Culture TV. ‘The Photographic Object’. September.
2009. London Evening Standard, Five star review of Hoppen exhibit. September.
2009. Rojo Magazine. Brazil. August.
2009. ArtInvestor Magazine. Germany. Feature with ‘No’. June.
2009. DAR Magazine. Greece. Feature with Interview. June.
2009. Eyemazing Magazine. Artist’s Issue. 04-2009.
2009. Piana Magazine. Poland. Feature with Interview. January.
2008. AXISWEB: Selected as 'Curator's Choice', November.
2008. Ex-Me Magazine. Japan. Feature. September.
2007. The Guardian Magazine. 27 January. ‘I Was Tormented ...’ Autobiographical piece.
2007. Saatchi Art Critics Top 10 Photographers as chosen by Aaron Schumann, editor SeeSaw Magazine. July.
2007. Nylon Magazine. ‘Custody’ and ‘Acid Summer’. June.
2007. O Globo Newspaper, Brazil. ‘Memory’ featured with interview. February.
2006. The Guardian G2 Arts. ‘Acid Summer’. September.
2006. The Guardian G2 Arts. ‘Custody’. October.
2000. Fax You: The Art of the Fax. Booth-Clibborn Editions. ‘Stutter’.
1997. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: Artwork exclusively commissioned for relaunch of London's historic Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
1997. FX Magazine : Cover artwork on 'Damage' issue
1995. 'Eugene Onegin' poster for the Royal Opera House chosen for Victoria & Albert Museum's permanent collection.
1995. Design Week distinction. Cracknell's poster for English National Opera
1995. Blueprint Magazine features Cracknell's image for relaunch cover issue
1995. Design International: highlights Cracknell's series of cd covers for BMG Classics
1994. ‘Complete Lyrics by Bernie Taupin and Elton John’. Pavillion Books
1994. Design Week features Cracknell's work in article on Contemporary Photo Illustration.
1992. Creative Review: Cracknell's 'brutal photography' for Carr-Gomm agency.
1988 to present: 300 International Book Covers: Commissioned by every major English publisher and many American and European publishers including artwork for Booker Prize nominees Hilary Mantel, Tim Parks, Anne Tyler, Amos Oz, JM Coetzee, Ian McEwan, Michael Moorcock, AL Kennedy, etc.