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Chroma - And The Defining Moment by James Straffon

RedHouse Originals Gallery, 15 Cheltenham Mount, Harrogate HG1 1DW

Date: 3rd October - 7th November 2015

Last Man Projects and RedHouse Originals Gallery are delighted to present ‘Chroma - And The Defining Moment’ by James Straffon. The ‘Chroma’ collection celebrates iconic moments from the world of sport, with Straffon collaborating with legendary sports photographer Gerry Cranham.

On 1st July 1967 the world changed. Or at least it did for a tiny pocket of citizens in the United Kingdom. This revolution would soon spread to the entire planet. And this defining moment would be delivered to the world from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. And concern a very British activity - tennis.

The defining moment was a four-hour experimental colour TV transmission, broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation; brought forward from its original December date, so that the BBC could claim to be the first colour broadcaster in Europe. The channel was BBC2, the event the Wimbledon Championships. Months later, on 2nd December, the spectacle of ‘colour television’ was officially launched.

That year, the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final was won by Australian John Newcombe. American Billie Jean King would take the women’s title. And, as is tradition, Royalty were present. So too was sports photographer Gerry Cranham. A torchbearer in the 1948 Olympics, Cranham was a pioneer of reportage sports journalism. His maverick approach to sports photography resulted in an unrivalled portfolio of action moments:

Bobby Moore and England’s heroes at Wembley in 1966; a teenage John McEnroe at the All England Tennis Club, Wimbledon; a jubilant Muhammad Ali vs. Floyd Paterson in Las Vegas in 1965; Nadia Comaneci celebrating the first perfect score at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and many more; each landmark event captured by Cranham and now reinterpreted by James Straffon.

Inspired by Cranham’s images and the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Straffon revisits the emotion of those first colour broadcasts. By extracting the colour information in its entirety, then repainting areas, he creates a fresh narrative; akin to viewing a sporting event on a simple black and white television, whilst glimpsing the ‘new’ via the revolutionary experience of 625 lines of colour.

“Each diptych presents an apparent presentation of ‘real colour’. In isolating a piece from the varicoloured neighbours in a jigsaw, the precise chroma of any given item buzzes with electricity. This questions the way in which we see the world - in that a red jacket can appear very different, if seen against a backdrop of green grass, to when the landscape recedes with greyness. Our eye and brain form an interpretation of what we see. Yet the selected colour of each separate item is in fact inaccurate. Colour truth evades us. The defining moment is a mere memory.” James Straffon

The collection goes on display from Saturday 3rd October to Saturday 7th November 2015.


Gerry Cranham originals supported by Offside Sports Photography. Chroma © James Straffon 2015

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