​© 2020 Jon McRae
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Lewis Baltz and me


For me, there is no greater compliment than when someone remembers one of my pictures, or recognises my artistic style.

Yesterday, I met with a group of artist friends with whom I shared the fact that I had visited London at the weekend to see the Shape of Light exhibition at the Tate Modern. It met with an immediate response from one who proclaimed that she too had recently visited the show, and that one of the pictures there had reminded her of one of mine - "the one with the door"!

I knew exactly which picture she was talking about, as I too had seen this picture and enjoyed the similarities between it and my picture 'Banksy's Exit'. The photo in question was "San Jose 1972" by the American photographer Lewis Baltz, who died just a few years ago in 2014.

"San Jose, 1972", Lewis Baltz


"Banksy's Exit", Jon McRae 2016


According to the inscription accompanying his work in the Tate, Baltz "identified and isolated compositions found in the world around us. His careful framing and cropping produced images that reveal geometric forms and lines from our everyday environment". I felt somewhat sympathetic to this vision and delved deeper into the artists biography. The Wikipedia entry for Baltz states "His work is focused on searching for beauty in desolation and destruction. Baltz's images describe the architecture of the human landscape: offices, factories and parking lots. His pictures are the reflection of control, power, and influenced by and over human beings."

Oh my word! I recalled the artist statement I wrote for my recent Guildford Arts exhibition which stated 'I am particularly fascinated [when human beings] introduce an element of control over environments where control has been lost or was never there in the first place". My mind was blown!

Further searches for Baltz's images revealed a very familiar looking array of photographs, almost like I might have taken them myself in a previous life! This gave me an immense sense of reassurance and excitement, and whilst I would not claim to be on any kind of par with Baltz, perhaps his spirit lives on a little in me.