To say Christy Lee Roger’s collection ‘Reckless Unbound’ is captivating is a gross understatement. Her work is enchanting in the extreme. Its magic is evoked through blurring history and modernity, fantasy and reality, the familiar and the unknown.
Rogers is a fine art photographer from Kailua Hawaii, ‘The Paradise of the Pacific’ known for its crystal waters. The sea is integral to her work. Submerged in water, her subjects are captured at night, there and then, without the use of post-production manipulation. It’s just Rogers and her lens. These astonishing effects are generated in-camera, harnessing the refractions of light produced by the seascape setting.
The works fuse modernity with echoes of the Baroque, in which climactic emotion is encapsulated through the pure drama of the light and dark, underscored by a fluid spectrum of hues adjoining them. The broader effect of this is a startling fantastical realism. By no means is this a juxtaposition between the surreal movement of these submerged mystical figures and their very real human forms, but a concordant coexistence, magic realism. Fantasy is heightened by such realistic tangibility.
These images exude a romanticism. The ripple of cascading tulle in the final three images shown here (Nightingale, Lightness of Being and The Unending Journey), is vaguely reminiscent of the tumbling fabrics that run through the works of Delacroix. His tricolour of red, white, and blue, a symbol of liberty in revolutionary fervour. There is most certainly an element of the revolutionary in Rogers’ works that muddle distinctions between contemporary photography and painting. Her subjects are caught in this limbo of fluid fabric, tulle that appears to crinkle like it would at the surface of a painting, but with all the crispness of a digitally captured image.
The most extraordinary element of Rogers’ images is their ability to captivate. Intellectual inquisition, emotional register, and base awe, jostle alongside one another in equal measure. There is a great magnitude created by the images of these individuals submerged in this underwater world. The human form is dwarfed by its mass, its fragility heightened. But this vulnerability is coupled with strength as the bodies soften into their surroundings, becoming integral to this oceanic scene, breathing life into its darkest recesses.
Rogers’ Reckless Unbound is currently housed at Longleat House in Bath and is well worth the trip alone. However the House is also home to Renaissance gems of the Italian masters, Titan’s Rest on the flight into Egypt, stolen in 1995 and then recovered in 2002, and boasts one of the largest collections of books in the country housing forty thousand books across its seven libraries. A house and gardens ticket is £15.50 – worth the extra pennies as the grounds are stunning! (All photos from artandopinion)