Exhibiting for CONTACT Photography Festival 2021

Altered Realities: A Group Exhibition by Claudette Abrams, Berkley J Abrams Page and Anthea Baxter-Page

Curated by Gallery Little Red

05.01.21 - 05.31.21

Ghost Towns is a collection of medium-format Holga images depicting unpopulated tourist destinations. Initially, I was fascinated with these captures as ironic, static depictions of locations normally teeming with people. I love that the vibrance and spirit of the people live within its walls; that despite the absence of a single figure, the soul of the city is embodied in the architecture. 

It is nearly impossible to photograph the Roman Colosseum without capturing the throngs of people who visit the ancient amphitheatre daily. And it's similarly impossible to stand at the foot of its towering walls without conjuring the roar and cheer of 50,000 spectators amidst gladiators, theatrics and executions.

In Jaipur, India, the granite, marble and earth in Mughal palaces appear polished from the constant flow of hands and feet, as people pass through these spaces in acts of ceremony and worship, labour and recreation, conflict and triumph.

The Art Deco hotels of South Beach, Miami are an unmistakable mark of class and leisure, and you can almost hear the live music flooding from San Francisco bars as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge. 

At the heart, each landmark represents the history and culture of the people who keep its spirit alive.

Yet globally, the world hit a stand-still in 2020 and, for a time, these great cities came to a halt, as if the breath and life was literally sucked from them.

Reviewing these works in light of the past year, the images in Ghost Towns mirror the eerie quiet of Pandemic lockdown restrictions and imposed curfews. Across the globe, once vibrant and bustling streets and tourist attractions lay boarded-up, barren, lifeless.

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