DARLINGHURST: “Traces of beauty exist everywhere around us,” says Melbourne-based street photographer Mark Forbes. “Sometimes we just need the time and space – physical and emotional – to be able to pause to experience them … to soak in the details that can go unseen in everyday life.”
The coronavirus pandemic has given at least some of us the chance to pause more and look around us. Lingering on the photographs in Forbes’ solo show, Beautiful Solitude, we realise they could have been taken anywhere. They’re also soothing in their solitude. Comforting in their emptiness. Nostalgic enough to invite contemplation. Structured enough to lead the eye but not lasso it.
Until recently, much of Forbes’ work featured people and the busy ebb and flow of life on the street. In the Beautiful Solitude series, he focused more on the environments that humans engage with and live in. He found the more time he spent appreciating the whole scene, the more he’d see and understand the beauty and intricacy in the ordinary.
Shooting film, he says, also forces the photographer to slow down and visualise the final image, bringing greater engagement with the process and more satisfaction with the result.
Forbes has been a semi-finalist in the Moran Australian Contemporary Photographic Prize, is the winner of the Gomma Grant 2019 for the Best Colour Photograph and was awarded Capture magazine’s “Australasian Top Emerging Photographer 2018” in the Travel category. His prints are held in public and private collections, in Australia and internationally.
Beautiful Solitude is online at Stanley Street Gallery, Darlinghurst, from April 29 to May 30. It is also a featured exhibition in the HeadOn Photo Festival 2020, which has adapted its program for online viewing due to Covid-19 requirements for social distancing.