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New Left Review I/220, November-December 1996

Julian Stallabrass

Cold eye

What appear to be a sequence of old snapshots in faded colour have been framed and hung on the gallery wall. They look as if they had been dug from some forgotten trunk in a family home, yet they show only backgrounds—walls, garden lawns, a deserted tea-table, an empty pram. An artist, Stephen Murphy, produced these pictures by digitizing old snaps and replacing their figures with a plausible background sampled from the surrounding area. On close inspection, shapes slightly differing in tone trace the effaced subjects in outline; these photographs are both a glimpse of a future world depopulated by some catastrophe, and images of our passing and forgetting.

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Julian Stallabrass, ‘Cold Eye’, NLR I/220: £3

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