David Stephenson: Slant

  August –
September 2004

Image by David Stephenson from the exhibition SLANT at Gallery of Photography Ireland, August 5 – September 12 2004.

Irish photographer David Stephenson’s exhibition Slant is a compelling exploration of the hidden life of political posters. Starting with the 2002 Irish general election and concluding with the recent local and European elections, Stephenson photographed the rash of posters that spread across the landscape.

The resulting exhibition tracks the posters’ own stories from their glory days in high places to their grimy end in recycling bales. It captures images of politicians’ images fallen into the most ignominious and inelegant of situations: a party leader dangles upside down from a bridge. Another lies trampled into mud. A third politician peeks slyly across a wall. A scuffed appeal to ‘VOTE’ is bound up in a bale with other rubbish. A poster for the Green Party lies abandoned on a dumping ground amid crisp papers and plastic bottles.

The work seeks meanings beyond the airbrushed presentation of a particular politician, suggesting both the vulnerability and the strength of the political image. Zooming in on tag-words like ‘Vision’, ‘Honest’, ‘Vote’ and ‘Real’, the exhibition brings political rhetoric outside the ranks of repetition, opening it up to fresh, often acerbic, interpretations.

About the photographer

Born in Dublin in 1960, David Stephenson has exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Angela Flowers Gallery, London, Art House, Dublin, The Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, Dublin, The Hunt Museum, Limerick and The National Gallery in Kigali, Rwanda. He has been commissioned to photograph in Somalia, Kenya, Kosovo, Rwanda, El Salvador and Guatemala. His work has been published in local, national and international newspapers, as well as magazines and art journals.