David Lynch: The Factory Photographs

A new David Lynch photography exhibition opens for the first time in Europe this week, showing a series of black and white studies of abandoned and derelict factories.

Mark Berry Portrait of David Lynch
Mark BerryPortrait of David Lynch

The exhibition, titled David Lynch: The Factory Photographs, will show at The Photography gallery in conjunction with the release of Lynch’s photography book: The Factory Photographs.

Lynch began the series in 1980 and has since travelled across the world in search of the grandiose remains of industrial powerhouses. One of his destinations was the north of England, where you would assume Lynch found his quarry.

David Lynch Untitled (England), late 1980s/early 1990s Archival gelatin-silver print

Source: © Collection of the artist

David LynchUntitled (England), late 1980s/early 1990s Archival gelatin-silver print

In fact, Lynch was disappointed by what he found in the old northern industrial towns.

He says, ‘The factories that they put up in place of the old factories were corrugated metal, little, bitty things, zero personality, zero beauty, and it was a very depressing trip, very depressing.’

David Lynch Untitled (England), late 1980s/early 1990s Archival gelatin-silver print

Source: © Collection of the artist

David LynchUntitled (England), late 1980s/early 1990s Archival gelatin-silver print

As you would expect from Lynch, the scenes he captures are melancholy and uncanny. The photographs are reminiscent of the grimy industrial vistas used to harrowing effect in his early films such as Eraserhead.

His photographic studies of smoke hark back to the unforgettable birth of John Merrick in Lynch’s The Elephant Man and the stark shadows that characterise the director’s photography evoke German Expressionism, another huge influence on his film work. 

David Lynch Untitled (Lo´dz´), 2000

Source: © Collection of the artist

David LynchUntitled (Lo´dz´), 2000

The exhibition will also be accompanied by one of Lynch’s haunting audio creations. Fittingly, the soundscape heavily features the grinding of machinery and the sinister hissing of a factory at work.

In recent years Lynch has taken a step back from his career as a director to focus on more esoteric projects such as his own line of coffee and releasing two full length albums. 

David Lynch: The Factory Photographs runs from 17 January – 30 March at The Photographer’s Gallery, 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, London W1F

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