“There are many fine documentary photographers working today but David Chancellor is one of the finest. London based, his work brings him across the world, from the tribal lands of Kenya to the somber mountains of Scotland. His interests are mapping that jagged and bloody line where Man and Beast meet. This excellent retrospective also highlights the other node in David’s universe: his family. You will be hard pressed to find more touching images of mother and child in contemporary photography. Ultimately each body of work activates the other: loss and love intertwined forever.” Myles Little, Senior Photo Editor, TIME
Francesca Maffeo Gallery is pleased to present ‘Handle Like Eggs’ by David Chancellor, opening on 3rd March 2017.
Love and loss, life and death are at the heart of Chancellor’s work, whether looking at the elephant poaching crisis in Africa, documenting a mountain lion hunt in Utah or photographing his wife and son in a hotel room in Zurich – the viewer is always confronted with what Myles Little so eloquently describes as ‘loss and love intertwined forever.’
This exhibition explores these themes, journeying between Chancellor’s private and public work. Known widely for his projects dedicated to wildlife conservation, the gallery brings this together with the other ‘node in David’s universe’, his family. These works offer a stark antidote to his documentary practice but allows them to exist in parallel, as this is how they exist for Chancellor; family permeates the landscape of wild animals, whilst the ‘lingering scent and memory of hunts’ punctuate the domesticity of home.
Chancellor’s photographs documenting ‘that jagged and bloody line where Man and Beast meet’ are incredibly arresting, thought provoking and, more often than not, difficult to look at. Though we are not confronted with such conflicted imagery in Chancellor’s personal work, they are by no means less remarkable. They represent a different world, perhaps more tender and sentimental, but one equally as difficult to navigate.
At first seemingly a different, even separate world, the viewer starts to realise that we are presented with the same topic – love, loss, life and death. There is a fragility to this ‘other world’ which Chancellor strives to keep safe yet at the same time excludes it, not deliberately, but perhaps to ‘keep it alive’.
“I once saw a box. Simply a Tupperware container actually, only slightly grander than that. It was indistinguishable from many other boxes of the same nature other than the fact it had a strip of white surgical tape on its lid. Written in ‘sharpie’ were the words ‘handle like eggs’. ‘What’s in there?’ I asked, ‘it’s a heart...and ice of course to keep it alive’.” David Chancellor