Chris Rydlewski
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Photography teacher releases his second book ‘Searching For Your Shadow’

One of City of Bristol’s Higher Education Lecturers has released his second book based on his mother’s hometown of Paris, France.

Chris Rydlewski, who is a Bristol-based photographer and leads the College’s Professional Photography Foundation Degree, is publishing his photobook, ‘Searching For Your Shadow’.

His mother’s home district of the French capital city, the 15th arrondissement, is captured in beautiful pictures by Chris and is a personal exploration of a space which embraces history, memory and geography.

As a 15-year-old in 1967, Chris spent an unanticipated week in Paris, walking, exploring and observing. He has become aware that this was a pivotal week in his learning how to actively see. Later in life he went on to become a photographer.

His work is based on the notion of the flaneur, walking meditatively, but immersive, a skill he learned During his week away in 1967.

His work is heavily influenced by French Nobel Prize winner and author, Patrick Modiano, whose characters usually attempt, and fail, to make some sense of memories of the past. Chris noted that this failure is implicit in their search, as it is in his. Further, the fragility of memory is thrown into relief by his experience of his mother’s struggles with dementia in the later years of her life.

Despite photographing in a busy city, Chris avoids both the inclusion of people and also the visually dramatic, preferring the places remain implicit – spaces where drama may (or may not) occur.

He hopes this sense of dormancy and ambiguity in the photograph encourages the viewer to linger with the image. He said: “In my experience understanding is seldom immediate and is often cumulative.”

You can take a sneak preview of the images on Chris’ website and he will be hosting an exhibition and official book launch at the CentreSpace Gallery, in Bristol, from today (Friday) to 28April from 11am-7pm (Covid restrictions allowing).

You can purchase ‘Searching For Your Shadow’ photobook from the Etsy shop.

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