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Breaking Boundaries and Facing Fears – A Profile of Photographer Lucinda Grange
Although she’s just 27 years old, photographer Lucinda Grange has traveled the world, her work has been featured at several galleries across England, and her name can be found in countless news sources singing her praises. Now she’s making her mark in the US, displaying her work at the Joseph Gross Gallery in Chelsea.
Having studied at Cleveland College of Art and Design in the northeast of England, Lucinda uses all the technical skills of a learned photographer – lighting, focus, lines, framing, movement, etc. – but she ascends her vision to a new level, quite literally, accessing vantage points that lead one to question how her shots are achieved. One thing is for certain, she doesn’t use camera tricks, stunt models, or Photoshop, because in addition to being a traditionally trained artist, Grange is an avid urban explorer.
Traveling in an elusive and tightly knit community of ‘dare-devils,’ she has bypassed barriers and slipped past security guards to venture onto such famous structures as the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, the Great Pyramid of Giza, down into abandoned subway stations, and even sewage tunnels. In a group comprised mostly of men, Lucinda stands out, capturing highly coveted shots while adding her own feminine sensibility.
Three of these photos from her collection titled, “Backwards and in Heels.”are on display as part of a new exhibit called, Night and Day, curated by Lynzy Blair. The exhibit features several multi-disciplinary artists that “utiliz[e] light as a transformative element in their presentation, [so that] each piece takes on a dual identity with a different nature during Night & Day.” Duggal provided the HD Duraclear prints presented on Reygler Lightboxes that were used for her presentation. All of them were shot at either dusk or dawn, so her selected images seamlessly transition with or without backlighting; a well-suited addition to the curation.
We asked Lucinda what inspires her work, she says it’s from the women around her, “… they’re not all climbing bridges, but they’re all doing amazing things, pushing their personal boundaries to be the best they can be. People often judge each other on appearance and this includes gender – which is wrong! I think it’s important that young women are able to see themselves as limitless, and not feel unable to do something because of their gender. The sky is the limit! Quite literally!”
In “Structure and Strength,” a woman wearing a softly flowing red dress stands on top of a bridge, holding herself steady while barely grasping the beam of a trestle. It’s photographed in a way that doesn’t distract from the backdrop – a sprawling matrix of steel that appears to extend for miles behind the model. In “Dancing with the Stars,” a ballerina stands en pointe on the rungs of a ladder precariously leaned against a water tower. Her pose is meant to appear delicate and effortless, but requires utmost focus and strength.
Featured as the centerpiece is perhaps the most moving, “On the Fesse of Danger (Self Portrait).” In an image that makes one’s heart stop, Lucinda stands atop the eagle’s head of the iconic Chrysler building. There’s no wiring and no harness — only eminent danger disparately mixed with Lucinda’s signature grace. Some might not even recognize that it’s the Chrysler, as so few have seen its face this close, at a vantage point this high.
As Lucinda states, “Each image came with its own set of challenges. A self portrait is always tricky, you never know quite how your pose will translate to on camera. The bridge was the most risky location, but then again being up ladder on point is immensely brave! The main thing is to be patient and wait for the right light.”
But she admits that some of the challenges were more than just technical “‘On the Fesse of Danger’, is one of the images I’m most proud of. I overcame so many different types of obstacles to be there, 90% of which were personal, and not due to the location.” (It should be noted that the long dress was chosen to conceal a leg brace, as she injured her leg just two days prior).
These images inspire us not only to wonder what drove Lucinda to attempt such feats, but question how we could conquer our own fears, and break past the barriers that seem to limit us. In an interview with Gothamist magazine Lucinda states, “I never aim to influence others to do as I do through my work, but rather to look at their environment in a different way. To see possibilities and hope, rather than closed doors. We’re all guilty, myself included, of seeing the same streets every day, but not really looking at or enjoying them. That said, I still bust out the ninja suit from time to time…”
Lucinda’s pieces will be on display and available for purchase at the Joseph Gross Gallery (548 West 28th Street), from July 14th through August 27th. To keep up to date on her latest adventures and view more of her amazing images visit her website at LucindaGrange.com.