Bruce Rae’s art emerges from a solid understanding of vintage photographic technique. He uses a wooden field camera, similar to those used in the 19th Century, and period printing techniques. Rae’s dense prints, have a quality that is not reproducible by any digital means, these prints have a deep tonal luminosity.
Bruce Rae has exhibited widely including at Side Gallery, Michael Hoppen Gallery, Peter Fetterman Gallery, and most recently at Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards. His work is held in important collections such as The National Portrait Gallery, Bibliotechque Nationale, Texaco Collection of British Art, Arden and Anstruther and Citibank.
“My practice came out of skills taught to me at the Birmingham School of Photography in the 1960’s. The manipulation of perspective, the range of tonalities and the full spectrum of visual feasts leave the digital world in the dark to which I wish it would return”.
“I began making photographic portraits whilst a student at the Royal College of Art. The late sixties and seventies of the last century was the age of the printed magazine. The ambitions of the department of photography students were primarily aimed at the media, from the colour sups to petticoat magazine. The first portrait I made was of David Hockney, whose negative I sadly lost. Fame was the spur, and a lot of us became scalp hunters. We learnt our craft/trade on the hoof learnt the sacred priorities of the deadline and how to reconcile our prints to photomechanical reproduction and the designers grid. We were cheeky upstarts and did get a taste for glamour. We also learnt the power of the portrait and as well as selling mags several of us realized the potency of Berenice Abbot’s idea of showing the world to itself. It was the age of “The family of man” exhibition put on by the museum of modern art in America, an attempt to heal some of the pain of a fragmented century. Side Gallery on Tyneside gave me the opportunity to put my portraits into a structured context which was a reply to the market economics of the eighties and the visions of Thatcherism. I have for the past two years been drawn back to making portraits and again realizing their vicarious power”.