Viveca Koh’s talk – ‘From urban exploration to fine art’

Tuesday evening Viveca gave us a talk on a photographic journey into Urban exploration, or UrbEX as it is known.

Viveca is self-taught Fine Art photographer, specialising in derelict buildings, hospitals and asylums, photographing articles residents had left behind.  She has a fascination for photographing small details in these lost, abandoned broken objects. Viveca showed us how light could contrast with darkness creating an emotional sense.

During the first half of the evening we were shown images from derelict asylums and mortuaries, quite dark and eerie.  However, they seemed to be very thought provoking and sentimental moments were captured from real peoples’ lives and situations.  Small details were composed sensitively.  The work seemed to cross over somewhere between reality and fantasy to produce the most amazing images.  In the second half we saw an abandoned house and it’s contents, where both the husband and wife had died leaving all their possessions.  Truly sad.

Viveca explained that she overlays several images together and also adds textures to them.  She also scans documents and old postcards as new layers, with subtle shading.  I hope to try using the black and white layer under the colour image, together with some of the texture screens she mentioned.  I think it will be more trial and error on my part!  The photographs blend together to produce a final very different image.  Perhaps the image makes you question your sense of the world as you know it.

We were shown the work Viveca had produced for her LRPS – ten photographs on birth to death in a mental asylum.  She also showed the panel of amazing  prints (fifteen) that were submitted for her ARPS.  She is awaiting the results of her submitted work for the Fellowship – FRPS.

My favourite image was that of the ‘Smiling Suitcases’ a great touch.  Not so sure about the large scary blurry orb in the mortuary fridge image, or the self portrait of Viveca dressed in an old nurse’s uniform. The wheelchair standing alone in the asylum children’s ward made me feel very sad.

Some of the subject matter was quite depressing and maybe not to all members’ tastes, but you must admit the work was quite fascinating and very different, bringing together UrbEx and Fine Art photography into very original images.  A presentation which was very different from what we usually see.




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