In Crude Futures, documentary photographer John Lake returns to one of his favourite subjects, youth culture, lending his critical eye to the clubs and communities of the Hutt Valley.
In Crude Futures, documentary photographer John Lake returns to one of his favourite subjects, youth culture, lending his critical eye to the clubs and communities of the Hutt Valley. Roller-skaters, speedway enthusiasts, rock musicians, army cadets and Miss Hutt Valley contestants are captured and transformed from the ‘so-real’ to the ‘surreal’ in his striking large-scale portraits.
Crude Futures builds on Lake’s earlier series, The Rise & Fall of Western Civilisation (Toi Poneke, 2008), which was also shot in the Hutt. Like his previous work, the exhibition blends a documentary framework with surrealist sensibilities to find magic in the simplest of actions.
Lake says he sees teenagers as the touchstone for what is hip and current in our society, occupying the limbo space between child and adult, and is fascinated by their “constant speculative forecasting of their futures”. The title of the show also refers to futures-trading, the oil industry and our general inability to predict the future with certainty. To complement Lake’s portrait and landscape images, Crude Futures also features moving image interviews with the Hutt Valley teenagers he photographed, about their thoughts and plans for the future.
"His portraits of society are at their best in the waiting moments when the action is supposedly happening elsewhere ... he doesn't seek to laugh at his subjects but reveal the genuine nobility of their pursuits…Lake's work is very much in the grand documentary tradition," Mark Amery, Dominion Post 2008
To celebrate the opening of Crude Futures, So So Modern will perform at TheNewDowse in an Extra Late Lounge session on Saturday 17 April. The exhibition coincides with the release of the band’s latest album, also titled Crude Futures. So So Modern has been described as ‘frenetic genre-contortionists’ whose performances are ‘fearless amalgams of spurting synths, jagged guitars, shuffling dance steps, and strange animal costumes’ (www.rockfeedback.com).