The Still Point of A Turning World

Bruce Rae

22nd June 2024 – 28th July 2024

Lucy Bell Gallery is proud to present a Retrospective of Bruce Rae’s delicate prints, titled ” The Still Point of A Turning World”  which includes his famous Flora  Series that were made during the 80’s using a paper manufactured by Kodak called “Ektalure”. This paper  “had a particularly long tonal curve of response”, these darkly luminous prints are exhibited in the gallery alongside his more recent work “Looking Glass House” Rae’s Still Lives, whilst still being  silver gelatin prints, are uniquely altered with his understanding of  alchemy to create a new vintage style.

Bruce Rae, who lives in currently lives in St Leonards, has exhibited widely including at Side Gallery, Michael Hoppen Gallery, Peter Fetterman Gallery, The Lucy Bell Gallery and his work is held in important collections such as The National Portrait Gallery, London, V&A, London ,Bibliotechque Nationale, Paris, Texaco Collection of British Art, Arden and Anstruther and Citibank.

Rae’s timeless constructs are born within the camera, the room in which Rae’s work exists. Using a field camera, which inverts the image, the still lives are constructed as everyday objects are placed during a playful yet studied ritual, to create a “floating fictive world”.

Rae’s dates are given by the Victoria and Albert museum as being 1846 until ? He was in fact born in 1946 to a Scottish Father and Welsh mother in Aberdeen, in the not untypical austerity characteristic of the post war years. Brought up in part completed council estates he lived in eight different towns by the age of sixteen. School was by and large a forgettable experience with the exception of Skinners Grammar school in Tunbridge Wells. As a result of drinking a glass of antifreeze, having been told that it was home made wine, he spent four weeks in a coma and was left with damaged hearing.  He was advised by his friend, to do photography at Art School. He applied for a place at the Birmingham School of Photography; he was accepted and spent three happy years learning the chemistry and aesthetics of his chosen discipline.

Then came two years of misery at the ‘ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART’, presided over by John Hedgecoe and his second in command, the charming Michael Langford, who had been head of school in Birmingham in his first two years. At that time the remit of the Birmingham college was to furnish photographers to serve the metal bashing industries of the midlands, train medical photographers and to a deep understanding of the aesthetic history of the medium. His tutor in his third year was a Mr Poutney, ex detective chief superintendent of the Birmingham Met. At the time, his methods seemed pedantic, out of date. But now, Rae is eternally grateful and in awe of the training that he was given.

“My “practice” came out of skills taught to me at the Birmingham School  Of Photography in the 1960’s. There is no way that they, the images, could have been realised by digital or any other means. 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”.

Ansell Adams describes the printing process “The negative is like a musical score, the print is the performance”.  Rae’s images are created in a marriage between the imagery of a field camera and Bruce Rae’s unique alchemy. Renowned darkroom printer Robin Bell says of his work “Bruce’s printing techniques are legendary within the field and render me to a state of awe-struck admiration. He really is a master printer, someone who has learnt and understood the alchemy involved in producing deeply sumptuous saturated mutli-layered tones, not achievable using hum-drum darkroom techniques. He is a rarity, a genuine artist who uses photography as his medium and chemistry as his tool of choice.”


NOTE: Because of the delicate hand made quality of the prints, the internet does not do them justice!


Donna Karan

Victoria and AlbertMuseum – London

BibliothequeNationale, Paris

CitiBank NashvilleUSA

Ralph Lauren

Anderson PR, Newcastle

Kelly Hoppen

Arden &Anstruther


Robbie Coltrane

Terry Jones

Colefax and Fowler

Marriot – The Hague