Fish-Eye Business

 

Hiro Betta Splendens 08048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 08048 NYC 1984

These magnificent pictures are of Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta Splendens, photographed by Hiro in the early 1980s.

There’s not much to say.

One of the things the camera can do is allow you to see well things that you could otherwise only see badly.   Too big, too small, too fast, too far, whatever.

Take a brilliant photographer, a lot of care, some lights and so on, and you have a series which – even if you’re not interested in the subject – is completely compelling as photography.  I have to say that I can’t tell a carp from a kipper and I couldn’t care less.  These things are glorious in the same way that a tapestry can be glorious even if you don’t know what story it is supposed to tell, or a piece of calligraphy can be breathtaking in a language you can’t read.

These are one half of the exhibition postponed or delayed at Hamilton’s Gallery in London while the coronavirus does its stuff.  You can see them here :

Hiro at Hamiltons.

And if you surprise yourself by buying one even though you have not the slightest interest in fish, there’s a simple explanation.  They’re wonderful pictures, made with consummate craft in the thinking, the seizing, and the manifesting.  They’re really good dye transfers, which you can’t see here, so they are finely detailed objects as well as all the rest.

Who cares about the fish?

Hiro Betta Splendens 13048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 13048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 12048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 12048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 11048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 11048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 06048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 06048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 05048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 05048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 05018 NYC 1981

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 05018 NYC 1981

Hiro Betta Splendens 04048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 04048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 04018 NYC 1982

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 04018 NYC 1982

Hiro Betta Splendens 03048 NYC 1984

Hiro.   Betta Splendens 03048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 03028 NYC 1982

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 03028 NYC 1982

Hiro Betta Splendens 03018 NYC 1981

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 03018 NYC 1981

Hiro Betta Splendens 02048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 02048 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 02038 NYC 1983

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 02038 NYC 1983

Hiro Betta Splendens 02028 NYC 1982

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 02028 NYC 1982

Hiro Betta Splendens 02018 NYC 1981

Hiro.   Betta Splendens 02018 NYC 1981

Hiro Betta Splendens 01084 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 01084 NYC 1984

Hiro Betta Splendens 01038 NYC 1983

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 01038 NYC 1983

There’s a little footnote.  Tim Jefferies, of Hamiltons, who loves doing things like that and does them with endless care, had arranged them so all the the water levels ran into each other across his gallery.  I can’t do that here, but you can take it from me.  They’re wonderful pictures; but they were also  wonderfully displayed in the show that you now can’t see.  There are installation views at the link above, though, so you can get at least an impression.

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