James Herbert’s photographs of nude young adults, seemingly lost in the intimacy of a moment, combine conceptions of film and photography with elements of art history to create images that hover between the worlds of fact and fiction, between the romantic and the real. The photographs, made of frames selected from his films, are thus the product of a collaboration between Herbert, functioning as an engaged director, and his subjects. As images, they are more poetic and symbolic than concrete, photographic allegories that draw on the visual traditions of painting.
In 1989, using black and white, and color motion picture film that he shot mostly in the 1980s, Herbert projected individual frames, one by one, on a wall, selecting specific ones that he then re-photographed with 35mm black and white film. He later enlarged the images, printing them on 16 x 20 inch paper. This process of re-photographing and then enlarging emphasized the grain of the film and created an aesthetic that mirrors the plasticity of paint. It makes the flesh palpable, in the same way that layering paint on a canvas can provide a visceral experience.