Watching, Looking and Seeing at the Kahaila Cafe

A selection of overlapping images that collectively examine our notions of viewing by showing us unique world views.

James Russell Cant explores the cityscapes of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in his series ‘E Hagaki’, translated as ‘picture postcards’ from Japanese. Devoid of human interaction, the work is eerily ghostlike and extends our bleak preconceptions of post-war Japan. However, Cant has used a colour palette that allows the series the modern context of the Hello Kitty cuteness of their Manga- esque subculture. This allows Cant’s work to step away from the bleak. His Long exposures remove the living from his images, but creates a very livable space, which counters out historical notions of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Jo Phipps’ ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller’, the title of an Italo Calvino novel that I highly recommend as a meander through Calvino’s labyrinthian idea of authorship, promised to explore ‘issues of beholding and absorption within the space and look of reading.’ However only one of his images on display dealt with this issue. The other image was of a young man playing with an old spinning top. Although I was initially disappointed, since the work promised to explore the concept of reading, the juxtaposition of these two pieces worked on a different level. Phipps’ images deal with the depth of concentration and are clinical in their approach to the candid nature of the portraits.

Rhona Eve Clews presents a view of decay in her series ‘Other Rooms’. She created a series of overlooked minature landscapes framed by forgotten windows. These fenestrae subtly entice curious voyeurs and yet look onto secret spaces that have been allowed to fester and gather dust. These are personal views of the impersonal, centred on a world that has gathered neglect and disinterest. Clews sees these spaces as abandoned sculptures in the flow of transition, frozen within the photograph, which is itself momentary and fleeting.



James Russell Cant

Jo Phipps

Rhona Eve Clews

The Kahaila Cafe
135 Brick Lane, E1 6SB