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Artist of the week
Alex Holland

Alex Holland's talent as a photographer is the result not of art school education but of a natural innate ability. In 2004 he qualified from Imperial College London with a Masters degree in Physics but soon decided to pursue his love of photography instead.

Alex's images of London are striking in their originality. He excels at de-familiarising the familiar; at making the once recognisable urban landscape startlingly alien. Whether it be the strange perspective from which a particular landmark is shot or the digital manipulation involved in a distortion of the Cutty Sark, Alex's work is always surprising.

The photographs are frequently taken at night or in the early hours of the morning when the city is in its most naked state - stripped of its citizens. London without Londoners is a bizarre place to be; the hustle and bustle of daily commuter life is such an intrinsic part of what makes the capital what it is that with out it, there is a profound and hollow emptiness. It loses a part of its identity. Without the people, the city seems to be alive but somehow on snooze mode.

Although unique to him, Alex's photographs also make a nod towards a whole sub-genre of apocalyptic visions of the city. Appropriately enough the medium that seems to be most directly connected with Alex's way of seeing is film. The opening shot of Danny Boyle's 2002 movie '28 Days Later', for example, reveals a desolate central London - streets full of rubbish, route-masters on their sides and not a soul to be seen.

Scenes like this were achieved by shooting most of the film on digital camera. Both director and photographer have managed to harness the characteristics peculiar to digital photography and exploit them to equally successful individual ends. London is not a city that waits and so capturing images like these requires immense technical ability and speed. It is an audacious move that pays off for both artists. The results are surreal and unnerving and pose uncomfortable questions - why are there no people? What happened to them?

In Alex's images the city becomes at once beautiful and vaguely menacing and it is impossible not to feel the immense amount of pride and respect that the artist takes in cataloguing it. Through his lens it looms and glows and dominates the frame. London in Alex's vision is a pulsing behemoth of energy that he washes in shades of blue and yellow or black and white. Slightly foreign and slightly remote, his is an important take on the city with one eye always open.

To view Alex's gallery please click here
 

San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge at twilight
San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge at twilight
£ 150

London, Clock face of Elizabeth Tower
London, Clock face of Elizabeth Tower
£ 130