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Chris Rhodes shoots first and asks questions later

Exploring the faded glamour of Memphis through his rapid-fire photo series

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Memphis Chris Rhodes

What springs to mind when you think of Memphis? Cliched country singers? Blue suede shoes, Elvis? For photographer Chris Rhodes, shooting the iconic city was all about facing off to those stereotypes. Drawing on the classic works of Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld, Rhodes' shots take their cue from that quintessentially '70s aesthetic. "America has clearly always embodied a certain pictorial culture, an iconic society", he says of the enduring lure the USA still holds for many photographers. "You know the clichés before visiting a place, but until you actually get there, it’s hard to know what to expect. Memphis encapsulates the notion of faded glamour that seems easy to reach but maybe only because it’s a mirage." Although this series is short on people, Rhodes comes at his shoots from a surprisingly anthropological place, "My process is very much focused on people without always even showing them in the images, but systematically representing them through objects, and colours". Describing how his style has gone from measured and solitary to instinctively brash, he talks of fast-paced shoots, putting speed over focus in a bid to capture the raw immediacy of his surroundings. "Sometimes I don’t manage to catch them, and they're gone forever" he admits, "But there's something nice about the ones that get away. I still think about those photographs that never happened."

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