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In Camera, Francis Bacon book

Photobook: In Camera Francis Bacon – Photography, Film and the Practice of Painting

For Halloween I wanted to look at a photobook that was dark, harrowing and disturbing… but still fascinating and brilliant.

I think the works of Francis Bacon are both transfixing and haunting. To me, paintings like ‘Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X’ are as powerful as a scene directed by John Carpenter.

Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X
Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Francis Bacon

But I didn’t buy this book to give myself a scare every now and then. The book displays photos and cuttings that were found in one of Bacon’s studios, after his death. The aesthetic quality of these documentations are something that I find fascinating. There’s tears, creases, cuts and paint marks all over each of them. It was these pictures that really captured my imagination and led to me buying this book.

Francis Bacon didn’t like painting live scenes and preferred to paint from photographs. The works of photographer Eadweard Muybridge are subjects that feature heavily in many of Bacon’s paintings. Bacon would deliberately screw up, tear, smear and reshape the photos he worked from. Often turning 2D representations into 3D reliefs, which he would then paint onto canvas. It’s the remnants of this process that I find so inexplicably fascinating.

Here’s a short(ish) video that explains what the book is about much better than I have!