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  • Miles Hedley

NICK RAYNSFORD at the Greenwich Gallery

The genius photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson coined the phrase “visual geometry” to describe his amazing images, pictures of the real world seen through the lens of his lifelong passion for surrealism. Nick Raynsford has used the phrase as the title of his latest exhibition at the Greenwich Gallery – and it’s entirely apt.

On show are a couple of dozen photographs taken in Britain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco and Spain which cast the familiar and everyday in an entirely unfamiliar and timeless light thanks to odd angles and the play of light on man-made structures to create layers of shadow that are beautiful but often bewildering and even unsettling.

There is a stunning photograph of lush Moroccan foliage shot through a stone balustrade which leaves the viewer feeling slightly off-balance, until closer inspection reveals the rounded uprights to be focus-shiftingly asymmetrical.

Other pictures show the gorgeous effects of southern sunlight on streets and buildings photographed from above, while yet others zoom in on smaller features which remain cleverly but disconcertingly obscure without careful study.

Two of the most mysterious images are from Greenwich Peninsula. Both left me admiring but baffled until Nick talked me though them. One shows the shadows on the side of a house with a strutted canopy, the other looks down on a rain-dampened balcony jutting over a boardwalk above a lake.

This is a remarkable exhibition that will ravish your senses and also, if you allow yourself the time to look, stimulate your mind. Cartier-Bresson would have loved it.

The show closes on February 16. Prints of the pictures are available to buy, with all the proceeds going to Greenwich Winter Night Shelter, a cause close to former local MP Nick’s heart.

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