Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
NEATNIKS, BEWARE. MARTHA Stewartites, abstain (or get thee to a garden). ThighMaster slaves, steer clear. Entering the cluttered, garish living rooms of Nick Waplington's chainsmoking, beer-drinking, fun-loving, blue-collar British protagonists in The Wedding could give you a major cardiac episode. His kinetic, riotously colorful photographs transport you to the low-income housing in Nottingham, where big, tattooed, redheaded Janet and her five children live and play. Waplington lets you roll on the floor with them, belly up to the refreshment table (Janet is marrying her boyfriend Clive) and loll with them on the couch.
If his subjects seem exceptionally uninhibited in front of the camera, it's probably because he's one of the gang—a pal who has been hanging out with them and taking their pictures for years (his first book, in 1991, was the equally rowdy Living Room). The photos are socioeconomic litmus tests, bound to measure one's reactions to everything from obesity to interracial marriage to—reaching for a neutral word—flexible standards of decor and decorum. He, like his subjects, is obviously untroubled by it all, and his embrace can be seen in his light, whether flash or available. Everything in Waplington's family circus is bathed in brightness. The message is equally clear: If you have a problem with his people, it's your problem—not theirs. (Aperture, $40)
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