Ratcliffe Power Station
Ratcliffe Power Station
Ratcliffe Power Station
Ratcliffe Power Station
Ratcliffe Power Station
Ratcliffe Power Station
Ratcliffe Power Station
Ratcliffe Power Station

Ratcliffe Power Station

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Mr. Kenna’s focus in this book is on the interplay and relationship between the station’s eight cooling towers and the constantly changing atmospheric conditions.

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Michael Kenna’s relationship to the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station — located southwest of Nottingham England — is that of a psycho-geographer. As an artist, his familiarity with the landscape has undergone such a deep process of internalization that he recreates what he sees in a charged, visionary context.

The Ratcliffe power station is positioned in a flat farmland. Its landscaping is designed to dissolve the confrontational aspects of the 2,000 megawatt station into a terrain dominated by native oak, beech and sycamore.

Mr. Kenna’s focus in this book is on the interplay and relationship between the station’s eight cooling towers and the constantly changing atmospheric conditions of the surrounding natural landscape.

It is implicit in these pictures that the photographer has arrived on foot through wet grasslands.

His first photographs of the Ratcliffe power station were made in the early 1980s. They show dense emissions of smoke and steam interacting with clouds to form an almost undifferentiated chiaroscuro.

As his photography makes plain, Mr. Kenna is a brilliant manipulator of half-light. His grainy, spatial topography brings to mind the grey skies of Northern England that were the ubiquitous backdrop to his childhood.

Overall, Mr. Kenna’s “Ratcliffe Power Station” photos create the impression of an atmospherically foggy day. In the viewer’s eyes, he creates an ambivalent mood — capturing this coal-fired power plant at the same time as dark and ominous and as an almost beautiful cathedral-like arrangement of five towers.

Creating such ambivalence and searching for a visual beauty in black and white is a dominant characteristic of this work.

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