Alastair Thain

Alastair was credited with much of the photography for the Savage album and all of the singles that were released from it producing some of the most striking images of Annie portraying a vulnerable woman as she begins to fantasise about becoming her alter ego.

Alastair Thain is a multidisciplinary artist working principally within the mediums of photography. His work has been exhibited in Kunsthalle Mannheim, The Tate Gallery, Parco Tokyo, The Royal Festival Hall, The Imperial War Museum, and is in the collections of Maja Hoffmann and Thyssen-Bornemisza. Born on the outskirts of Dusseldorf in 1961 Thain was deeply influenced by the time he spent with Joseph Beuys, and his concepts underpinning “the healing power of art.” His practice is informed by a desire to enhance the empathy felt for others. “Throughout his career Alastair Thain has consistently contested notions of what photography is able to achieve. From the outset to the present day Thain has been an innovator. His challenges to photographic convention and obsessive quest for the technical advances that will allow him to fulfil his vision place him in a unique position among contemporary photographic artists.” Dr Rolf Later “The intimacy of Thain’s extraordinarily detailed photographs creates a fascinating understanding of the emotional state of the photographed person.” Dr Susanne Drost “To understand empathy on a neural basis, the discovery of mirror neurons shed light on the question of how we understand the actions and emotions of others from an outside perspective. Witnessing actions, sensations and emotions of other individuals has been shown to activate exactly the same brain areas which are involved in the actual performing of the actions or emotions. For example it had been shown that the pain of another person activates part of the neural pain network of the empathizer, without first hand pain experience of the empathizer. The amplitude of the empathic brain responses is modulated by the intensity of, inter alia, the displayed emotion, the personal connectedness (i.e. suffering of a friend has a bigger impact than the suffering of an unfamiliar person). This is exactly where the art work of Alistair Thain changes the observer’s perspective and evokes an empathetic response to an unfamiliar person. The use of large scale photographs in a never seen detailed facial expression creates a high level of intimacy and familiarity for the observer to an unknown person. The result is a deeply moving series of photographs displaying various states of the human nature from suffering to joy, from desperation to hope. Thain has changed the way photographs touch our soul.” Dr Susanne Drost “Thain spent 15 years devising his unique cameras in order to achieve not only large-format images that are incredibly precise, but also to capture the subliminal movements and expressions people make that are often at the heart of actions and events. His large-format photographs possess a strange and special presence. This presence stems initially from the majestic scale of the works, whose extreme resolution and clarity exceeds what the eye can generally perceive, and principally from the intuitive choice of moments in which the artist creates these images. These moments often reveal to us that depth of psychological expression, that biography or painful fate which goes to make up a person’s essence, his or her individual special character.” “With his photographs, Thain makes us more aware of the individual, the human being, and existence. When contemplating the depth of perception in these photographs we become partners in an imaginary dialogue with people whom we do not know, but who are suddenly so close to us that we cannot elude the invitation to converse with them on the burden of their fate. In the course of that conversation, we will gradually become more aware of the uniqueness, violability and fragility of human existence, with all its positive and negative nuances.” Dr Rolf Lauter

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