Images of gangs and strippers are nothing new, and their creation is fraught with the risk of appearing insensitive and patronising at best, exploitative at worst. So for them to pique our interest, they have to be very special. The works of Scotland-born photographer Ivar Wigan are exactly that. Ivar’s recent work has seen him documenting the street culture of Miami, Atlanta and New Orleans, and their often seedy, rarely glamorous underpinnings. And while the images undoubtedly have a voyeuristic slant, central to them is a sense of admiration and empathy, rather than pity or profiteering.
Ivar’s photographs manage to fizz with the immediacy of street photography while creating compositions that each contain an individual, beautifully lit narrative, which many have compared to the work of Nan Goldin. His recent work is now being drawn together for a show at London’s PM/AM gallery, entitled The Gods.
According to the gallery, Ivar’s images aim to make his subjects the “stars of their own narrative,” while confronting viewers with realities he may not be familiar or comfortable with. “I want the viewer to feel that they were there with me and that they know what happened just before the image was taken and what might happen soon after,” says Ivar. “The images are slightly beyond what is real. Everything I show you happened but the exact moments I choose to present are selected and edited to give you an intense distillation of what these scenes are like.”
The Gods runs from 12 June – 31 July at London’s PM/AM gallery