Los Loss
By Trevor Appleson Hardback, full-colour, 248pp, 978-1-86154-306-6 268 x 230mm September 2008


A unique publication showcasing Trevor Appleson’s major photographic project in Mexico. Los Loss, focuses on Mexican still-life photographs by the South African artist, and features staged and co-incidental compositions, involving the locals in the creation of the works. 


The bright colours and exotic people on the tourist trail left their mark on Appleson but he challenges the obvious and digs beneath the surface of Mexico City and its surroundings. Mexican Wrestlers destroy traditional candy filled Piñatas, resulting in broken and burned cartoon-ish forms; a group of young boxers with their clumsy gloved hands attempt to break eggs into a bowl - egg mixture on the dusty desert - this is the focus and subject matter for his work.

Pictures that at first sight seem to be representations of the rural idle, on closer inspection reveal graves and brutish industrial farming. What ties all of these apparently classical still lifes together is Appleson’s ability to avoid the obvious and his enthusiasm for developing a whole new way of involving the locals in the creation of the works.

Appleson’s formal photographs are created outside; a large black screen is mounted on legs with a metal frame to become the backdrop for the work. Taken at either dawn or dusk when the light is at its best, the screen is used to reduce the amount of extraneous visual information, presenting the viewer with a stark point of focus. Appleson has developed a ‘film still’ type quality to the works, and is interested in the link between the photographic images he produces and old masters’ paintings, particularly Mannerist works.

Appleson’s past projects have centred on a wide range of subjects and venues. His Cape Town beach community series made between 2000-2004 (published by Booth-Clibborn as Free Ground 2006) featured the forgotten and lawless; Tel Aviv works of 2005-2006 presented contrasting venues of a Kibbutz and the Israeli army. Last year (2006) Appleson began to break away from the portrait format and produced a series of still lifes in Rome, continuing this approach in Mexico City and its surrounding villages this year (2007).

The book features an essay by Alison Green, a London-based art historian, critic and sometime curator

Born in South Africa, Appleson is a self-taught photographer who now lives and works in London. He has exhibited widely, both in the UK and internationally. Recent shows include Artrock at the Rockefeller Center in New York, The Jerwood Foundation (London), at the Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas Foundation in Greece. Galerie S65 in Cologne Nada Art Fair in Miami, Aurel Sceibler Gallery in Berlin, and Hales Gallery in London. 

Value and Service was established in 2002 by Hazel Rattigan and Sean Murphy. Both graduates of the Royal College of Art, they set up ‘V’ upon leaving their design positions at David James Associates and North respectively. Since then ‘V’ have completed projects for numerous cultural clients while continuing work on Rachel Whiteread's long-awaited book for Booth-Clibborn Editions.