Cody Bratt‘s photographs make you want to get up and move, are deliberately emotive, tug at the heart strings, put you in a cinematic aspect from which you gaze out of at the world and come to slowly realise that its more exciting, accessible and possible than you ever thought before.
These pictures maybe rooted in the most common American photographic tropes; the young sexy woman, the desert highways, the abandoned petrol stations and cinemas but they are imbued with a gentle humour and warmth. Each photograph open and willing to befriend you. As if Bratt wants to be familiar, tender and funny. Like a popular guest at a party who creates an atmosphere in which everyone can relax, be happy and express themselves. For while his subject matter is a cliche that has played itself out in the American cultural landscape – and by association global youth culture – for over 60 years he presents it in a fresh and unaffected way. Each picture a lesson in composition, light and colour. Each erudite and technically accomplished.
In many ways these are gentle and unassuming pictures. They don’t provoke. Rather they keep us comfortable, ward of the darkness, the banality and the ordinary of our lives. They are grand. Cinematic in their scope. They take us on an adventure to a place we wish we could go. Here’s how Bratt puts it:
I believe a photograph can only hope to faithfully capture an emotion. To say it captures a complete scene is far too inaccurate, as the scene changes from moment to moment, second to second. In that way, I aim each of my photographs to be a love letter to the world. Each one depicts a life dripping in romance, seduction, melancholy, fear and hope. As the life around us deteriorates with the passage of time, this emotion is the one constant through our lives. Why should I photograph anything less?
I love his description of the photograph as a love letter. We should all take time to make a love letter tothe world. Its a place full of wonder that we often take for granted.