Influential photographer Jeff Wall makes large-scale color images that seem to capture people engaged in everyday life, but are in fact largely staged. Interested in the filmmaking of the postwar era, particularly the unconventional narrative structures of Neo-Realism, his best known work involves constructing elaborate mis-en-scènes, which he photographs and then displays in wall-mounted lightboxes. “I wanted to exaggerate the artificial aspect of my work as a way to create a distance from the dominant context of reportage, the legacy of Robert Frank and the others,” Wall explains. “I saw something else in photography, something to do with scale, with color and with construction, which might be valid along with the more established values that had come down from the 19th century and had been extended by the great photographers of the 20th century.” Wall’s practice is varied, and for many years has also incorporated smaller, documentary photographs and, since 1997, black-and-white pictures.
Canadian, b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada, based in Vancouver, Canada