Hill & Dale are a Canadian photographic duo whose work draws heavily on pop culture and nostalgia for analogue media. Their photographic compositions usually focus on the material and tactile nature of these old media, which they translate into new visual forms. At the same time, the viewer is confronted with a highly sensitive esprit of the past. On the one hand, Hill & Dale create entirely new and autonomous works of art; on the other, these works unleash powerful memories and feelings of nostalgia. As timelessly obsessed fans of music, one of their evocative series explores their earliest sources of inspiration: vinyl.
Their photographs of stacks of records, chosen by themselves and organised by genre, celebrate, in an almost haptic form, the duo’s unabashed reverence for their favourite music. The vinyl records from the artists’ private collections are originals that have been listened to hundreds of times; the artful album covers have passed through their hands more times than they can count as they inspected them while listening to the records. Now they are given a new aesthetic purpose: on the one hand, the legible music titles on the albums’ spines evoke powerful and highly acoustic memories; on the other hand, the narrow colourful spines are transformed into single strokes of the brush that, taken as a whole, form a highly attractive photographic abstraction.
The technical precision afforded by photography brings forth the individual cover spines’ full natural intricacy and richness of detail. In their combination, the titles and the narrow strips blend into a glimmering and by its colour range unusually rhythmic image. The viewer almost feels as if he could read the passage of time within the various hues of colour. The photographs are thus not only a visually and artful reminiscence of past times; they are also a substantive confirmation of the longevity of vinyl as such. The hearts of many a viewer – and not just those from the pre-digital era – are sure to beat faster as they view these images.