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Art Photobook Reviews

Idiomatic by Price Harrison

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

To find out that Price Harrison has a successful career in architecture and design comes as no surprise.

An initial examination of his debut publication "Idiomatic" reveals a colourful barrage of clean lines, geometric shapes and beautifully blocked colours.

In themselves these compositions are certainly enough to grab our attention, rather like a photographic Matisse or Bridget Riley.

However, as with all the best photography, it is the eye of the practitioner that transforms abstract and often soulless technical perfection into art.

Form and structure looms large and ever present in Harrison's work. A glance at the crisp minimalism which appears to be a fundamental element of the buildings constructed by his architectural practice is evidence of this, however the incorporation of colour and shadow animates and warms his compositions, softening and humanising them.

With that word "humanising" to the fore, closer inspection also reveals humour and a very real physical presence.

Not a single detail is left to chance and the pictures on display rapidly broaden their classification to embrace street photography and portraiture.

The purity of a landscape or manmade intervention is never dismissed or taken for granted.

Overcast night skies and curving beaches beset by storm clouds remind us that the natural beauty of the world around us is undoubtedly as photogenic as those somewhat unnatural contributions made by ourselves.”

The sandstone overlay of two buildings.

Concrete and glass breaking the picture's rhythm.

And almost as if it is trying to work out whether to affect an escape, a bush somewhat ironically camouflaged by its manmade surroundings appears to peek around a corner as if it is considering whether or not to break cover and make a run for it.

The tail fin of a parked car, a relic of its time.

Next to it on the ground a pile of sand, a concrete block protruding from it, emulating the car's fin, just as if its buried ancestor was being excavated....just a relic.

A stunning composition in fifty shades of beige.

A rundown building with its blue painted exterior stairs prepares to repel the charge of a pink picket fence. Its upright posts, silently waiting in line, poised for the order to advance.

Those intimations of a human presence pile up. In virtually every frame the idea that the artist has arrived just as a sitter has vacated is suggested. In others a pair of eyes, or practically hidden face peers out at us.

A grey anonymous exterior, the open window looking into a cafeteria or rest room. Coffee pots at the ready, but not a single person to be seen.

A semi circle of brightly coloured children's tricycles line up at a race track like curious visitors, an alien species, inquisitive and tasked with gathering intel.

The colours of the bikes replicated in the hoardings in the background.

No detail left to chance.

Then  (slowly and tentatively) physicality enters the frame.

Cheerleaders (or at least their legs) seated on a grandstand, the concrete supports below the structure mirroring their positions on the benches.

A monolithic grey inflatable.

A bouncy castle boasting all manner of slides and "caves", curves and snakes like dough forced out of a piping bag.

In itself an intriguing sculptural proposition but look closer and a little girl can be spied in the toothy mouth of the beast.

A human spitball waiting to be ejected.

And on to portraits, the organic finally tipping the balance.

A lone figure walks through a car park, flanked by vehicles encroaching from all points around the frame.


The symmetry of three figures in hooded raincoats. Immediately normal but then again, possibly escapees from “The Shire”


Harrison’s photographs are steeped in normality, but graced with good humour, humanity and awareness.

An awareness of environment, of landscape and of its inhabitants.

They provide maybe an encouragement to look a little closer at our own surroundings and the impact we have upon them.

The statue of an American Indian, face down on concrete.

The white feathers of his carved headdress appearing almost as a mountain range running along his back, a silhouette reminiscent of a landscape that truly was theirs.

Yes, face down on the concrete indeed.

Was that humour? Make it satire.

Idiomatic by Price Harrison is available from

1 Comment

Jan 23, 2023

The more I come to appreciate these wonderful photobooks; the more I realise it is because of the gorgeous narratives that make me really see and feel the photographers’ intentions.

The “seeing” is a skill I am working on (!) but I wonder, without your eyes to guide me, how long I’d linger on each photo as not all book topics are for all folks but, once again, you have altered that.

My fave narrative in this book is the blue staircase preparing to repel the pink fence! Utterly gorgeous!

Love the photo of the lone figure and the encroaching cars.

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