Robert Taylor, 'Have And Take 1'

Robert Taylor, 'Have And Take 1'

Robert Taylor (born 1958)
'Have And Take 1'
Gelatin-silver print
Museum No. E.578-1996
© Robert Taylor

The Photograph

This photograph is part of a series from a collaboration with the dancer, Mark Linton Harris. He wanted to make a piece of dance in which the photography would be more than evidence that the dance had been there.

'Mark Linton Harris took the role of the wife, dancing with an ex-partner of his, with whom there was quite a lot of tension. The performance became very much about the tensions of being in an intimate relationship. It was also interesting to watch, for the first time, the relationship between black and white flesh and different kinds of strength.
I took a different edit of the images for my purposes which were more to do with the inter-play of black and white, at one level about race and society and on another, just about the aesthetic of it. ' Robert Taylor

'The erotic element of Have and Take 1 can have another quite different interpretation that doesn't see it as erotic at all, but preoccupied with the flower as a symbol of all sorts things that are valuable in society. The black hand doesn't necessarily need to be black, rather it symbolises the odd tense state we're in these days. We're post slavery and post the chronic abuse of women, yet you find that resources of various kinds and opportunities, whilst they're within everybody's reach, that grasp can be very different.

The black hand is taking a very strident, possessive and somewhat insecure grip and the white hand is coming from a different position and is utterly effortless by comparison in what it can take.' Robert Taylor

The Photographer

Robert Taylor first picked up a camera at the age of 14. On leaving school he joined the Air Force, before taking a law degree. He then spent five years in publishing and it was during this time that he commissioned Rotimi Fani-Kayode to take his portrait (also in this box). This was a decisive moment that set him on the path to become a professional photographer.

'I finally saw somebody doing photography in a way that made me think that it was the main thing I wanted to do with my time. Rotimi was very generous and indulgent, explaining his approach, and this helped me get more focused. We used each other quite a lot, as models. These were amazing photographic lessons, just watching someone at work. My preoccupation was with portraiture, but within a wide-ranging definition, mainly as abstract work around the body. The people in my pictures are symbols, ciphers and objects.' Robert Taylor


This photograph can be found in Print Room Box 16.