Jeff Wall’s career began in the late 1970s after graduating from the University of British Columbia. Wall is known for his tableau style of photography, an approach which creates singular images with implications to a larger narrative. At the beginning of his career, Wall used the photograph to reference his academic background, oftentimes appropriating famous paintings or composing images to reference various historical works. He later began experimenting with presentation by mounting photo transparencies on light-boxes, a reference to both contemporary life and artwork, which is said to have been inspired by backlit advertisements on the insides of bus shelters.
In the 1990s, Wall remodeled his studio to resemble a production set, in an attempt to connect artwork to both film and literature. Instead of stumbling across a moment and snapping a picture, he began creating happenings and staging entire images; an approach which would characterize the majority of his work for the next decade.
Jeff Wall’s implementations of tableau photography through seemingly natural circumstances continue to push the medium forward. His experiments with both the image and its presentation have opened the medium of photography to be seen, not only as a way of freezing a moment, but as a means for exploring the themes and interpretations of reality.