So many evolutions have taken place on my journey from broadcast (television) cameraman to the fine art photography I make today that it is a struggle to be concise here…but if there is one glue to bind it all it would have to be contained in the word evolution. To stop learning, in my opinion, is to stop evolving as a person, as a craftsman and consequently as an artist. As such, you will find on my site a number of ‘styles’ which reflects what I like to think of as a blossoming of my creativity over the past decade and hence (although my ego might not agree!) I prefer these ‘older’ works to still be visible.
At the outset of my foray into stills photography my motivations were predominated by a desire to elicite a ‘wow’ response in the viewer. Those motivations, more by circumstances which I outline later, have fortunately shifted. Nowdays, it is the more intimate engagement, where my work, ideally, prompts questions of the viewer and what might follow is an engagement where conversations of discovery might be the natural consequence.
In 2014 my eldest daughter was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder which prompted a revision of my approach (to both life and my work). No longer were grand trips abroad to illustrate the vistas-that-instil-envy a reality (the fickleness thereof became deeply discomforting). Now, I was mandated to be close, intimate and thus a need for softness and an embrace of that quality subtly became ever more important to both my family and my artwork. I looked down, into the soft moss more, noticing little moments of the fantastical. I began to explore approaches to image making that emphasised this allure of the soft, sharpness of being and the projection thereof became increasingly less important…I was expressing feelings, adjectives….no longer the literal and outwardly discernible nouns of the external life-lived-large. Photography became less about the what or the how and more about the why….
A quote (written over 120 years ago) goes right to the heart of my approach to photography now:
“We got tired of the sameness of the exquisiteness of photography – why?
Because the photograph told us everything about the facts of nature and left out the mystery.
Now, however hard-headed a man may be, he cannot stand too many facts; it is easy to get a surfeit of realities,
and he wants a little mystification as a relief.”
Henry Peach Robinson 1896
My current photographic practice is taken up with a technique called ‘multiple exposures’. That is, making multiple photographs and blending them, usually in-camera, into a single frame. The consequence, I believe, is one that presents the full complexity and nuance that I perceive in nature. It is also an approach that, despite the innumerable number of frames required to make a single, acceptable image, somehow startling and refreshing in result. Particularly when viewed from the standpoint of modern photography where everything is premeditated, predetermined and any unforeseen or uncontrolled aspect can be managed or circumvented via a quick ‘google’ search. It is the beauty and excitement derived of the idiosyncrasy of chance where, I believe, multiple exposure photography stands predominant. So often it is the very ‘mistakes’ made in the organic layering of image upon image that makes an image ‘work’.
As my images have evolved in-camera there has also been a progression in the finishing of my works too. I, still, print to 100% cotton fine art media, but over the past while I have begun embedding encaustic wax into my works. Encaustic is a two millennia old technique where natural beeswax (fortified with a component of resin thus making the wax more resilient to ambient temperature changes) is soaked into the cotton print. The wax gives the work a tactile and mystical sense, it also allows me to etch, buff, incise and mark-make which ultimately, I feel, gives the work a greater sense of authorship. It also, from the point of view of a purchaser of the work, offers a certainty that the work they hold is one-of-a-kind – Sui generis!