So many evolutions have taken place on my journey from broadcast (television) cameraman to the mixed media imagery I make today it is a struggle to be concise here…but there is one glue that bind it all and it is contained ‘evolution’. In my experience, to stop learning, 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 depict vistas-that-instil-envy on social media a reality (the fickleness thereof became increasingly discomforting too). 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 how I view 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 practice inculcates photography as a ‘means to an end’ and the incorporation of other techniques that bring texture, tone and bearing are just as vital to the realisation of the final work.
I am interested in the creation of landscapes of the mind…re-imaginings of places familiar but not quite…I’m blessed to now live in a country where the songlines of more than 20,000 generations means a spirit untarnished in spite of the immense injustices is available if we just open ourselves to seeing and hearing.
My current practice (seen in the series Imaginata Australis) flows as follows: I go bushwalking daily, collecting what draws my eye. I embalm these bush pickings with beeswax and then rub them vigorously with metallic gold pigment that brings them to a high sheen. I photograph these pieces. Separately, I handmake backgrounds using plaster, alcohol washes and acrylic paints … building the layers until I’ve achieved a sense of balance – I then photograph these. A digital collage of these two process results which are then giclee printed to Washi (mulberry pith media). These prints are mounted (using ph neutral adhesive) to Gator Board (a rigid but lightweight substrate). I then carve the print, using mechanical tools leaving a subtle textured feel on the print surface. I add plaster, oxide washes, shellac onto the mounted print as the work demands before finishing the entire piece with encaustic medium thus sealing the work in perpetuity. Thank you for your interest and time.