Projects:  Experienced Expressions

Project Statement:

As a painter, I pursued many approaches to painting from figuration to abstraction, in order to express how I experienced the world. Increasingly, photography served to inform my painting. I would capture moments with the camera that I would respond to on canvas in paint.  Whilst exploring the capabilities of my camera, I discovered an in-built function that changed my life. I have barely taken a ‘normal’ photograph since and I no longer paint; painting now serves to inform my photography.

It is crucial to understanding my practice that my photographs are all created in-camera. Only adjustments to light, dark and cropping are made on the computer in post-production. Each one is made using a technique that contradicts the proper functionality requirements for High Dynamic Range (HDR) imagery. According to all official manuals, the camera must remain fixed (preferably on a tripod) and the subject matter must be stationary to avoid distortion and ghosting. It is the intriguing possibilities within these distortions and ghostings that fuel my passion. Rejecting the stillness and introducing chance and performance into the process has allowed me to build a unique art form. I am in constant negotiation between the very precise technology of digital photography, intuition and happenstance to produce an elusive image.

This carefully curated series of images are all representations of actual events: moments which are created in collusion between myself,  camera, subject matter and chance. Through my work I seek to generate visual literature that tells a narrative, captures an energy, discovers beauty in the mundane, alludes to other worldliness or provides comment on my observations. From a plethora of visually and culturally diverse environments ranging from the intoxicating throngs of the Notting Hill Carnival, to the stillness of the National Gallery; I wander enthralled, making my experienced expressions with my camera. 

My intention is to create expressive visual responses to the world around me. By gesticulating my camera and lens during a capture, I aim to paint the scene there and then. I am looking to rip apart the elements of the HDR and reveal its innards. To present beyond a snapshot in time. To delve into what was and what will become. To allude to what is behind and underneath. To allow viewers the opportunity to question, imagine and interpret. Ultimately, to form an original body of work of highly personalised observations, that are a dynamic interplay between abstraction, figuration, the painterly and the photographic.

Captions:

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Michael Lee 2020