Projects: Experienced Expressions
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.
A collective of superheroes and characters pose for photographs in New York’s iconic Times Square in the hope of receiving a tip. Their colourful costumes meld with the gluttony of advertising screens and signs. Wonder Woman appears forlorn and disinterested. Ironically, her face disappears from the photograph, replaced by colours and textures unique to the peculiar city scene.
Approaching an opening to a ridiculously busy street in Old Delhi bursting with countless people, bicycles, rickshaws and animals, all jostling for position. Seemingly from nowhere, a luminous motorbike speeds headlong into the fray. Incredibly, the motorcyclist weaved his way through the melee without slowing down and disappeared from sight without disaster. A truly memorable passage of time observed in an astoundingly rich visual environment.
Marching through iconic London streets for the protection of animal rights, drenched in banners and slogans, people are passionately promoting veganism. Their infectious exuberance and energy infuses the imagery. The marchers go on to blockade a well-known fast food restaurant whose patrons require a police line as protection from the angry mob.
Placards pile up in front of the Houses of Parliament after an impassioned protest aimed at saving the National Health Service from further cuts. A partially obliterated scene is presided over by a statue of Winston Churchill, who himself had held office of Prime Minister before and after the creation of the NHS.
At London’s Notting Hill Carnival enveloped by an overwhelming surge of energy, Carnival’s intoxicating formal properties: colour, texture, smell, sound and sex pulsate towards painterly and photographic completeness.
As people cross the road entering London’s Piccadilly Circus, an elaborate camera movement drags colour and texture across the everyday scene. Fortuitously balancing the static and the stationary with the photographic and the abstract.
At the Unseen Amsterdam fair showcasing the cutting edge of contemporary photography, the public peruse the most current work presented by top galleries. With movements in a range of directions and speeds, the camera stitches the figures in with their surroundings producing a unique exploration of the gallery space and the people that fill it.
Juxtaposing the stillness of the traditional gallery setting, with the speed of its public passing through. This work obscures the usual detail on each figure with smudges and streaks generated from their own, and the camera’s, movements. Hauntingly, the iconic buliding itself engulfs its patrons by the intentional introduction of ambiguity into a process priding itself on super-sharp detail.
A couple of days after the UK is hit by yet another horrific terror attack, London Bridge is still cordoned off as police and reporters surround the dreadful scene. Countless people of all denominations come to pay their respects; an abundance of flowers and notes builds up. With a swift vertical movement of the lens, the colour from the flowers engulfs the street and infuses into the historic station building.
Captured near London’s Liverpool Street Station one pleasant evening, a bus passes by reflecting elements from the street. The camera leaves just remnants of the reflections and the bus, opening up space for the lights and colours of the city to permeate towards the front of the picture plane.