Fresh off the back of a recent exhibition at the Foley Gallery in New York City, In Between Borders makes its debut in our online galleries.
Every day we see things. That we pay no attention to. A curtain. A wall. A vase. They pass through our acknowledging eyes to our subconscious and are recorded as uneventful, and our attention moves on. But if you stop your eyes for a moment, adjust your focus, you may see the color, the light, the symmetry that makes the everyday beautiful.
The body of work is set to a back drop of the photographers return to his adopted home (NYC), his experience and response to the everyday, amidst a sea of personal, cultural and political change.
21 From 20
Every artist I suppose has a sense of what they think has been the importance of their work. But to ask them to define it is not really a fair question. My real answer would be, the answer is on the wall - Paul Strand
I have always played around with cameras and I was given my first 110 Camera (remember those!?) when I was 8 by my grandmother, from that point on I have always had one close by and have been photographing.
However, it was not until I went to university that I fell in love with photography. It was 20 years ago, that I stepped into a darkroom for the first time and the love affair started. I spent most of my university time from that point on wards in darkness, developing and printing in the basement of the Portland building at DMU.
I had not only found photography but also art, I was creating a unique piece of art with each click, dunk and swish, I loved it, I felt at home in this realm creating wonderful imagery. It was during this time that I realized that I communicate more effectively and comfortably visually than I ever could with words or in writing – And this is what I have been doing ever since.
Here I am 20 years, 15 cameras and over 160,000 photographs later, and the love affair still continues. At this point in a person’s career there is somewhat reflective moment, office workers get a carriage clock, footballers get testimonials and artists are celebrated with a retrospective of their work. This is my personal retrospective, my work ‘on the wall’.
The work starting in 1996 and progressing chronologically through to 2016, is not of any particular subject, location or body of work, it is a narrative of my personal journey, experiences and evolution as a photographer over the last 20 years previously unpublished. Happy Viewing!
“There is a transformation, you see, when you just put four edges around it. That changes it. A new world is created.”
Visiting landmarks is a rite of travel, we dream, we aspire and we want to see these wonders of the world. The tourist industry presents us with an enhanced reality showing us the perfect world we inhabit, enticing us to explore and visit these wonders. The industry lies to us in some ways, maybe not in content but in its presentation of these icons. We are presented a stylized version and experience that is an enhanced one. Since the rise of digital photography and the sophistication of digital editing we are subject to the perfect image of the perfect world.
This body of work is a response to the digital enhanced realities we are sold, these digital masks have taken the sheen off our experiences. These worlds do not exist in the experiences that are visualized in person, they are a faux experience; sunset soaked hues, blue skies and fluffy white clouds, empty solitary landscapes. The reality is very different at times, there are masses of people and hawkers, noise and traffic, we jostle for position to get ‘the’ shot that drew us there, we tick a box but the experience leaves us deflated.
They are landmarks for a reason, there is no doubt, but there is more to them than just ‘the shot’., There is a whole story and world away from the idolized view or views, touches of detail, patterns, lines, shapes. This body of work is an attempt to explore and reclaim the landmark for the honest eye, a new viewpoint is created as the landmarks are explored capturing the impact of man and history on these wonderful places.
Forbidden City, Beijing
Machu Picchu, Peru
Gateway of India, India
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Empty Sky Memorial, USA
The India Gate, Delhi
King Jagiello Monument, Central Park, USA
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Independence Hall, USA
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Taj Mahal, India
Tiananmen Square, China
Forbidden City, China
Washington Monument, USA
Agra Fort, India
Kilmainham Gaol, Ireland
Amer Fort, India
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
The Moscow Kremlin, Russia
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
This project is born from a lifetime of being short sighted. Simply put, I wear glasses and when I take them off, the world becomes a different place. I am suddenly transferred into a landscape less ordinary, an almost surreal world of moving shapes and splashes of colour. The light bouncing and reflecting with all the movement on the beach - people, water, clouds, balls, umbrellas, dogs.
Everything becomes anonymous in this new world and I am transported to a place that I cannot identify. But my other senses kick in, I recognize the experience and smile and know I am happy.
This project reproduces this experience and the environment, sharing with the audience an insight into this altered reality, one that disables the viewer visually whilst offering a new world to admire and question.
Destined Ethnography II
Ethnography – An observational science providing accounts of particular culture, society, or community.
Destiny – An individual’s path through life through the selection of the path through one’s own decisions
Destined Ethnography II – is the second installment of an ongoing photographic essay observing my travels as a photographer. The portfolio depicts the visual experience of my travels not as a travel log but as an abstraction of form of the environments I have found myself passing through.
The work conveys a photographic expressionism of my world and my emotions through these travels. Photographs taken as if they are of a state of mind or the language of my emotions – what am I seeing when I think or what have I been thinking to see.
The compositions come when I am at my psychological and physical extreme’s, conditions that play on the senses and evoke a visual language using form, color and line. In a daydream like stasis the environments that surround me take on a new light, a visualization of these compositions emerge almost non-representational of the subject verging on the abstract, it is here at this moment that the composition is complete.
These extraordinary images are captured in a straight forward manner there’s no contrived theme, there’s no documentary and there’s no planning – there is just spontaneity and the moment.
These photographs form part of my destiny through my conscious decisions on my journeys, the journey has its stories and the subjects of the compositions have their stories but it is the abstract expressions of my visualizations that I am photographing.
The essay is a photographic ethnography of my travels conveying a visualization of the global village through my experiences, it’s a depiction of my descent through cultures and communities, exposing my abstraction composed in the environments that surround me.
Travelling can lead one to undiscovered treasures.
Tourist tat* is a discovery of these 'treasures'. It is a collection of photographs from my travels around the world, focusing on what must be a billion dollar industry. We visit and we buy, some of the most kitsch and audacious memorabilia around simply because we visited or went somewhere.
With the traditional vacation values that are held across the world, we save a bit for ourselves and we also bring a bit home for our family and friends. There they sit in gaudy glory, gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.
The displays that confront us on our travels are an assault on the senses, the colours and the cheesiness of it all. The sheer volumes of these products peddled every day are surely a strain on the environment and earth’s resources!
But beyond the tourist mafia, these products start to bring a smile to ones face. They offer interesting new creations, blending colours, shapes and patterns into a new vision and art form.
These photographs explore these new artistic creations, offering the viewer a different view of some of the finest collections of tat I have come across, taking the Kitsch into an art form.
*Tat - a term, found particularly in England, referring to anything which appears shabby, cheap and tasteless.