Blog

  • Stories from Home

    After returning to taking my own photographs for my MFA, I am now coming back to my own archives.

    A new way forward using a found photographs and slides. Every day I will randomly select an image from my vast collection of raw material, write a (very) short story. Not ready to publish or post via social media but I plan to make a series of booklets.

  • New work

    Back from a 3 week 2,200 mile road trip around southwest California.  This experience has given me space to think my practice through, leading to clarity and a new direction in my work.  I don't enjoy being pigeon holed so I am moving away from using found photographs back to taking my own images.  Yet I will continue the thread of home, what makes us human, belonging and the stories we tell.

  • Batter Street Open Studio - Review

    On Saturday afternoon, 4th February 2017, I opened up my studio to the public.  After spending all week preparing the space, I was excited to share this new body of work post-university and most importantly to prove to myself that I can stand on my own two feet as an artist without the security of the academic environment, in other words trusting my own artistic and aesthetic decisions.

    The work I presented was a project I had been working on for 3 months.  This looks at approximately 5,000 found Polaroids dating from the 70s to the 90s, a photographic medium I had never worked with before.  So this was a whole new territory.  Experiment after experiment I chose to exhibit portraits from this collection that I peeled apart, washed gently with water, scanned and inverted.  Within the studio space I exhibited 24 portraits in a grid of three rows of eight, 1 large image 100 x 150 cm on 1mm thick aluminium of twins as a centre piece and 2 acrylic blocks 20 x 20cm of people sleeping laid flat on a pedestal.  Also I had two tables, one to show the actual Polaroids and another with my sketchbooks, experiments and processes.

    By the end of the event 22 people passed through the space; friends, members of Plymouth Arts Centre and others who just happened to be walking past the studio.  All in all it was a very successful day.  The work was well received; lots of very positive feedback and many questions arose.  Plus I now know which way to progress with these Polaroids and ideas I will work with.  One viewer commented:

    'Polaroid lives on in this incredibly disjointed yet perfectly curated bunch of families; even better when they are pulled from the substrate.'

    To view more of the work click here.

  • Open Studio - Plymouth University Postgraduate Residency

    After three months of having a place of my own to experiment, think and just spread out, I am now ready and really looking forward to hosting an open studio event to share my development and process from my postgraduate residency at Plymouth Arts Centre.  

    I have been putting together a flyer to handout to visitors.

    ALL THAT EXISTS IS A NEGATIVE or Evidence of Absence

    Batter Street Studio, Plymouth Arts Centre

    Saturday 4th February 2017 1-5pm

    About the work

    Most of the Polaroids are of ordinary people, friends and families, whose lives are on the other side of the glittering façade we are used to seeing of Las Vegas and Los Angeles. There are hundreds of big groups smiling into the camera, newborn babies, cats and many Christmases amongst this collection.

    Not wanting to create a nostalgic or ‘Family of Man’ type body of work, I was searching for the unusual shots.  To do this I first had to work through all 5,000 Polaroids and sort them into categories. By doing this exercise I can find familiar faces and images that jump out at me. With these it was snapshots of unsuspecting people; people with their heads out of the photographic frame or asleep; empty furniture and most of all the damaged and marked Polaroids. As an artist these blemishes and defects are an integral part of what the photograph is now, as object and as image.

    There are some extraordinary images amongst this vast archive. For example there are 20 images where the bed is made. One might think that all made beds are alike - peaceful, orderly and maybe a bit mundane, unlike unmade beds, more mysterious and which invite us to draw our own conclusions. But there is always a hint of human presence of a made bed, an indent on the pillow perhaps or the bedcovers slightly ruffled, ornaments about that provide clues to help create a mental image of their inhabitants.  Also I have found an entire family; Vanessa, her sisters, mother and even her grandmother.  I almost feel like part of the family. 

    However, my inspirations come from paintings and this project is very much about abstraction - the separation of components, taking them apart and putting them together differently.  The work here today is just that, peeling the Polaroids apart and reconfiguring them to produce an image completely different to the original.  Each photograph carries on it the marks of its own story and exists materially in the world as chemical deposits on paper and I use this concept to generate new ways of transforming the traditional ideas surrounding the status of the photographic document. 

    Part of the title All that Exists is a Negative is inspired by the work by Sofia Borges The Swamp (Images Do Not Exist).