University: University of South Wales, Newport
Click here to buy In the Company of an Invisible Man.
Statement: The book I am showcasing with Photograd’s Spotlight is a self-published book I made as part of my graduating project back in 2014 where I graduated from University of Newport. It’s called In the Company of an Invisible Man. The works about where my late father’s ashes lay in North Wales, he passed away whilst I was studying at university, he never saw me graduate so the book is really something physical for him and everyone whose experienced that kind of loss.
I am a writer, editor and photographer. Most notably for being the co-founder of Darwin Magazine, which is being re launched for 2017. I’ve been working in the photography industry since I graduated and currently part of the team at the British Journal of Photography.
What is your favourite photobook by another photographer? My favourite photobook by another photographer is probably Wilder Mann by Charles Freger. There’s a wildness and certain beat to it. It’s scary, it’s exciting. And it’s got some fun illustrations as well. I’m a sucker for mythology and folklore, and it’s the perfect embodiment of that.
Direction: The direction I took my book was led mainly by my emotions and what I felt at the time. I tried not to look at others work on loss and memory. It’s such a personal yet universal thing, I wanted to follow the path that was being laid out in front of me rather than stepping in the footsteps of others. Making the contacts to get the book wasn’t hard, I’m a very open and matter of fact person, I don’t make it difficult to understand what my work is about or the direction I want to go in. The right people never find you, you’ve got to find them.
Considerations: The decision to create the book came out of the loss of my father in the first year. I wanted to make something physical. It was very important to have something for myself, family and loved ones once I left university. I always make images and work for myself. I’m not too concerned by what a curator or editor wants to see. If your motivations for making a photobook is to gain popularity and recognition, then you might as well stop what you’re doing and go flip some burgers down at McDonalds.
Interior: The book doesn’t open with any text. There’s an essay at the back by the wonderfully talented Kate Mercer. She helped me with the project greatly and was a huge emotional support when I was tackling the project. We had a lot of conversations about how fucked up I was feeling and how desperately alone I felt during the mourning process. The images really speak for themselves. There’s photos my dad took of me as a kid and portraits of me lost in the landscape as now a grown man in the same locations. The editing was very difficult, how much I was prepared to give the reader or how much I should pull back. I see things I’d change now, but that only comes with time and maturing as an artist.
Inspiration: I read a lot of poems, stories and tales of the wilderness. The idea of the landscape and man being one. Henry David Thoreau, Christopher McCandless to name a few. Photography wise I looked at the usual photographers your university lecturers would suggest, but as I mentioned earlier, the raw emotion I was feeling was my lantern through what was a huge under taking at the time.
Advice and Future Goals: Looking to the future, I’m really happy of where I am career wise. I love the British Journal of Photography, it’s such an honour to be a part of the team here. I’m focusing my attention towards Darwin Magazine in 2017, and a few personal projects which I’ve been putting off for a while. More dark and depressing shit I’m afraid. The only advice I can give for anyone wanting to do their own book is think about the motivation and reasons why you want to do it, 99.9% of projects don’t need to be photobooks, so make sure it’s adding to the work and not just another thing you can talk to people about.
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