University: University of Brighton
Statement: My practice is an investigation into the nature of images and how it is that we relate to them. What we call reality is constructed out of our relationship to images, the meaning that we attribute to them and what we think we see. Our perceptions are rooted in how we feel about the world, and what we feel about the world is predominantly unconscious. My work acts as a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious mind, and this deepens my understanding of my self.
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What is your favourite photobook by another photographer? I love photobooks and have a huge collection but to pick out just one is impossible. A recent purchase that I’m enjoying is Antarktis by Gerry Johansson.
Direction: On reflection I can see that photography chose me and I was aware of it when I was young. The opportunity for me to act on that connection and take up photography from an educational point of view didn’t exist growing up in Sheffield in the early 80s. There was no outlet for this connection and this in part is what undoubtedly led to a psychological melt down in my early twenties. At this point I realised I had to connect to my creativity, which led me to studying photography, and to exploring perception and how we construct reality.
Considerations: As for creating photobooks this has always been a part of my practice, for my degree show I created a hand-made book. This is far more common now thanks to advances in digital technology but in 1999 very few students were showing their work in this way.
Insurrection was envisaged as a book even as I first began to make the images. The book contains 70 photographs that were made over a period of more than two years and the process of creating the book has been a considered one. I always wanted the book to be a beautiful object in its own right and chose materials to reflect that. It’s beautifully printed on Naturalis Absolute White Matt 160gsm paper, section sewn with a clothbound hard cover.
Interior: Insurrection doesn’t attempt to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end, and in that respect it is more poetry than prose. Aside from the title page there is no text in the book. The majority of the images themselves are also without context, and hopefully this allows the viewer to experience the work from a more subjective space.
Inspiration: I am influenced by any artist, in any medium, who has turned their attention to the emotional, the psychological, and the unconscious. My main influence in this regard is Carl Jung.
Advice and Future Goals: Now that this first book is out in the world, I’m hoping the experience will allow others to follow more easily and I am looking forward to doing my next book.