• Mirror/Stage

    From the moment of self recognition through to representations of the self in everyday life, the world as stage becomes both a moment of symbolic reference and ontological uncertainty. Mirror/Stage is an ongoing project which seeks to open a critical space in photographic practice that complicates distinctions between the objective and subjective perceptions. By presenting a series of compositional elements viewed as both form and performed space the images attempt to speak to our psychological sense of place and the identities constructed as we inhabit these spaces.
  • Photographic Still Life

    Drawing on the painterly tradition of the still life form Photographic Still Lifeexpounds two aspects relating to our interaction with art objects. Firstly, that they are indeed objects and secondly that they demonstrate the ‘work’ of art, or rather that they are things that have a ‘thingly’ nature. For Heidegger, the things around us, including artworks within the current aesthetic paradigm, are rooted firmly within an established subject-object order that ‘enframes’ our understanding of the world as well as our encounters with art. By revealing the objects used to create the artworks as things like any other (the jug, the lightmeter, the camera) I hope to identify both the subject matter and the artworks themselves as objects in the world. Secondly, because our encounters with art cannot be defined within the existing subject-object dichotomy, it is their inherent ‘equipmentality’, their location within space and time, which constitutes their existence and our ontological relation to them, exemplified by the jug and in artworks like Vincent’s Van Goch’s A Pair of Shoes.
  • Anthony Burgess’ Typewriters

    In an interview for the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Martin Amis divides writers into two types, A and B. Awriters being those that concern themselves with the traditional tools of writing: plots, character, metaphor and such. Bwriters on the other hand are in love with language and like to show what can be achieved when playing with words. Many of Burgess’ novels toy with this idea, depicting a lexicon familiar in form, but alien in content. This ability to use language itself as the formal device for conveying narrative distinguishes Burgess from other writers. His knowledge of languages and invention of others (Nadsat and Ulam) attest to his admiration for the components of the written word, as did his non-fiction in books like Homage to Qwert Yuiop. Burgess only briefly made the reluctant leap to word processor towards the end of his life and most of the books, articles, and essays he wrote started on pages turned between the rollers of a typewriter, itself an analogue for nostalgic artforms. From the perspective of both photography and the archive, it seemed obvious to document the tools of Burgess’ trade with the tools of my own. But beyond the mere continuation of exhibition from one object on display to another captured and distributed as image, we can engage in the process of narrative and the tools of the artist more critically. Firstly, our knowledge of these objects is mediated through our understanding of both the artist and the artworks produced. Indeed our lack of knowledge compels us to ask more than the image is able to confess. Which typewriter was used to write which book? Where were they used? Or even, did the tool influence the art? But these questions attest not to the validity of any narrative, either of the artist or the strokes of his brush, but to its absence. Despite hammering out thousands of words and harvesting the individual components of a multitude of linguistic and narrative works, these remnants tell us no more about the artist or his artwork than a monkey could tell us about Shakespeare. It is here that image and text begin to collide. Neither the camera itself nor the image produced serves to offer a definitive understanding of a photograph’s true meaning. Rather the story outside the image dictates and shapes its definition. The nexus of these components combine to create our own personal feelings and understanding of both the object and the image representing it. And in this instance, in the same way that the structure of language can be disassembled to highlight the deceit of formal devices and create new works, these images attest to a photograph’s ambiguity of both form and intention by reflecting the empty signifiers produced by the camera. They may even suggest the work of a B photographer.
  • Tilda: Fear, Fury and Frustration

    The initial brief for this work was to explore narrative and how art direction in the studio can affect the outcome of the image. The actor, Tilda, was given a range of emotions to project towards the camera (though not directly at the lens) and an image was taken approximately every five seconds. What is not revealed, and ultimately has no bearing on the piece, is that the subject is an actor and the emotions being asked of her are contrived and stage-managed. Rather than reinforcing the intended narrative, the title and the sequence of images obfuscates our reading in an attempt to highlight the ambiguity inherent in any work of art.
  • Life Drawing

    By subtly referencing Velazquez’s 17thCentury classical painting Las Meninas, the image explores issues of representation and indexicality within the artwork. By positioning the focal plane of the camera in the same position as the sitter, parallels can be drawn between the painterly aspects drawn by the subjects and the photographic representation directed towards the viewer. These representations, each left concealed to both subject and spectator, mirror the other’s perspective and highlight the ambiguity of the artwork’s ontology. By diverting the gaze back towards the viewer, the nature of this construction becomes apparent.
  • After Mary Richardson

    On the 10th March 1914, suffragette Mary Richardson stood calmly in front of a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. She proceeded to strike the canvas with a meat cleaver in protest “against the Government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst, the most beautiful character in modern history.” Taking this incident as its starting point, After Mary Richardson, a collaboration with life model Jen Morris, examines the hierarchies of image construction and representation. Modeled on Velázqeuz’s Rokeby Venus, the image seeks to collapse the roles played by photographer, subject, and spectator, while simultaneously questioning assumptions about gender and the gaze. Morris affected both the representation of the image and, on the anniversary of the ‘attack’, the materiality of the photograph itself – the subject inflicting the wounds on the personification of their own image. By literally marking the artwork as material representation, the problematic relationship between subject and object becomes manifest.