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Showing posts from April, 2014


I hope I'm not confusing you, my blog audience, by bouncing between making work in the outside world and  still lives in  my intimate box room. I'm finding it quite thought provoking moving quickly from one to another, seeing shapes, arrangements and colours reflected from one approach in the other. I also like the blurring of the disciplines shifting from staged still life pictures one day to observing and framing the moving, changing world the next. It feels like they are coming together in some way, watch this space... The title of this blog post is the Dutch word we take our English word  still life  from. It came into use in the 17th Century to describe a genre of painting very much in fashion.  Hearing the Dutch language always makes me happy as it reminds me of two of the best years of my life living in Antwerp, and also my Belgian 'family', a lovely collection of people that are still great friends 20 years since my pal Matt and me first move


Two pictures from the weekend, things seemed to be travelling downwards in suburbia.  A reminder that there is still time to catch the √ČTALAGE exhibition - on this week until Thursday in Manchester:


I was in an insular state of mind earlier in the week as a result of spending several solitary hours working in my garden, thinking about growing things. I suppose it doesn't matter what type of creativity you involve yourself in, but when you are truly immersed in thought and experimentation the rest of the world recedes into a quiet hum whilst you focus on the task at hand. I couldn't snap out of this state so I decided to walk to Hulme to post a card through our old neighbours door, something I'd been meaning to do for days. I thought the 6 mile round trip would clear my head, I took pictures as I went (of course) and spent most of the walk thinking about the neighbours I was heading towards. They are two nuns, Sisters and sisters who were our neighbours for a couple of years and have remained friends ever since. Despite me being an atheist and them obviously having religious and theological beliefs at odds with that we get on incredibly well and can


I'm really enjoying my Easter break, two weeks into April and it feels very spring-like. The seasons have been scarily wonky recently and although this winter wasn't very cold in Britain it was incredibly wet. So to see nature stretching and reaching back into life at a speedy pace makes me feel very optimistic. I walked into Manchester today to visit the newly reopened Central Library (which will have to be the topic for a future blog post). The hour long journey takes me through the hinterland of the city, starting as thinly populated suburbia then passing through post-industrial dereliction and finally on to the sparkle of 'town'. I've always liked this in-between space and often photograph the battle that goes on between nature and humankind as you can see in the pictures from today. I'll be getting my hydrangeas out soon too as I'm part of a group exhibition taking place in Manchester from next week. It has been curated by Liz Ball who runs


One of the things I'm enjoying about making these still life pictures  is the sense of complete control. I feel that I'm  working a bit like a sculptor, selecting objects and then experimenting with their placement and positioning. Hours disappear in this process, as I explore colour, composition, light and shadow.  Everything is staged for the camera, and working with daylight the arrangements last only a fleeting time before the intensity changes and the alignment loses its power.  The further I push with this work the more I realise that in some ways I'm creating self portraits, my state of mind influences the choices I make in terms of colour, object, atmosphere, etc. I'm attempting to strip a photograph back to an almost abstract meditative state, creating a graphic representation of my thoughts at that moment in time. The fact that I'm making these pictures in the confined box room of my home using objects found around me reinforces the intim


Following on from a post a few weeks ago about my use of colour, composition and possible influences, I've a couple more creatives who I think have exerted some sway over my own approach to image making. One from a few decades ago, one contemporary but in my mind both connected by a winding and brightly coloured aesthetic thread.  Viviane Sassen's work walks a stylised path between fine art and fashion photography, being simultaneously both and neither. She's not afraid of colour and splashes it around with aplomb. Just when you thought there was nothing new to be done with the medium she brings a fresh twenty first century surrealism to the table (or should that be light-box or screen?). She uses bodies like props, limbs from several people forming new imagined beasts, albeit beautiful beasts. She seems to play with our lack of trust in digital photography, has it been Photoshopped or is it clever staging?  Guy Bourdin could be Sassen's photograph