I’ve been taking photographs for many moons now (or to put it another way, more than a full orbit of Saturn). In that time, I’ve exposed many frames of film, and printed more than a few boxes of paper. I started with a Box Brownie, moved on to my Dad’s Yashicamat, then on through a succession of 35mm, rollfilm & 5×4 cameras of varying quality and pedigree. [The largest camera I ever used was 48 inches (1.2 metres) in aperture, and took thin glass plates 14 inches (356mm) square … the UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. However, as you can’t actually look through a Schmidt, it is technically just a big camera.]
Professionally, my work was scientific in nature, while my spare time interests were more creative. I have produced some right old rubbish, and a few more memorable and enduring images. My aim was always to produce something that I’d be happy to hang on my wall, and which would be a pleasing image of some sort. Apart from a few years in a camera club, almost at the start of my involvement with photography, and a couple of later low-key exhibitions, I never seriously contemplated the possibility of providing my photography for wider consumption. Redbubble, however, has been influential in changing my mind on that.
For much of the last 15 years, my photographic effort has been almost nil. I seemed to have lost touch with my muse. Some time within the last 5 years or so, I did start playing with images again – initially just dabbling with low-res digital tweaking of some of the few pics I had taken. Gradually, I started feeling the desire to do more than this, and as my PC systems were upgraded, was able to work at higher resolutions until I could handle poster-sized images without too much difficulty. But still I wasn’t shooting much to speak of, so the end results were little more than just stretching my photographic muscles again, so to speak.
I dragged myself out of hiding to take part in a fun photographic event hosted by the Regional Gallery, where photographers were invited to bring along a BW image and talk about it briefly; I really enjoyed that, partly because it brought me into contact with the local art community. This is what I took along:
For the ensuing year or so, I began to take my photography more seriously again, and wondered whether some of what I was doing might be suitable for any of the local galleries. Somehow, I always had difficulty with that – whether photography, mine in particular, could stand alongside works that were palpably more worthy of being called art. That’s just me. Somewhere, there was always a nagging feeling that I wasn’t an artist, that my reason for taking pictures was just to hang something on the wall that was nice to look at, without there being any greater substance, any social comment or underlying meaning to the images.
Then on that wonderful evening in November last year, I stumbled upon redbubble; seeing the tremendous wealth of talent out there seemed to be the catalyst I needed. Since then I have been gradually developing a body of work – very mixed, it has to be said – that might soon become something more than just a few images on the HDD. I might at last dare to call myself an artist. Maybe I’m too left-brain though, too concerned with technical quality, and not sufficiently able to let go and just be utterly creative, without always comparing with existing standards and references. I hope not!
A couple of weeks ago, I visited the regional gallery again, and found an exhibition that in itself I didn’t find particularly enthralling. The following part of the brief introduction to the work on display did catch my eye though:
- His figures can be easily read as archetypal images of ‘man’ giving no indication of external factors, no clues, and no contextualization, leaving viewers to contemplate the trans-historical universal human.