Losing things is about the familiar falling away.
Getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing.
Rebecca Solnit ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’ 2005
‘This question of whether something is fact or fiction
is a reduction of the bookends with which we live our lives’
(Walid Raad 106 Infinity Award)
My visual documentary work explores interlinkages and overlaps between the ‘bookends’ of my personal responses to places and events and a more political ‘voice’ and activist approach to social and environmental documentary. Focusing on particular places and times, the projects explore the multiple layers and perspectives of subjective experience and the creative process of selection and framing particular aspects of reality from the continual flow and combination of realities seen, heard, read and researched.
Image-making is a necessary part of my own process of making sense of life in our sometimes beautiful, but often insane world. In my ‘parallel life’ as global consultant in participatory development in Africa, Asia and Latin America I meet many wonderful, inspiring people. I see stunningly beautiful scenery – human rural and urban landscapes as well as ‘wild natural’ remote environments. I also see many shocking examples of violence, exploitation, environmental degradation, waste and powerlessness. The more I travel, the more questions I bring back about life at home – where are our ‘developed’ lives trying to get to, why and at what cost? My image-making is a way of working through the darker side to come out the other end and ‘look on the bright side of life’.
I work in a range of still and moving image formats in a range of media combining photography, drawing/painting, printmaking and digital media. Some of my work is experimental, exploring different media and effects in response to a wide range of briefs.
Alongside my own artistic practice I support processes for collaborative art, photography, video and web communications as part of peoples’ own documentation of their lives.
Underpinning all my work is an interest in narrative and interlinkages, complementarities and conflicts between ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ perspectives, and how to navigate the inevitably infinite range of creative possibilities to create images and narratives that can in some ethical sense ‘make our world a better place’ and reach people who do not have the resources and privilege to buy ‘quality work’.
This blog focuses on ‘Tales from the Edge’ a series of visual documentary projects exploring representations of time and place in different media using material from peri-urban, river and coastal ‘edgelands’. These were developed for the final ‘Sustaining Your Practice’ module for an on-line Visual Communications BA degree with Open College of the Arts.