My approach to my practice has changed since my pathway work. Previously, I always thought about creating my images in a studio setting, so that I had complete control over every element, but now I feel I am breaking out of my ‘studio rut’. I have started to explore the greater outside world. I will start to work with natural light, as opposed to just tungsten. I think at first, I will temper sunlight with my own flashguns and my ring flash, and work with the results from that. By doing this, I will gain a great control of natural light, whilst also refusing to submit to the tyranny and complexities of pure sunshine. I have been quite tactical in way, in leaving this experimentation until now, in these spring months, the sun is a much more prominent force than it was in the dark dank winter.
At the beginning, I was certain that a photograph was the opposite of reality. I still firmly believe this. A photograph is a fantasy caught on paper, a daydream made real. When we look at photographs, we don’t see a real time or place, we see the ideas of them. I could hand you a photograph of a brick wall and tell you that it was Paris, and you would be none the wiser. Photographers do not exist, we are all failed painters.
I would describe my main are of practice as not necessarily photography, but IMAGE CREATION. Whilst photography is my preferred medium, I would not necessarily view my work as ‘photographs’. My work is in creating images, creating stories, creating drama through the use of models, costume, lighting, make up and styling in the ‘real world’. In some ways, I could view my work as installation deviance.
Next year, I will be attending Westminster School of Art, studying Photographic Arts. On this course, I hope to explore perhaps working with video, which seems to be a natural progression for me. In the future, I hope to go into fashion, either as a photographer, or perhaps as an artistic or creative director. In terms of this project, I’ll start on more of a directorial role as well as being the photographer by using others as make up artists, and being assistants and generally having more of a team.
The work I propose to do is fairly formal and regulated. I hope to produce a book printed by American company blurb.com, which will feature a collection of images, all building on ideas relating to renaissance and early baroque art and religious iconography. As a child, I had a lot of exposure to Italian art and churches and architecture, and I hope to take all those experiences and admiration and train it into a well thought out, well-organised, well-styled photographic approach.
Certain figures in art have always stood out to me, especially Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Titian’s depictions of Angels. The Madonna has always held an exquisite fascination for me, for in an artistic world dominated by male artists and male figures, playing in very male religious contexts, she stands pretty much alone as a strong female icon. The only other woman of note in the Bible was the whore, Mary Magdalene. Magdalene was weak however, she succumbed easily to the tyranny of men, prostrating herself before Jesus and drying his feet with her hair. You would never see the Madonna depicted in such a demeaning position, she bowed to no man.
Other figures have spoken loudly to me, such as depictions of the Devil and Hell, particularly those by Hieronymus Bosch. I found the intricacies in these images very exciting and would sit in front of them for hours, drinking in all the individual tortures befalling the doomed and sinning mortals he depicted. St Sebastian was a seminal figure in my artistic education. The Bellini portrayals were particularly beautiful, as was the Derek Jarman film Sebastiane. I remember seeing two marble statues of Adam and Eve covered in ivy in Rome, possibly by Rodin, which has always been my first impression of the iconic pair. Jacob wrestling the Angel and the fight between Cain and Abel lend a sadomasochistic erotic air, which I fully intend to explore.
Amongst these crafted studio depictions of art, I intend to also work in perhaps more lucid ways, using perhaps some manual work, some illustrative ink pictures and perhaps some combinations of ink and photographs. I also intend to challenge myself by perhaps doing some experimental casting, perhaps working partially against my initial instincts. I will not just focus on my preferred subjects of muscular young men, but expand my subjects to include people of a certain physical maturity, or of generous or Rubeun-esque stature, or even using infants. Here. The challenge for me would be to photograph these non-traditional models in the same style as my usuals, creating a coherent, flowing body of work.
I enjoy life drawing, so I will perhaps branch out and take it up again so that I can work it into my perhaps more abstract inky experiments. I think in the final piece, this would be an interesting contrasting mixture of expressive work and planned photographs. However, there could be a lack of coherence, which I intend to combat by making both the styling and lighting perhaps expressive and experimental, like my experimental illustration.
I intend to take great reflection on my work as I go along. I intend to leave about a week between shooting pictures and editing them. I intend to structure my weeks in an organised fashion, with days set aside for writing, life drawing, ink work, planning and shooting. I hope to get one or two shoots done a week, perhaps more during the Easter holidays, and have my book commissioned well before the hand in date. My weeks will be busy, but highly achievable if I apply myself to my work. I know I can produce an interesting and thought-provoking piece, and I look forward to the upcoming trials, tribulations and triumphs of the coming months.