DOWN TO EARTH

As a successful graduate of Edinburgh's Napier University, and in an effort to inspire current graduates, I was invited to show four pieces of work as part of the 2012 BA Photographic Studies degree show.

The process of selecting four images from my extensive and varied body of work proved an informative exercise, for I began to unravel and make sense of the range of subjects that have engaged me since I first picked up a camera at the age of 11. I always have, and still do, work rather intuitively, tending to be drawn to a subject by some idea of how it will look when photographed. This has ultimately led me to tackle a wide range of subjects from delicate studio still life, to dynamic action photography out on locations all over the world. 

Each genre requires a different set of skills, way of seeing, and mindset - on location I can be looking for that spontaneous and harmonious 1/60 of a second, and in the studio I will be meticulously crafting a still life over a number of hours, sometimes longer - leaving the set in place, returning to rework and refine over a period of days, this can be meditative and therapeutic, whereas the action photography tends to be a slightly more chaotic proposition. You could say we have control, and controlled randomness, either way, photography can cajole, caress and bring a sense of coherence to both, and that is the art of photography.

Sailing, Singapore, 1996
This dramatic image formed part of a self-promotional piece and resulted in several commissions from many leading outdoor clothing companies, most notably Berghaus and Sprayway.
Ice-climber, Norway, 1997
Commissioned by Sprayway Outdoor clothing, this image of the great Norwegian ice champion Andreas Haslestead won the Observer Outdoor Photographer of the Year.
Conwy (man and dogs) 2006
A realisation of the quality, and creative possibilities, of digital technology.
Where My Plant Pot Was (aka Finding Higgs Boson), June 2009

This photograph shows the marks left behind after moving a plant pot.

The image describes the effects of gravity; the circle created by the weight of the pot, the spinning motion that created the pot, and the random dispersion of particles as they hit the ground.

Visually this image could be seen as sub-atomic particles orbiting a nucleus, or at the other end of the scale a planetary system caught in space.

Reader in Photography, Robin Gillanders commented:
"the very mundane action of moving a plant pot has been related to the complex theorem of 'Higgs Boson'. The addition of the title lifts the picture conceptually from simply a formal composition to another level altogether. It is a photograph of marks left behind after moving a plant pot, but it is about the action of gravity".

Taking a step back and looking for a common thread that links these images together, one can see, or sense, the effects of gravity; the tension in the sailing boat on the verge of capsize, the ice-climber hacking out of the crevasse, the leap of the dog,the ripples and tidal effects of the sea on the beach, and finally, the intrigue and narrative created by the simple act of lifting and moving a plant pot. The title Down to Earth refers to this sense of gravity, but also hints at a return to Napier where I studied.

Related Galleries:
Microscopic to Astronomic
Space Exploration


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