An evolving eye

March 07, 2012

I recently had cause to open up some old boxes of prints, dating back fifteen or sixteen years to when I first started taking photographs. The themes were predictable enough, considering my art school context: mental hospitals, ambulances, the kitsch desperation of Lourdes.

What I found particularly interesting about these images, spread across the sitting room floor, was how differently I’d remembered them. I’d got it into my head that they were some of my better work, that my eye had dulled over the years.

A few things stood out:

– It turns out I’ve become a bit more subtle in my choice of subject as the years have rolled on. A relief for all!

– Technically I’m much better. Some of those old prints are filthy from dust-marked negatives, and I wonder now how I ever considered them acceptable.

– My work feels a little more substantial nowadays – I try to think a bit more about what I’m doing, consider whether images might gather into groups, think about context and underlying themes and I try not to work in so much of a vacuum.

It’s an interesting moment to be reflecting, as it seems that things are moving on for me photographically in a way they hadn’t in years. I think I’m a slow developer (if you’ll pardon the pun). I’ve recently started a business, and was surprised by how many people assumed it would have a photographic bent. It doesn’t, as it happens, as I seem to remain as resolutely noncommercial in my focus as ever, choosing instead to hunt down those still, quiet moments half-hidden from view.

Sometimes it takes a backward glance to be able to move forwards. I wonder what I might say in another fifteen or sixteen years – I’ll be fifty by then so it’s as good a milestone as any.

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One Response to “An evolving eye”

  1. Hey,
    Like your current “hunting down those still, quiet moments half-hidden from life” focus right now. Connecting with the still is a challenge in itself. It seems as though the majority is full speed ahead mode in life and a lesser minority, with nature included, opt for the calm. New faces emerge, new sounds, a fresh perspective of viewing life from one’s settled internal structure rather than a frantic head spinning with noise and influences. Cool! Was just a message to connect. You sound as though you have found, or are finding, a great space! Keep me posted once in a while. Our new site is, slowly, calmly, one step after the next, being brought to light, together with some great work outside of virtual reality. Love it!
    Kind regards

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