23 Oct Low Wood
The Clocktower is designed to support fine art practice in film, wet plate collodion and platinum and silver printing, as well as provide a forum for discussion, discovery and exchange of ideas; a place to show and talk about photography.
The Clocktower boast Britains finest roster of photographic tutors:
Professor John Blakemore
Professor Paul Hill MBE
Paul Gallagher, Epson Masterprinter
Kerik Kouklis, Alternative processes genius
Andrew Sanderson, llford Masterprinter
Timothy Soar, large format architecture specialist
These images are made as illustrations to thought, sketches developing a narrative. I am learning the ground, I walk with a pocket camera and record events in light, tone, texture. The world I am seeking to describe is infinitely more complex than the more mechanical and ultimately prosaic world of man made things. Finding the code to unlock a forest is so much harder than appreciating the golden section discovered in an abstract arrangement or teasing out the rhythm established in a facade. Nature’s fractal strategy is rarely as straightforward to discuss as a photographers two dimensional analysis of firmitas, utilitas, and venustas.
Here is a simple enquiry, a sequence of questions. Motivated by a desire to understand ( or at least make a better relationship ) with something apparently infinite, a seemingly unending generation of life, the all encompassing Biogeophysical processes of which we are a part. These images examine a portion of our habitat, our cocoon, the rich, special and vital force of life, crammed into every layer and spread across every surface of our world. The photographs seek to resolve the complexity of translations vividly shaping and reshaping our environment, the mediations between mineral and biological, between micro and macro, to see how the infinitely smallest thing radiates out, magnifying and displacing, transforming and interlocking, establishing and creating, making new effortlessly variable form.
Beneath the wild, the verdant, the lush, the pervasive organic colour lies the birthplace of the England’s Industrial Revolution. Here are the quarries, the canals, the coppice wood, the forges, the packing houses, horse tramways, the allotments, fisheries, pens and fields of the first forge masters. The men who worked this land went on to build a new iron world and so invented this, our most recent, language and idea of being human. The site they worked, outgrew and then abandoned has returned to nature, unsupervised and ignored the land has become the first, true, post industrial landscape. The topography suggests old bridle paths, small holdings, remains of activity and industry. You learn to read the curious and unnatural inflections in a hillside, or notice a long low organisation of rough hewed cobbles, dimly perceive the awkward angular twist of a iron casting. All is now green and flourishing, the sharp profiled edges of man’s hammer blows deflected and concealed. These are the first stages in a Daguerreian Diorama, the soft and subtle changes as the earth subsumes Issac Wilkinson’s corrupt and mendacious efforts, nature’s embrace transforming the sneer of cold command.
Fascinating, intriguing, poignant and especially pertinent, there is much to be seen, discovered, re-discovered and learnt here in this pocket of astonishing haphazard accident and chance.
These images can be considered as exploration of the restless struggle of life on our planet, our part in a much larger equation, our relationship to a set of biological, geographical and climatic drivers that will persist irrespective of our brutal ignorance. The themes engaged with here are the 21st century equivalent of a evangelical renaissance religious altarpiece. Here the quality of our relationship with nature is the subject, the presence of the divine giver of life in the passage between light and darkness, in the celebration of new form in decay, the precious boundary where hope springs inbetween existence and oblivion. In our new post Darwinian theatre of humanity there can be no risen Christ beyond the proscenium arch of the canopy, here there is only life, or death.