« The reality in which we live is invisible, so we have to be satisfied
with what we see » Michelangelo Antonioni.
In 1826, the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, took the first photograph: « Point de vue du Gras » (View from the Window at Le Gras) his home in Burgundy, the oldest known surviving photograph; a heliograph requiring an eight-hour exposure, which changed the very nature of how we observe and remember our world. Since then the photographic image has challenged the written word in recording and sharing the significant events in our lives. We present ourselves and our experiences as we wish them to be remembered, without revealing everything about ourselves; places, people and times which will ultimately pass beyond living memory.
The images and series here came about for different reasons. Some are autobiographical, a few are more like visual journals or records, others need little explanation or have an enigmatic quality that only I recognise. However, the thoughts of two great photographers come close to offering a broad rationale which I relate to: 'I'm interested in what any present time will look like as the past' (Walker Evans) and 'There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described' (Gary Winogrand).
It has been said of Winogrand that the world only existed after he had photographed it. Perhaps he was trying to establish psychological order in a compromised and very complicated world, a compulsion I can understand when memory and what is real or true are not always what they seem. As photographs are always about the past, time and distance, more accurately memory, unreliable and often veiled, are important; often, it's only after the unconscious span between then and now, that I find an affinity, real or wishful, or some form of certainty in an image. The images may not suggest any narratives or interpretations, but the text on the Home Page by Kapka Kassabova (The Border) may help to make sense of some of them.
I was born on the Southside of Glasgow and now live in the English Lake District, but home will always be the Isle of South Uist in The Outer Hebrides. I studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1968 until 1973. In the summer of 1970, I was fortunate to assist Joseph Beuys, Gerhardt Richter and others during the 1970 ground-breaking Edinburgh International Festival Exhibition Strategy Get Arts : Contemporary Art from Dusseldorf. From 1973 I practised as an art editor / book designer, advertising art director and graphic designer, collaborating with many talented creative people and interesting clients. (Including three projects with Eve Arnold, the first woman member of Magnum Photos.) In 1999 I began to teach at Coventry School of Art, eventually as the Course Director for the International Masters course in Graphic Design.
British Open Polaroid : The Spectro Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1983)
Time Place Presence : Lanchester Gallery, Coventry University (2004)
The Tides Obey The Moon : Lanchester Gallery, Coventry University (2004)
Ghost Ships : The Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry (2005) Group
No-fly Zone : The Lewis Gallery, Rugby (2012)
That Golden Stain of Time : Severn Studio, Brantwood, Coniston (2014)
Study The Past Define The Future : The Lewis Gallery, Rugby (2014)
That Golden Stain of Time : Open Uo North, The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal (2014)
Time Place Presence : Exhibition Catalogue, Coventry University (2004)
Paul Strand, Tìr a'Mhurain : Studies in Photography. Scottish Society for the History of Photography (2018)