Bows is the first series in the Woodbridge Violins Collection to be published. The colours are dark but rich; textured yet smooth, layered, sensuous, engaging - just like the music they are meant to sing…
The town of Woodbridge, in Suffolk England, lies along the River Deben, about 8 miles from the coast. With a population of 11,000, it is not short of things to boast about, and one of its little gems, Woodbridge Violins, is right on the main square.
Woodbridge Violins restores and repairs stringed instruments, and supplies violins, violas, cellos and accessories “to suit every type of player from virtuoso to absolute beginner.”
The first time I came upon the shop it was closed, and I stood in front of the store window peering longingly at the treasures I could see inside. When I went back, Russell Stowe, the Managing Director, was kind enough to let me spend a happy afternoon wandering about, taking photographs.
The lines, shapes and patterns of the instruments, the different wood colours and grains, the textures of the tools and parts lying on the workshop table, the bows hanging perfectly aligned in rows, arranged by size.… all this was somehow joyful. Many thanks to Russell for his generosity and patience.Fine Arts, Photography2014
The Industry series images focus on large industrial estates on the lower tidal Thames River. Whether contrasted against a hazy pink sky, a solid black backdrop, or low lying clouds that scream in torment, they are fascinating for their anthropomorphic qualities, and matchless symmetry.
Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
Facts aside, what I love about these images is the sense of space, the enormity of sky, and the juxtaposition of birds in flight relative to static concrete and steel.
Having said that, if you’re interested in the facts, read on.
The bridge, completed in 1991, is a cable-stayed bridge, which, when it opened, was Europe's largest cable-supported bridge. It has an expected life span of 120 years.
The central span is 450 m (1,476 ft) long and is suspended 65 m (213 ft) above the Thames to accommodate ocean-going cruise liners. 84 metre high steel pylons are located above 53 metre high concrete piers giving the bridge a total height of 137 metres. The total length is 2,872 m (9,423 ft).
It is a toll bridge and accommodates four lanes of traffic, with daily traffic flows of 150,000 vehicles.
When built, the Queen Elizabeth II bridge was only the second bridge on the River Thames east (downstream) of London Bridge constructed in over a thousand years, and it is currently the only bridge east of Tower Bridge.
Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
There is something about diners in America that just can’t be described. You can replicate the interiors, the food and the music, but the ambiance is most true if you’re in one of the big cities - and if you’re old enough to remember what diners were like in their heyday.
The one featured in this series sits nonchalantly on a main street in downtown San Francisco. From the outside, there is nothing remarkable or distinctive about it. Inside, it is a feast of memorabilia that includes a swanky Edsel, a wall of well loved chrome hubcaps, a selection of pinball machines that scream out for your pocket change, and of course, a row of glittering red vinyl barstools.
Their hamburgers were good but not great, but the ambiance was electric, and when I played Elvis on the juke box, all I was lacking was a Marlon Brando boyfriend and a touch of red lipstick.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
Up close, these creatures are as magnificent as they are fearsome. Most photographs do not do them justice. My objective in this series was to convey a clear sense of their manner, grace and demeanour in the style of a charcoal sketch. I approached each animal from a holistic point of view, emphasizing shade and texture and stance to convey both character and beauty.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
This series offers a view of a small homestead in Iceland's challenging environment not even a hundred years ago. Seemingly unreconcilable, dramatic beauty and harsh terrain co-exist, blanketed by the omnipresent church and churchyard.Fine Arts, Photography2014
Hands at Work is an ongoing series that focuses on our hands and fingers as they act out the brain’s instructions in situations both familiar and new.
This first image, Stirring the Soup, asks us to examine the lines, shapes and textures that accompany this movement. It is an effortless activity we do without thinking, but the objective here is to create a sense not just of motion but to evoke an atmosphere of smell, taste and temperature.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
These images share a particular loneliness, conveyed in the soft duotone coloration and scratchy texture; the solitary figures whose faces cannot be seen; the shadowy, deserted streets around the casbah, and the unattended sacks of chillies and beans. And it is pervasive. From Marrakesh to Merzouga, in the villages or urban centres, there is a sadness that pulls at the edges of what Morocco aspires to be.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
Morocco: romantic, beautiful, harsh, mysterious and closed in many ways. These pictures have been selected to depict a range of everyday images, and convey my reaction to them.
Simple scenes, yet beguiling. Because Morocco keeps you at arm’s length, tantalizingly close, but always behind a veil of “unwelcome” while promising so much more.Digital Photography, Fine Arts2014
Having been salvaged from Conyer Creek at low tide, these antique glass bottles found a new home on Toby's window ledge. Here, despite raindrops forging tracks on the other side of the window, they glow with natural light, creating a charming vignette.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
Photographed on a ridge in Jökulsárlón, Iceland, the subject of Love on the Rocks walks along a rocky landscape whose profile resembles a nude woman. Having captured his progression up and down the volcanic hills, I selected these black and white images to convey a concise story, while including “Red” from the colour series (not shown here).
The colour series was nominated for a Terry O’Neill Tag Photography Award. The images evoke a very positive response, as they please the eye while the brain takes in the duality of human form and volcanic horizon.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
While not an unexpected subject, these images of a fishing village in the rain invite the viewer to engage with an offering of sumptuous colours, and deep contrasts. Nothing is silent, and nothing is still. Flags flutter in the wind, boat masts clang, and the rain pours down. Everyday life continues despite the storm, as we can see by the woman carrying her loaded wagon.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
These images capture Iceland's cool tones of winter and the pervasive, omnipresent silence of its landscape. They combine to emphasize isolation, desolation and untameable terrain. They are not meant to be “realistic” in their reflection of the landscape as most eyes see it, or as perfect as technology would allow. But they are no less honest or true, because they touch us with their gauzy beauty, three dimensional shapes and range of textures. They are simple but mysterious, and we want to engage in the experience.
Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
The images in the Cape Storm series dare the viewer to rethink the “beauty shots” of travel magazines in favour of a more zealous Nature. The elements simultaneously draw us closer till we almost feel the wet wind and heavy air, and push us away with the force of the storm and a warning not to come too close.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
The five images in this series were taken in various locations around Iceland. At the time, I did not envision this grouping, although I was very conscious of the omnipresent fog. Only when I was back in London did I conceive of a series that was related thematically, both in context and mood.
The Drama in the Fog series conveys an ethereal, impermanent calm, disturbed only by the cries of nesting birds or the low rumble of icebergs breaking up. The series was nominated for a Terry O’Neill Tag Photography Award; “Mountain” has been auctioned at Christie’s.
Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
When I was a child a man we called “Mr. Nick” took care of our garden. Originally from Eastern Europe, Mr. Nick had been a botany professor before he and his family emigrated to Canada. With very poor English and lacking the certification to continue in academia, Mr. Nick became a gardener.
These pictures, and the flowers on sayitwithalice.com are dedicated to his memory.Fine Arts, Photography2014
This series offers an alternative perspective to the traditional view of The Great Wall of China, and was created as a juxtaposition to Walking the Wall ( see the project entitled The Season of Tea).
The two groupings could not be more different. One is rich in detail and texture; the other, canvases of solid colours and apparent "smooth" surfaces. One, in close up, conveys the immediacy and experience of standing on the wall and "being there"; the other, an observation of the wall from a distance. One, showing pleasing curves and magnificent stones; the other - even from afar - makes clear the crumbling remnants of the original structure in a landscape that almost dwarfs it. And lastly, one still ripe with romance; the other, portraying an almost sterile picture of a time long, long passed, tinged with a subtle cynicism that we find value in a deteriorating remnant of history.
Both are valid, and not necessarily mutually exclusive. I leave it for the viewer to decide how they feel about the respective interpretations, and which aesthetic they prefer.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
Every year, my friend, curator/cultural consultant John Vollmer, sends a Chinese New Year card to his clients and colleagues around the world. This year, the Year of the Horse, the card was a collaboration: my image, and John's wonderful, image-rich text.
John's message below:
"For a thousand years, China’s ruling elite prized the tianma, or heavenly steeds of Central Asia. They imported these splendid animals, often with their foreign grooms and trainers, from the pasturelands of Ferghana, now Uzbekistan. Like today’s private jets, tianma celebrated the status of their owners in life. In death, sculptures and ceramic models accompanied their owners. The seventh century Taizong emperor commissioned six stone reliefs to decorate his tomb, each commemorating a favorite warhorse.
With the collapse of the Tang dynasty in the 10th century, political power passed from the military class, which had ruled the empire since its founding 1200 years earlier, to the civil bureaucracies that distinguished the courts of all succeeding dynasties.
These heavenly horses and stories about them continued to inspire artists and writers. When my friend Alice Gur-Arie asked to contribute the horse for this greeting, China’s heavenly horses again challenged an artist to seek the essence of speed and grace.
People born under the sign of the horse are said to embody strongly marked contradictions in character: wanting to belong, but needing independence; arrogance, but surprising modesty in demeanor; self confident, yet likely to lose interest.
In some ways we are all like horses. We all need patience in negotiating our contradictions, steadfastness when we are right, and a need to fly from time to time."Art Direction, Digital Photography, Fine Arts2014
'scapes 360 is a series of images that have been culled from their respective “Welcome to” series (with a few exceptions); the pieces currently showing on this website are only a small sample of the entire collection.
While the “Welcome to…” series are intended to give the viewer a broader appreciation of how I have interpreted my experience in one city or country, the 360 collection provides a rich synopsis of a roadmap that is still in play.
The topics, tones, and creative approaches are intentionally varied, and very much dependent upon the mood, subject matter and coloration of the original photograph. Sometimes it's as if the image “allows” me to interpret it in certain ways - and I am surprised by the outcome. This part of the creative process is mysterious and magical, and I delight in the exploration that takes me into the unknown each and every time.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2013
These pictures were taken at the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey, where I spent a day shooting 8 different kinds of owls in the British woodlands. Some of the birds were flown, but most of the birds were perched in their preferred locations – tree branches, small rock-bound hollows, and barns. In this case, the owl was placed on the ground, where it likes to rest.
As you can see, resting does not mean silence. The owl did not stop squawking the entire time I was shooting; a loud, raucous and incessant sound whose meaning was unclear to me, although it was not distressed, endangered or hurt.
I took well over a hundred photographs of this bird in all positions, using a variety of lenses, and from various angles. Three features stood out in my review of the pictures: the purity of the bird’s white feathers, its open beak, and its amazing eyes - huge, round and bright - staring confidently out at the world, and sometimes directly at me.
I knew that these three elements could be enhanced in post production to create a creature that appeared to have a very strong and very distinct personality. Anthropomorphism – with an owl as the subject!
To begin, I selected an image of the whole, clearly defined bird, standing still, beak closed, to provide immediate context. I chose one extreme close-up to showcase the focused, exacting stare of its enormous clear eyes, and another with its beak open to conjure up its voice. The three remaining images depict the bird in various stances, its pure white plumage in contrast to its surrounding, calling defiantly.
These images reflect my creative approach and philosophy; I seek to interpret what I see in new and compelling ways, rather than simply try to “capture” and accurately recreate what I have photographed. I believe that what emerges from these images is sensual and engaging. The series has created an encounter that draws us in, gives us the opportunity to speculate on what the owl is feeling, thinking and trying to communicate, and then allows us to imbue the experience with our own meaning.
I see these expressive and imposing images produced in large scale. While they could be hung individually, they work most effectively as a series.
Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography, Birds2013
My work lives in the sweet spot where fine art and photography converge, and the series Rainbows Make Me Smile is perhaps the most emphatic evidence of this to date.
The double rainbows in this series are images taken after sailing through a storm near the town of Whitstable. I have seen double rainbows before, but I have never seen a single arc so vivid, so large and a full 180 degrees. And of course, taking the photographs from a 33’ boat while underway through a storm, also contributed to making the sighting remarkable.
In this series I wanted to share the visual impact and experience of the rainbow, the storm and the water: the strong curves, the incredible hues and luminescence of the colours, the changing weather, the impermanence of the natural event, the angles of movement on the water.
What matters is the viewer’s immediate and intuitive response to the rich colours and the way they are formed over the canvas. If the viewer can imagine a rainbow in this fantastical expression of Nature, does it matter that the artist manipulated the image digitally rather than create it with paint and paintbrush? The truth remains: the images are rainbows, and I hope you will take pleasure in the abstraction of the photograph notwithstanding that it has been “digitally remastered.”
Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2013