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
The Season of Tea is a selection of images from an all too brief stay in China. Three series from the collection are included here: Fishing Village in the Rain, The Harbour, and Walking the Wall. While not unexpected subjects, these images want to engage the viewer with sumptuous colours, deep contrasts, sensual shapes, and textures that range from matt skies to prickly foliage to crumbling stone and moisture drenched air. Nothing is silent, and nothing is still. Flags flutter in the storm and boat masts clang in the wind; Hong Kong breathes even as it sleeps; and footsteps of past armies echo, even though the Great Wall shows no human life.
Other series posted from this collection include Tea Over China, featuring images taken from the air, and There Are No Ghosts, an interpretation of the Great Wall in stark contrast to the romantic depiction with which we are most familiar.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
Taken from the air, these images offer a stunning perspective of China’s topography, and reaffirm the simple truth from which we cannot escape: the most wondrous art is found on the canvas we call Earth.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
Morocco: romantic, beautiful, harsh, mysterious and closed in many ways. These pictures have been selected to depict a range of everyday images - a woman cleaning house, hides drying in the sun, the souk, the coastal city of Essouria on a stormy day - and convey my emotional response 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 Art, Digital Photography, Fine Arts2014
These portraits are of two women who I have known all my life: one, my aunt, the other I was privileged to call “aunt”. Captured spontaneously, these pictures reveal a truth about each of them.
"Study" portrays a sophisticated woman in an unclear setting; we cannot deduce her age or her circumtance. We see that she obviously has taken great care with her appearance, but is turned away from us to study the picture on the wall. Is this because she is truly examining the painting, or because she does not want us to see her face? Her stance is poised yet unaffected, and seems neither posed nor self conscious; she could be sitting in a coffee house in any European city. There is an quiet confidence about her, and we want to know more. If only she would turn around...
"Reviewing the Bill" depicts a very different personality. Perfectly coiffed, this lady is completely absorbed in the activity of paying for dinner, and the quizzical look on her face suggests that something is amiss. But it also suggests something more, which is discernable, but not defined. So we study her expression, not knowing whether in the next minute she will smile, having solved the problem, or shake her head in dismay as she calls for the waiter.
Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2014
I visited Iceland for 9 days in March 2012, the result of which is a significant body of work known as The Iceland Trilogy. The first part, Iceland, Unsmiling Beauty, was exhibited in November 2012. Two series from that collection were nominated for a Terry O’Neill Tag Photography Award, and two images auctioned at Christie's.
A second exhibition, which included images from The Circle Route collection, was exhibited in the Embassy of Iceland in London from 12 June – 31 August 2013. There are four series of works that comprise Iceland, Unsmiling Beauty; they are briefly explained below.
The images in Cape Storm 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.
The Drama in the Fog series shares the intensity of Cape Storm, but as an ethereal, impermanent calm, disturbed only by the cries of nesting birds or the low rumble of icebergs breaking up. The five images in this series (2 not shown) 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.
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 explored a variety of exposures, de-saturating the colours, and then reintroducing them in solid colour blocks. The result is a range of images that please the eye while the brain takes in the duality of human form and volcanic horizon.
Only the largest image from the Continental Divide series is shown here. Shot at the mid Atlantic Ridge where two tectonic plates under Europe and America meet, Continental Divide explores a single location from 6 different perspectives. The combination of solid colours and line art is bold and confident – in contrast to the bridge, which does not at all seem secure or capable of supporting more than a child’s weight.
I have included here two images from Rhapsody in Blue, a series completed at the time Love on the Rocks was produced, but not shown in the exhibition.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2013
'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
I visited Iceland for 9 days in March 2012, the result of which is a significant body of work known as The Iceland Trilogy. The first part, Iceland, Unsmiling Beauty, was exhibited in November 2012. Two series from that collection were nominated for a Terry O’Neill Tag Photography Award. A second exhibition, which included images from The Circle Route collection, was exhibited in the Embassy of Iceland in London from 12 June – 31 August 2013.
What Iceland offers an artist, whether photographer, painter, sculptor or writer, is a captivating backdrop that encourages exploration and defies definition. Unless you have inexplicably arrived in this country unprepared and unsuspecting of what it has to offer, you cannot leave unchanged or unfulfilled – or, if you’re an artist, lacking an abundance of fertile material.
My work sits in the “sweet spot” where photography and fine art converge. This enables me to express my interpretation of Iceland in a broad range of differing styles and technical approaches. The Trilogy strives to capture the sensory experience of Iceland. Across the Trilogy you will find cold tones, emphasizing isolation; rich, solid colours - communicating adventure and drama; dreamy pastels – conveying the sweet air and unrivaled light; and opulent neons – occasionally used to reflect the pervasive and resilient sense of life.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2013
Magician, sorcerer, wizard, enchanter, illusionist…call him what you will. Merlin’s ability to transform the world as we know it is my inspiration, and the result of his efforts, the heart of my vision.
Shadowy, mysterious, silently alive and potentially dangerous, Merlin’s Forest draws upon long established symbolism of “forest”, but goes beyond the psychological, to tap aesthetic sensibilities; it is sensuous, and eerily beautiful. And so we are drawn in to explore its beguiling features, and stand holding-our-breath still as its flora and fauna play out their lives in front of us – and, we sense, under Merlin’s watchful eyes.
I am not a historian, and in making this exhibition I did not seek to tell, embellish or explore the legend. I wanted to visually interpret the natural world in a fresh, new and distinctive manner. The concept of Merlin enabled me to do so unfettered.
The pictures are based on photographs I took in Portugal, America, England and Hong Kong. And, while the images have been digitally manipulated, the first requirement was to ensure the photographed image was true to my artistic goal. I wanted the result to challenge creative predispositions, and evoke a viewer response that comes from the head as well as the heart.
There are no humans in this forest; indeed, if we suspend disbelief we are not even sure that the creatures we see are true to the form our eyes take in. (The titles of the pictures add to this effect.) But the air is sweet, and if we dare, the forest will provide a delightfully sensuous experience of colour, shape, texture and imagined sound.Digital Photography, Fine Arts, Photography2013
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