Documenting Britain


For Documenting Britain, my work will centre around photographing areas of Scotland that could be categorized as Edgelands, where the urban sprawl meets nature. Visual inspiration comes from The New Topographics; my work is concerned with geometric shapes, formal composition and employs minimal or no post-processing.

Where Are We? An Introduction.

Wincobank from a series on Le Tour de France in Yorkshire, 2014.

Wincobank from a series on Le Tour de France in Yorkshire, 2014.

During a recent portfolio review, I remarked that it’s sometimes important to step away from photography – or at least the act of raising the camera to your eye – in order to gain a degree of perspective. Personal work can be a consuming thing; it flits into waking dreams with the offer of different avenues to follow, sows seeds of doubt in fields you had thought neatly plowed. For work that spans longer periods of time or that has a rigid methodological approach, it can even be somewhat of a curse, fuelling the desire for completion, or at least a sense of achievement. We cannot hope to photograph but a tiny percentage of what our eye sees, but as a photographer we are charged with recording our view of the world as faithfully as we see fit. In what context, then, does the modern photograph – that of the 21st century, with its infinite malleability – exist, and where is the photographer in this process?

Every photograph is a trick, a deception of some sort. And, by proxy, the photographer is the conjurer. It’s with this delicate relationship that my own work wrestles. In what I choose to fill the frame, and whenever I choose to press the shutter, I should seek to question my motivation for doing so, even in that tenth, hundredth or even thousandth of a second. On occasion, this process is muddled, often by environment, but more appropriately in how I wish to shape my own way of viewing the world. You will fall out of love with the photograph and its failings.

Sometimes, however, it is crystalline and unforgettable, it sets the stomach aflutter. Henri C-B and his oft-quoted moment is channeled and you get your image. Sometimes it will pass so quickly you couldn’t ever hope to capture it. This is why setting down the camera is important. Your lament for that lost moment will be swiftly replaced by another, sharper emotion. You will get another shot.

This is an excerpt from “Where are We? The Photograph in the 21st Century,” to be produced in 2015.