My latest exhibition, ‘Art Trek’, at St Annes Chapel in Barnstaple (with Monika Grand) is made up of two brand new pictures from this year (2016), three pictures from a few years ago which have not made it to the printing stage before, one image re-made from the original frames, another three made for the Sock Gallery in Loughborough last October and not shown before in Devon; plus some additional oldies and goldies.
The brand new 2016 images are from Bossiney, or Benoath Cove, in North Cornwall. It’s a place I’ve known for a few years but have really grown to love this year. The beach there is only accessible on a really low tide and even a spring low tide only gave me a couple of hours to explore the amazing caves.
The two caves at high tide are from Combe Martin, accessed via my kayak just as the tide had turned to go back out. The original photographs were shot in 2014 but my computer memory wasn’t large enough at the time to enable the full realisation of the works. This year I upgraded to 64Gb of RAM and so I have at last been able to blend the crashing waves successfully.
Another picture which proved impossible at the time of taking was the Cave at Menachurch Point, which was made up from such a huge number of images that I again had to abandon it until this year. This picture has been described as ‘tomb-like’ by one of the exhibition visitors. It’s right-hand cave wall, vertical, flat and ridged, is a great example of the original sea-bed of this contorted sandstone strata.
The Mouse Hole, has been totally re-made for this exhibition. Although it is an extreemly popular image I have often been troubled by the saturation and unworldliness of my original finished piece shown small here. This remake, literally taking the original RAW files and re-processing them in Photoshop and Lightroom, them re-stitching has given me something far closer to the original memory of the cave at Mousehole.
I’ve been inspired recently seeing new images initiated by the Curiosity rover and beamed back from Mars.
It’s so interesting that the cutting edge of exploration is a camera 36 million miles away, programmed to automatically take photographs, in much the same way as I shoot the interior of a cave on the coast of North Devon, England, Earth. Below is a self portrait done in the same way, a 55-frame sequence that captured everything the technicians back on earth needed to make the image; a combination of those frames, again much like I do with my own photographs.
I had considered the concept of exploration and documentation a somewhat Victorian occupation with little in common with the contemporary issue based arts practice of today. But these images give me solace as some of the places I find to photograph can certainly feel very remote, unseen by human eyes and unexplored.
It ought to be noted that these amazing photographs where originally sent back to earth in monotone and a technician has patiently sat at a computer and added the colour, in interpretation of what we might see on Mars. I’m certain, once Curiosity eventually returns to Earth, it will hold samples of the rock and sand photographed and an accurate colour picture will be made. The rover will also possibly bring back high resolution colour images; now wouldn’t that be something!