BRISTOL THROUGH THE LENS
framed exhibition inkjet prints on 250gsm Somerset paper
unmounted inkjet prints to order on 190gsm Epson archival matte paper
shot on a Nikon D50
So integral to the beauty of photography is the landscape genre and the associated conventions of the viewpoint. Tourist vistas in particular draw on a rich Romantic tradition of image-making, especially in the English picturesque, where the evocation of nature and man’s control over it continues to lend itself to photography’s preoccupation with windows on the world. In this series, I turned my attention to my home landscape, Bristol, where I was born and lived for over 20 years. The manmade and geographical features had become, over time, part of my inner landscape, an accrual of stone glimpses in sunshine and rain, of sought-out seasons and tidal transformation through lived-in habitual travel and faith-filled looking.
I found inspiration in the work of pinhole photographer Justin Quinnell, the tiltshift views by Andy Clifford, and the spherical and contact-sheet collages of Ed Hill and Thomas Kellner respectively, all of whom feature in my book Bristol Through the Lens (Tangent Books, 2011). Like them, I explore a deepened perception and kaleidoscopic way of seeing, finding the changing physical environment to be synchronous with my own dynamic experience. My responses to architecture in particular, such as the commissioned New Room Four Ways and Lighting up the Landscape, develop a Hockney-esque cubism, treating linear forms in an expanded, refracted way. For Hockney, this was an explicitly theological reframing of human perspective within reflexive and infinite variation, which I was keen to evoke.
Bristol Through the Lens was first shown at the inaugural Bristol Festival of Photography in 2010, at The Photo Gallery, Bristol. The work also featured in the city’s celebration of the European Year for Combating Poverty & Social Exclusion, in an installation of tents by the Pierian Centre on College Green, 2010.
Prints from the series have since been shown at St George’s Bristol, the Royal West of England Academy, John Wesley’s New Room (Bristol), Gallery 2C (Bristol), View Art Gallery (Bristol), and Chippenham Museum. From 2011-2021, the series was represented online by The Bristol Shop, and first editions have been gifted to the University of Bristol, Destination Bristol, the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, Christ Church Clifton, The New Room, and the Arnolfini.