Honourable Mention for Paul Biddle’s Cabinet of Curiosity in International Photography Awards 2017

I’m extremely pleased to announce my series Cabinet of Curiosity has received an Honourable Mention in the International Photography Awards 2017


Here are some of the images

You can see more of the Cabinet of Curiosity series here


Ruth Millington Review of Paul Biddle : Rearranging Reality Exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

I am so pleased to share this review by Ruth Millington of Paul Biddle: ‘Rearranging Reality’Exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham until 21st October 2017
22nd September 2017 Ruthart, Birmingham, contemporary art, exhibitions, photography

The Languid Lady Lepidoptera

Argentea Gallery’s latest exhibition latest exhibition is a cabinet of curiosities. Automata, dolls, swan sisters and hybrid creatures invite the viewer into the entrancing and mythical world of Paul Biddle’s surrealist photographs.

Paul Biddle is an award-winning English fine art photographer, whose playful images are defined by illogical combinations and absurd scenes. It is this disregard for the rational which shows the influence of the 20th century art movement Dadaism. Rejecting the Western emphasis on logic and reason, Dada artists created work that was anti-idealistic, challenging conventional notions of ‘high art’. Like Duchamp, famous for his ‘readymades’, Paul Biddle takes inspiration from found objects, such as a curled shell or a collection of moths, which he stages and assembles before photographing them in his studio.


“I am at my happiest when making an image, the moment it begins to work, the objects within the picture start to breathe and communicate with each other – it is their interaction within the mind of the viewer that makes the picture possible” – Paul Biddle
There is a dreamlike quality to his series  ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ which also shows the influence of Surrealism on Biddle’s practice. Another 20th century art movement, Surrealism was bound up with the psychoanalytical theories of Sigmund Freud relating to the irrational and instinctual drives of the unconscious. Paul Biddle’s clever and whimsical compositions show an artist delving into the realm of the subconscious. By releasing the unrestrained imagination his collaged images tear the familiar world apart, permitting it to be created afresh.

“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.” ― André Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism
Many of the works within Cabinet of Curiosity feature mythologised, metamorphosed figures. A woman, in a flowing lace gown, has a butterfly head, a family of three have webbed feet. These photographs ask you to look closely, and find the unexpected in intricate details, such as a child’s arms turning into the neck of a white swan or her feet splayed out in the shape of starfish. These storybook characters are accompanied by those in Biddle’s series Out of the Obscure which is displayed downstairs, and defined by jet black ravons and bright red apples. There is a classic fairy tale feel to these tableaux of creatures and items but the narratives are left open to the viewer’s imagination and emotions.

Handy Island

Downstairs in the gallery is another series, Fantasy Islands . These striking black and white photographs evoke Giorgio de Chirico’s classical scenes, with statues from antiquity floating in mesmerising, rippling waters. These works play with perspective– tiny windmills, trees, figures and lighthouses balance on large hands, which appear like islands in the sea. he also plays with focus: some objects are clear, whilst others are more obscure, slightly out of focus, much as we find the entities which make up our memory.

What is most uncanny about the exhibition is the difference in tone between, and even within, images, quickly moving between playful and serene to unnerving. Masked figures comprising both human and animal forms, fantasy islands constructed from corporeal dismemberment and dark enclaves used as a metaphor for the imagination, convey the enchantment and mystery of dreams that is universal.

Paul Biddle has reimagined photography to create a captivating reality, which has been rearranged, and left for the viewer to interpret.

The exhibition will run from 21st September – 21st October 2017 at Argentea Gallery, which is based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.

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Paul Biddle : Rearranging Reality solo Exhibition 21st September – 21st October 2017

I am very pleased to announce I have a solo exhibition called Rearranging Reality at Argentea Gallery, 28 St. Paul’s Square, Birmingham, B3 1RB
It runs from 21st September – 21st October 2017
There will be images from my series Cabinet of Curiosity, Fantasy Islands and Out of the Obscure.


Here are some of the images that will be on show

From Paul Biddle’s Portfolio Cabinet of Curiosity


surreal swan sisters
The Swan Sisters


mama cocha Inca godess
The Marriage of Mama Cocha

There will also be images from my series The Archipelago of Fantasy Islands


surreal depictions of Islands by Paul Biddle Artist
Nose Island


Handy Island


surreal monochrome image of Luminous Lint
The Luminous Isle of Lint


There will also be images from my series Out of the Obscure



Mr and Mrs Jackdaw Haws


Crow Red Berry

Paul Biddle Exhibition: Dead on Arrival – Sat 23 Sep 2017 – Sun 05 Nov 2017

I’m very pleased to announce I am taking part in the Group Exhibition Dead on Arrival – the curious world of human and animal craft – Sat 23 Sep 2017 -Sun 05 Nov 2017

Main Gallery, Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, Devon TQ13 9AF


I shall be showing 7 images from my Cabinet of Curiosity series


An exhibition of national and international artists/makers whose practice involves the use of ethically-sourced, human or animal remains. The work will show a depth of practice and will feature works of jewellery, sculpture, textiles, taxidermy and photography.

surreal,cabinet of curiosity showing the Moth Tree and Distillation and The Camel Bird
Triptych framed in renaissance type frames of the Moth Tree, Distillation and the Camel Bird


surreal cabinet of curiosity with birds legs
Travelling Cabinet of Curiosity


The Languid Lady Lepidoptera


The Deception of Turnips

The Deception of Turnips is a new image in my ongoing series The Paranoia of Fruit and Vegetables. It was shot on 4″x 5″ Fuji Velvia film in a single exposure on a Sinar P2 camera.

The Deception of Turnips by Paul Biddle Artist

First of all I constructed the set and painted it with ultramarine pure artists pigment. It gives an intense and super saturated colour and as it is matt it takes the light perfectly. I made an overall under exposed exposure with an overhead studio flash and then used fibre optics to paint the set with light in a painterly manner. You have to leave the shutter open and paint with light in total darkness in the studio and once you have tried it a few times you become used to the technique. I have been using this technique on some of my images for over 20 years if I feel it is needed to enhance a particular image.

I was inspired by 17th century Dutch and Spanish still life painting because I loved the way these painters used light to add magic in their work. Much of my still-life lighting technique has been inspired by these artists. The three flies were added after the image was shot in Photoshop because of the difficulty in training real flies to sit still for long exposures.

Google images of 17th century paintings

You can see more of the seres here


Photographer Self Portraits

Many photographers I have met, including me, dislike having their photograph taken. I always say I prefer being on the other side of the lens and make a joke about photographs stealing your soul which often works. I remember the first Photography Awards I attended in London, at least 50% of the photographers shambled up to the stage, some scowling and looking incredibly nervous, grimaced when having their picture taken by the press. I did exactly the same although in reality I was elated, over the moon that I had won an award. As soon as I was off the stage I wore a big grin for days.

So what makes us react like this? Is it because the photographer is usually in control of the picture making process and doesn’t like relinquishing it?

Are self- portraits just a posh name for Selfies?

Here are three of my self portraits:

Self portrait of Paul Biddle surrealist photographer
Self portrait of Paul Biddle and Jackdaw
self portrait of Paul Biddle as The Collected rather than the Collector
Self portrait by Paul Biddle.He has placed his own head inside a bell jar as an exhibit like in his Cabinet of Curiosity series. The Collector becomes the Collected.
A self portrait of Paul Biddle surrealist photographer with a locust perched on his opticians glasses with enigmatic alphabet letters throughout the image.Sepia print.
Self- Portrait with Locust and Letters

Many artists have made self-portraits – look at the Vasari Corridor in Florence, Italy. It’s an elevated closed corridor which connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti, designed by Giorgio Vasari for Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1565 and it has artist self portraits lining it’s walls. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasari_Corridor


Reclaim Photography Festival to exhibit The Figure Flinger by Paul Biddle.

I’m very pleased to announce that my image The Figure Flinger will be exhibited by Reclaim Photography Festival 2017 in the group exhibition Reclaiming Our Cultural Landscapes. It will be exhibited at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (6 – 21 May 2017) and Wolverhampton Art Gallery (23 May – 7 June 2017). My latest series is about Cabinets of Curiosity and Rooms of Wonder. It’s about Man as avid collector and pillager of the Natural World to the detriment of that world, as symbolised by the Dodo.

I have photographed many Natural History Museum exhibits and locations or any interesting items that I find on my travels and the idea of compositing them back in the studio seems appropriate as these Cabinets often contained fakes and Jennys (the fabulous creations constructed by combining parts of different creatures). So the fact that I create these strange and Curious items is entirely in keeping with the tradition.




You can see more of The Cabinet of Curiosity series here :



Shadow and Light Magazine Paul Biddle showcase portfolio

I’m so pleased to share this – a Showcase Portfolio of my images is in the latest Shadow and Light Magazine. The theme is Compography which I think is an excellent word coined by Tim Anderson, the Editor. It rolls off the tongue and at last I will have an answer when people ask me what I do – I shall say I’m a Compographer.


Here is an extract from the article in Shadow and Light:

I think most photographers paint with light in one way or another. I always wanted to be a painter but my drawing was terrible,which is why I switched to photography – it did the drawing for me. If I can make a photograph by setting it up for real, by arranging the objects in a set or on location, I will because it tends to sit better that way. Often I will physically paint the backgrounds and sets or even the objects themselves. If I can’t shoot it all in one go, I will do anything to make it happen especially using Photoshop which I have been learning for over 20 years. I often assemble a collection of such items and then experiment to find the perfect juxtaposition of composition, form and colours – what I think of as playtime.

Here are a few of the images in the Shadow and Light magazine  showcase

on my work:

A photograph by Paul Biddle from his Fruit and Vegetables portfolio
Still Life with Thief
Letterhead is a photograph from Paul Biddle's Library of Letters portfolio
Man in Jug with Fish on his head


You can see more images at:    https://paulbiddle.com

Update on Tokyo International Foto Awards Exhibition 2017

I’m very pleased to share the news that ten images from my Cabinet of Curiosity series will be exhibited in the 2016 TIFA Winners Exhibition, Feb 25-28 Tokyo, 2017

Here are two of the images

From The Cabinet of Curiosity by Paul Biddle
Swan Sisters
Paul Biddle Cabinet of Curiosity
The Gauntlet of Icarus

The Opening night celebration is Feb 25, 2017 19:00 – 21:00

Open to the Public Feb 26-28, 2017, 11.00 – 19.00

The Address of the galley is:

OWADA GALLERY, Shibuya Cultural Center Owada 2nd floor,

Shibuya 23-21 Sakura-gaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Paul Biddle Awarded Fine Art Portfolio Gold in Tokyo International Foto Awards 2016

I’m incredibly pleased to share the news that I have been awarded a Gold in the Fine Art Portfolio Category in the Tokyo International Foto Awards 2016 for my Cabinet of Curiosity series. The exhibition will take place in Tokyo at the end of February from 24th-28th, 2017.

From Paul Biddle's Portfolio Cabinet of Curiosity
Incubation From Paul Biddle’s Portfolio Cabinet of Curiosity

I would like to thank the Judges and Organisers for giving me this opportunity to show my work in Japan.


Here is a link to see my Portfolio


Having been fascinated with Japan’s Art and Culture for many years, I would so like to go and see the exhibition.

About TIFA :

TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FOTO AWARDS mission is to recognise, reward and expose talented photographers from around the world and introduce them to the creative community in Japan.

You can see more of The Cabinet of Curiosity series by clicking the link