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.
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.
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:
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
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.