Saturday, 24 June 2017


a little video from karsamaki, finland where i did a residency last year.....strange things happen everywhere.....

don't look away.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

blind zoom experiments

my compact digital camera has no viewfinder apart from the usual large digital display at the back of the camera. i wanted to make some images with this camera without seeing what images i was making as i was going along, using the zoom function and a tripod held up at arm's reach to frame the picture ground in ways that i wasn't able to fully control. so i taped up the back and walked up blackford hill (one of edinburgh's seven hills).
some results below.

don't look away.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Friday, 3 June 2016

Mari Mahr + Antony Schrag + Residency in Finland

I came across Mari Mahr's work at CCA in Glasgow a few weeks ago.

There is something about it which reminds me of some of the work I was doing in The Netherlands (see images below); working with objects over found photographs, and making short videos playing with objects over some of my own still images. I really like the consistency of her use of black and white film and it is always a pleasure to discover and admire the work of someone still living and making.

Someone else whose work I had the pleasure of coming across is Antony Schrag. A Glasgow based artist whose website alone is an excellent creative act.

He describes his approach on his website,

'I don’t do many exhibitions because I am conflicted about ‘objects’ and am afraid of the permanence they suggest....which is an overly-complex way to say that I prefer to ‘work with people’ in a participatory manner instead of making things to put in galleries.'

I like his commitment to a non-object based artistic practice. Having been gradually becoming more and more interested in participatory practice in general I have enjoyed looking around his website. I also recently finished an interesting book which I bought last year but only finished recently - Grant Kester's Conversation Pieces - about dialogical art practices and concepts of communities.

& link to the book

Since completing the participatory photography facilitation training by Photovoice (see previous post in February 2016 I have been thinking about how to more broadly apply some of the skills I learnt on that training to other creative situations.

I realised on that training that to facilitate a group successfully I would need to not think of myself as the artist or photographer, that it would in fact be unhelpful to the aim of getting a group to take ownership of a photo project, and that the whole paradigm of artistic work in communities is certainly more complex than it sounds.

What is the artist? The expert? The initiator? The mirror? Where are the power structures visible in the idea of an artist arriving to do artistic 'work' with a community. Where is the community? Is it a coherent and tangible thing? One of things that Antony Schrag also talks about on his website is the value of conflict. That all communities are essentially conflicted rather than consensual. More interesting writing from Schrag on conflict and participation here:

I have just arrived in Finland to do a residency at AIR Frosterus in a small community called Karsamaki (6 hours north of Helsinki), I had written quite a detailed proposal to apply for the residency and up until a few weeks ago I thought I would be doing what i had planned. Always good to have a plan, but always good to have the freedom to veer away from it.

I'm curious to know more about the community here and rather than imposing my creative ideas on it, i want to wait until the opportunity arises to have conversations with the people here, and to find out how their community works, what interests them, and how they view the visiting artists.

Meanwhile I brought plenty of materials to work with. It is really a beautiful place, right by a river, with plenty to explore both inside and out.

 don't look away.