Exhibition Work: Humanity • Unseen Faces
Humanity • Unseen Faces | Documentary Photography
Creative Arts Napier | 26 June • 23 July 2020
Growing up in a remote town in Alaska I related well to feelings of isolation, and felt a strong curiosity for other remote cultures in those far corners of the earth. Images of people in their environment inspired stories in me. Looking at life captured in a moment in time made me feel connected, less isolated. The details of a particular image made me stare deeply for long periods of time.
Never relating well to the formal way of learning, I found it hard to learn anything without being visually engaged, and it would take me a lot of time observing and looking deeply into something before I felt I was understanding the subject matter. I couldn’t learn without being immersed. Photographs are an extension of the way I learn. The very nature of Photography, the serendipity, the stillness and waiting which goes into being there for each moment encompasses my way of learning.
Walking helps me see deeply. So I walk a lot, and far. My interest in neighbourhoods and what happens in the streets drive my work. Neighbourhoods can be a micro examination of their town, city, state, region, country, even continent. And observing over time how those people change their habits and how environments change makes them less invisible. Sometimes they represent the greater whole, most times they are unbelievably unique. The changes that happen between the divides in neighbourhoods are stories in themselves. I am interested in how people interact in the streets, behaviours, dress, and emotions; how the light or gloom of the weather affects moods and behaviours, and how that can be drawn out in a Photograph. This is what harvested my love of the documentary and street photography, and I am always looking for new stimulations.
About hundred odd jobs, mostly unglamorous, in the past 20 years have funded this artistic journey. Those experiences alone have fuelled stories within themselves, and have shaped my way of being in the world. I have built my life around my way of making art. There is something about making myself uncomfortable which inspires my work. Placing myself in environments which are foreign to me, pushing through my boundaries, experiencing life from different vantage points. This is photography for me.
My interest in ancient art, and hieroglyphics; thinking of Islam as a culture rather than merely a religion inspired visions in me of how it varies around the world and in particular amongst countries which border one another. Thinking of the Middle East and Central Asia, I wanted to take a closer look at what the culture of Islam looked like visually from Modern to Ancient. This drew me to spend 10 months in Northern India, Pakistan, and Syria; finding a voice from different points of view in every day situations, amongst one of the world’s most ancient cultures, where there has been historically the most conflict in the world. It was the prosaic moments in life which moved me. Life is banal, there is a certain beauty in it, and I hope to make that more visible.