In my professional practice, I reflect upon the resonant skin of older age. I wish to make the physicality of people more accessible, their variety more curious, their experience more evident, their skin and bodies sources of phenomenological enquiry and sensuous interest. I aim primarily, through the imprinted imago of presence, to provide the opportunity to gaze – objectively, voyeuristically, elegiacally, scopophiliacally, wonderingly or pityingly – and to engage, albeit briefly, with another’s and hence one’s own condition. This requires the works to be disclosive as well as evidential, testament as well as testimony.
My prints aim to depict the humanity and scale of presence of subjects who, with dignity, offer intimate and voyeuristic access to their embodied selves. In my practice I seek to avoid objectified representation. I try to incorporate and foreground the agency and self-awareness of my sitters, acknowledging their participation in the construction of the images. At the same time, by denial of socio-economic placement, and dress, I hope to offer enhanced space for the emergence of the viewers’ engagement, unconstrained by ascriptions of identity, class, status or authority.
Early photographic contact-printing processes can exhibit an aesthetic and stylistic ‘richness’ of presence that is missing from some modern prints. Their characteristics, qualities and cultural connotations are distinctive. Photogravures, for example, exhibit an individual, quite particular ‘look’ and ‘style’ of presentation. They offer expressive opportunities for interpretative reading; they have, in short, a specific feel and presence when performed as works on paper. And the performance of the print has particular saliency here, its cultural potentialities rest on the twin significations of process and material: how the technologies are read for production and cultural values, and how the materialities of the print modulate, perhaps extend, meaning. In both regards, photogravure prints privilege the discursive over the evidential, eliding the particular into the general, loosening the ties of indexicality.