alpha gallery,  contemporary art,  modern art,  photography

J. Harry Edmiston …”Abstract Details in Colour”

  1. Your upcoming exhibition entitled – “Abstract Details in Colour”, at the Alpha Gallery in Cork Street, London is about to begin. What is your inspiration behind it?

Well as a solo show, I guess the idea has been focus a lot on the process.  The way the images are produced plays an important part in creating what is a fairly technical body of work.  I think the ‘inspiration’ behind the show has been to create an aesthetically beautiful body of work with an end goal of creating abstract pieces that one would want to have hanging on a wall at home.  Of course, taste is always entirely subjective.

  1. Which picture from your show would you choose to possibly explain your particular outlook on photography?

Thematically, the show is about using the medium to draw out interesting perspectives of what might be perceived as “the mundane” around us.  There is a series within the show that plays on the detail of bubble wrap.  I guess with these, the aim is to play on the simplicity of the subject and turn the image into an object that is aesthetically pleasing, by way of colour and the production of the actual works themselves.  There are other pieces that do this, but I guess people will have their own interpretations of what they see, like and dislike.

  1. Can you share some details of your process?

I’ve stuck principally to using a 50mm, 1.4 Zeiss prime lens to try and capture as close to what the naked eye actually sees.  From beyond the actual image capture, and minimal image shaping and manipulation in post, it’s been more a trial and error process to see what works and what doesn’t. Playing a great deal with various printing and mounting options, I’ve tried each piece on a variety of paper types and while arduous, I guess it’s rewarding when you get the outcome as you had originally envisaged.  I am eternally grateful to the guys at the print lab, as I’m pretty sure they must be sick by now of my indecisiveness!

  1. How would you sum up the philosophy of your art?

My art is my philosophy – love knowledge and improve myself.

  1. What do you feel about the democratization of photography?

Good question.  I guess it has its benefits and pitfalls. With the rise of services such as Instagram, I think the downfalls are apparent in that everyone seems to consider themselves a photographer by merely throwing effects onto often fairly mundane images and passing it off as a skill.  At the same time however, I think the technological movements in the world of DSL cameras and their subsequent accessibility by price has given rise to a slew of very talented photographers and filmmakers that with the evolution of distribution channels such as the Internet, would otherwise have gone unnoticed.  Of course, this has also lead to the evolution of citizen journalism etc. that I think is socially important for all of us in this day and age in often helping paint a clearer picture of the world around us.

  1. How do you think the photographic community should respond to this?

I think it hard to think in terms of what we would like people to do.  If it’s happening, it’s happening and there’s not much we can do about it.   One consequence has been a contribution to the decline in budgets for larger scale photographic shoots for editorial in commercial photography. I think principally as there often seems to be someone out there that will do things for less (I’m sure often at the detriment to the quality of the work) and when this happens, it can be damaging for the trade.  As with all professions, I think skilled labor should be reward according to quality and not squeezed by waning budgets.

  1. Which photographer do you most admire? What have you learnt from their work?

There are many. Some of whom I have met and others I dream of meeting.  More often than not, it’s not just about their work and methodology, although often fascinating, it’s about their own personal journeys and how they got to where they are.  I think if anyone sticks at something they enjoy the results can be astonishing.

  1. Do you dream of making one shot which you haven’t yet?

I dream a lot these days – endless possibilities and limited time and budget.  I think we all dream of using the medium for capturing something that changes minds, alters perceptions and is remembered for the impact it creates.  It’s early days for me.  I guess we have to just see what happens!

  1. How do you see your photography evolving in the future?

I have a few ideas for steering my work and the “fine art” route gives immense flexibility to do this.  As much as I’d like to pretend my work is solely influenced by my own ideas, I do rely heavily on the thoughts, feedback and opinions of others.  I think to move forward in response to what seemingly works and what does not from the input of onlookers, will play well to the evolution of the projects and ideas that I have.  I do also want to make a more concerted effort to get out a bit more and travel with the medium as a means to do this.

  1. Next steps?

My next steps will no doubt be governed entirely by opportunity.  I have a number of ideas already in the works for future shows but finding the right home for them is the key.  Again, I think something abroad.  I would like to look towards the United States & Canada, where I have spent considerable time.  I also feel the market for fine art photography is a lot more understood in these territories. It must be said though, having studied Chinese, I very much have Shanghai in my sights!

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