Garden Of Delight
I met some of the most incredibly good people working on this particular collection and although I started planning and creating it many years ago (2009) there has been a metamorphosis to the meaning of the images as I deliberated over why they were so important to me.
Ophelia (an incarnation of Angela McBride) began as my tribute to my secondary school art teacher Mr. Clarkin, who had shown me Millais’ painting which to me had such beauty, detail and depth. I have lived with my version of the idea for the image for such a long time. It was 3 years before I even found my location and with almost another 3 years from test print to showing it publically it eventually brought to the surface some repressed memories of the tragedy and pathos of my beautiful next door neighbor Angela who, at the age of 21, took her own life over a lost love.
This is the purpose of art, to express our thoughts through imagery or text it’s why we are drawn to images subconsciously, we don’t have to understand the message, or even see one, I just believe that each and every one of us is attracted to music, images, shapes and stories because they resonate with us somewhere deep inside. I have an ongoing relationship with the photos, not with the event at the time, whilst it was necessary for the photos creation; it’s only a memory. The image I have to live with forever.
So, this exhibition became a pastiche, an homage to the classic painters writers and musicians that had an affect on teenage me. School crushes, tragedy, my fathers (not very well hidden) mayfair magazines and alcoholism, early life experiences that revealed themselves when I looked closer as to why I was shooting these images.
At 21, in the first ever proper job I had, I spent all of my first weeks wages on a large Richard Avedon print of Nastassja Kinski. I ate beans and toast for the week satisfied in the knowledge I had bought my first piece of proper art. I had forgotten this until I had shot Venus.