"Real life has surface noise".
I'm an iPhoneographer / Photographer and Digital Artist. I just happen to be visually impaired.
Prior to pursuing photography I was involved in the independent music industry for a good many years running the Pleasantly Surprised cassette audiozine and Cathexis Recordings record label. I released material from, amongst others: Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus, Birthday Party, Primal Scream, Eric Random, Ludus, Billy MacKenzie, Virginia Astley, Modern English, Sonic Youth, Mark Stewart, Coil, Current 93, Dif Juz, Fini Tribe.... and many, many more. There were also forays into performance promotion, Internet Radio Streaming and Sound Art Festivals. Maybe one day I'll actually get around to putting together my archive, what's left of it...
For over twenty years I was a freelance Graphic Designer. For sixteen of those I worked for a photography gallery (Street Level Photoworks) in Glasgow and worked with a large number of photographers and artists in prepping their work for exhibition, retouching prints and negatives, and formatting for print. Many people left a lasting impression and some were inspirational.
I attempted to teach myself how to use a DSLR camera but being blind in one eye and having Aphakia and Mydriasis (no lens, damaged retina and a permanently dilated pupil/iris) in the other, this proved to be cumbersome and very problematic, especially so in that I was pursuing an interest in street photography...
In 2012 my wife gave me an iPhone 4S for a significant birthday and everything changed. I captured a few images and was hooked. The design for other people started to take a back seat and ideas for personal photography projects started to take shape and take over. It was time to think of a new strategy in my photography. I downloaded a few Apps, bought some excellent books on iPhoneography and lost myself in dedicated websites and blogs.
It all started to fall into place. Due to my restricted sight and sensitivity to light, I decided to side-step the inherent difficulties of using orthodox methods of image making and bypass the constraints of traditional photography that seeks out technical perfection, both with the equipment being used and in the end result, and instead pursue a visual aesthetic for it's own sake.
Using an iPhone as capture device and an iPad as a mobile 'darkroom', editing suite and social media hub, I started to document and capture images of everyday moments from the world around, details and places that are in plain sight, but often overlooked and unnoticed as people go about their day. These discovered moments are edited, post processed, transformed, saved and shared.
I find that imperfections and flaws are an important part of my process. I incorporate texture and character during the composition and post processing stages which quite often results in something that looks far more intriguing than what was initially captured.
In late 2012, not long after receiving my iPhone, I submitted two images to an OPEN art show and had them both accepted, selling one within the first 15 minutes of the opening reception. I continued to create and submit images for exhibitions in 2013/14, having them accepted and managing to sell work.
In 2014 I was approached by the Arts and Heritage team of West Dunbartonshire Council here in Scotland with a view to mounting a solo exhibition. This was a very bold move on their part as not only was this a show by an emerging photographer but also the first show of it's kind in Scotland to consist entirely of worked created on mobile devices.
Prior to the exhibition I was invited to be one of 5 artists presenting work at a one day open air 'Art On The Railings' event in one of the biggest public parks in the area.
Seeing The Unseen as a large solo exhibition was very well received and an edited version of the show toured to Melt Gallery in Pitlochry, Scotland to be part of their inaugural exhibition running from late 2014 into early 2015.
In spring of 2015 I devised and led a series of Flower Photography Workshops, using mobile devices, as part of the TATE Artist Rooms: Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition which took place at Clydebank Art Gallery and Museum. Interest for those was high and further sessions were added to accommodate the demand. I had more work accepted for the Clydeside 2015 OPEN Art show and was shortlisted for the Lord Provost Award for Outstanding Artwork. Ending up in the final 3 out of 76 artists and over 120 artworks.
Further workshops took place in 2015 / 2016 as Goldenhll and Carleith Primary Schools in West Dunbartonshire started to run Masterclasses for children aged 7-12 in various subjects. I devised and led a 7 week Photography Masterclass which taught Creative Portraiture and Storytelling using the iPhone and iPad. The outcome of this was exhibitions of the work done in collaboration with the children and being asked to come back and lead more classes.
July 2016, I devised and led a 'Location Photography Photo Walk' at the request of West Dunbartonshire Cultural Services. This was followed by a ‘Creative Post Processing’ workshop, again for West Dunbartonshire Council.
New workshops are currently being researched and developed at present for new audiences.