Having originally trained in Fine Art, I have been specialising in photography for the last fifteen years, working mainly on documentary and community based projects.
As an artist I am interested in exploring how we conceptualise nature and environments and the ways in which physical spaces are also culturally constructed and vary depending on factors such as cultural identity or political beliefs. The move away from Studio based practice into photography has allowed me to explore this in depth through an engagement with everyday situations, specific communities and locations. I began working with audio, as a way of questioning the objectivity of the documentary medium and revealing the process of communication behind the photograph, working with soundscapes and recorded interviews which has allowed me to explore an interest in montage and multi-vocal narratives.
I am particularly interested in collecting stories about place and location drawing on collective memory and personal recollection, by interviewing people with a strong connection to particular sites. I also like to juxtapose this with other forms of written documentation (sometimes reflecting a more institutional understanding of space) in the past this has included archival materials, engineering documents, historical work, statistical data, and academic research documents, which have been incorporated into audio and video pieces. This work then acts as a foil to my own photographs, which tend to explore the location from a more personal perspective. The resulting work has been exhibited in a variety of locations including installations in unused buildings, outdoor settings, family homes, public buildings and gallery spaces. My wider ambition for this work is that it reflects not only perceptions of a particular location but also connects into the wider issues and debates concerning how society relates to the environment.
There is often a level of interaction and collaboration in my working process, and in the past I have produced work in collaboration with other artists and academics. As part of the group Radix North East with Artists Tim Brennan and Stuart Brisley, I have worked on a series of projects in Peterlee over the last four years, revisiting an Artists placement project initiated by Stuart Brisley in 1978.* This work has also informed a series of sound and photographic works which have been included in my PhD research at the University of Sunderland looking at the connections between contemporary documentary practice and non- gallery based art. As an artist engaged in academic research I am interested in considering how this work can relate to academic studies in related fields such as Geography, History and Environmental Science. Since completing my PhD I have continued to present papers at conferences and events, details of these with links to relevant websites are included on the academic page.
* For more information on the Peterlee project please visit the links area for relevant websites or see the articles featured in Source Magazine and the Arts Council Publication Art of Negotiation.