Chaos and Calm.

Last year it was estimated that 3 trillion digital images were captured, which as a number is greater than the whole archive of analogue images.

Susan Sontag wrote in her book On Photography ... "there are a great many more images around, claiming our attention. The inventory started in 1839 and since then just about everything has been photographed, or so it seems". Certainly the photographic world is a much smaller place today and browsing Flickr, for example, or doing a search on any topic produces thousands of similar results. We are literally drowning under a rain storm of photographs. Where and what has not been photographed?

My appetite to make single images or a series of images, whilst still a fundamental part of my life, has waned slightly. Rather than make lots of new photographs I am more interested in the conversation about how photography, which is evolving at such a rapid pace, plays its part in a global world where at the touch of a button we share images with different cultures and people instantly. Ironically most of it doesn't get seen because it is shared within tight personal groups. This is something we could not do when I was at College some 30+ years ago in the pre internet world. Photographs had to be published in printed form, book, brochure etc. in order to be shared. How things have changed.

If you then consider that painting has existed for over 40,000 years. Photography in comparison has only been around for less than 200 years. It might be fair to make the analogy that photography is like a baby barely crawling. Observing its new world and learning from everything around it. Photography is evolving at such a pace and that is what makes it challenging and exciting.

Prompted by a thought to revisit images that I had taken seems to be a logical step. I have spent 45 years taking photographs, 30 of them professionally. The first surviving photograph I took is dated 1969, making me 5 years old at that time. Through these photographs I am trying to explore my memories.

This work called Chaos and Calm explores the analogue photography archive, and the memories they can provoke. My early memories have become confused as time has distanced me from the moment they represent. The social and historic contexts at the moment of capture make the reading and understanding of them complicated. The photographs are not so straight forward to understand. As I attempt to deconstruct them and remember their representation more and more questions arise. Every picture tells a story but quite often this story is not what it might seem on a first glance.

Examining these images to better understand them is chaotic and confusing process. These displayed prints are not what they seem. Viewed from a distance the are calm and orderly. They are not part of my memory. I do have childhood memories but they are not these photographic representations. I do not see these photographs in my mind. They are however some form of evidence of my past and who I was. They can act as conversation points which do stimulate childhood memories around the point of capture. They do join the maelstrom of a collective history for which I have played a part even if this is unclear to me. My fleeting memories when viewing these pictures are incomplete and gaps exist which I can not reclaim.

It is in three parts.

Chaos and calm 1

These images are intended to be viewed as prints of approximately 12 ft high. You can click on the image to view a larger section of approx. 12 inches which creates an impression of the finished artwork.

Ethiopia 1972.

School polaroids 1972.


School revisited 2015.

Winchester walk 2015.

Edward Hutchinson, age 2. 2015.

Aircrash, Addis Ababa, 18 April 1972.