Monday, 4 April 2016

The Anniversary

"We warm hands in the sun, where a young love lingers so".
Turn of the Century by Yes.

This week will mark something very special for me.

Some ten years ago, I found myself visiting a local model for the first time - a young lady who had a taste for the Gothic and the flamboyant when it came to looks.
Bright pink hair, high boots, dark moods and expressions that screamed across the frame...
Where, I thought, is the tender engagement of light and form, as an expression of grace, I long to capture in images. Where is the commonality between us? 

I didn't think, as I sat there, that there was any, and yet, as I looked and listened, a series of images played across my mind from something I did love, something, I began to realize, that might provide a nexus between our two approaches to art and creativity...

I wasn't aware then how this scene (particularly from 1:20 in on the video) would become so woven into our future collaborations, but as I replayed this video in my head as we talked, I realized that we could indeed work together.

Ten years on, and I truly relish every moment we have been able to create, and so, I wish to say a huge thank you to my muse, Magenta, and hope that we can do much more in the days to come.

Thank you, also, for following our creative adventures.
I hope that 2016 proves to be a year when more unfolds.

Sunday, 6 September 2015


"Human beauty belongs to our embodiment, but such comes only when human life is set at a distance from which it can be viewed without disgust or prurience". Roger Scruton.

My last decade of life alone has been marked with moments when the aching cleft of loosing Kay has been soothed and eased by creative activities and events, which, I hope, have allowed expression of the life that came from our time together, especially in relation to photography. The tenth anniversary over the summer would be so marked.

First, in June, came an opportunity to once again work with Magenta amidst the splendor of Cornwall's West Coast. After re-visiting the North of this area on what proved to be a day covered in sea mist and camping over night, our little company headed South to shoot at a new location on the second day. The sun came out after a little early rain, and the joy of a truly creative afternoon ensued (above, and see a few images below). It was wonderful to be working with the Muse once again, and as we left Cornwall at the end of the day, tired yet pleased, we knew it had truly been worthwhile.

The second event had been something almost entirely organized by friends - an exhibition of  work which celebrated the grace of the mature female form. Once again, July returned us to a favorite exhibition site in Cornwall, where a number of my images were included into the event - a project which became featured in that month's edition of the UK magazine, Health and Efficiency. The event went well, raising funds for a local hospice.

It was a delight to be working with friends on both of these projects to create and share images that "speak" of something that continues to jolt us regarding our existence. Such beauty, says Scruton, makes a claim on us. We may travel through this world, alienated and broken, but when we encounter such grace, it assures us that, in spite of such peril, there is a home to be found.

My thanks to Tony, Maureen, Richard, Ian, Sian, Sioux and especially Magenta, who made these moments this summer very special.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The precious gift

Because man was made in the very image of God, he argued, man is not ultimately a liar. He may pervert the things of God for his own ends, but he can never fully efface the image of God in him. He can never really be satisfied with lies. He can never escape who he really is. And for this reason, even the pagan myths retain a semblance of eternal truth, however corrupted. Ultimately, even in his imaginative creations, man is pulled back to the truths that answer to the call of his own true nature.

Martin Cothran -  Tolkien, Lewis & Christian Mythology.

It's proved to be a busy - in some respects turbulent - start to another year. Whilst this has meant very little time behind the camera (I have managed to get a little landscape imagery done), it has been a period when, once again, I've been reminded in my studies and my daily life that there is a God who, thankfully, is very much involved and engaged with us in the mundane.
Studying afresh through the Old Testament, I was reminded last month of the story of Ruth - a woman who could so easily have been alienated from 'the righteous' because of her background, but who, through simple, straightforward even routine behavior (caring for the daily needs of another) became favored by someone who would come to marry her. It's a very simple story, especially when you look at it in the context of all the bluster and fury of what was going on in that part of the world at the time (take a read through the book of Judges), and yet, it was in this very normal backwater tale that something momentous was beginning. Ruth's children would be the family from which David, Israel's great King, would come - the 'quiet' story is the opening of the stuff of legends.

The Gospels, noted C S Lewis, contain many elements of those stories which, rising from amidst the mundane, touch us at our very core. We taste the deepest art, drama, beauty and meaning in spite of our corruption, as it allows us to peak for a moment at what we truly desire - the fragrance and embrace of what was lost - but the truth unwrapped here is that the story - our story - begins and ends in joy, because another sees us and restores what was lost.

Our engagement with life - be it with myth, or art, or the mundane, can be meaningful, if we can catch this glimpse, and allow the beauty of what is truly there to nest within our hunger for the one who "makes all things beautiful in their time, and places eternity in our hearts". We can never find a sufficient source for joy or rest if we fail to see it there, but if we do, then all the radiance of the goodness of the Father, through the Son, will rise in true health and righteousness, ripening amidst the most common things of life, and our pleasure in the finding and sharing of such truth.

Amidst the daily things - work and play, creativity and reflection - I hope that some small part of what I do will at least point to such riches.

Images: Skyclimb. Model: Magenta. Evergreen. Model: Erin. The Reveling. Model: Magenta

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


"To the nonbeliever, the person who sees no cosmos in chaos, we are all victims of the darkness which surrounds our choices; we have lost our way. There is no meaning. To serve any discipline in art... is to affirm meaning".  Madeleine D'Engle - Icons of the True.

The last few weeks have brought some pleasant surprises.
First, there was the news that some friends I created some commissioned work for some years ago have decided that they intend to hold an exhibition of a selection of this work in Cornwall in July, and they have invited me to be involved in the whole project. This will allow a public viewing of many of my fine art figure images in the area for the first time in several years. so I am delighted for this opportunity.

Secondly, a wonderful model I've previously worked with from America is back in the UK for a short time, and thanks to the assistance of friends, I was able to meet up with her with a short time a few days ago and create some new images.

Finally, there are two other possible art projects in the offing. Some friends and I are seeking to put together a photography workshop in June, and in spite of some initial set-backs, it looks as though this may still come together. I'm also currently assisting in a research project to look at the possibility of holding an event in the city which seeks to express the significance and value of the relationship between faith and art. We had our first meeting this week, and it was great to see lots of passion and interest for's going to be interesting to see how this translates into a possible working scheme for an event.

What has really been affirmed to me in all of this is that it's vital to have and to share a common vision which allows you to take such steps. The longing in each of us, not only to exist, but to truly find and share a form of life which is replete with value and significance, truly, I think, affirms the image which we bear at our deepest. Whilst this is so often marred and forgotten, art can sometimes allow us to glimpse that remarkable truth in a fresh way.

I hope 2015 will bring about moments that allow such a grace.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A seasonal thought...

Why do we make art, especially art that depicts the human figure? 
A piece I was reading recently put it well, especially in the light of the time of year: "God, in creating the greatest story ever, used a human figure, too: Christ. Begotten, not made, he took on flesh. He subjected himself to all the gross, worldly secularism with which I inevitably identify, and it’s around this man, this naked, bleeding man, that the coolest art of all revolves". L’Engle writes: “There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.”

It is because of this - that at the centre of our story is a God who comes to us as us - that we can truly marvel in the splendor of where we are and what we are... it is all a gift of astonishing grace, if we only have the eyes to see.

The Compliments of the Season to us all!

Saturday, 15 November 2014


"Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days".

It's like the moment in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

There, locked behind glass and steel, is a sleek, red, thoroughbred of a car, and all the owner wants to do is polish it. It's never taken out of the gallery, never allowed to turn heads as it purrs along the open road - it's become less than it was meant to be.
One of the joys of photography is when you meet and begin to work with someone and the ramifications of doing so becomes bigger and greater than you ever imagined. That's certainly been the case with many people for me over the last decade, but particularly with my Muse, Magenta.

When we first met, we were very different people, both still very much finding our feet, especially in relation to our artistry, and I really didn't expect us to connect or be able to do that much together. How wrong I was!

Over the last eight years, I have truly been blessed to watch an artist grow through the curve balls and splendors that life has given to her - often being allowed to be present at moments of pain and joy.

Like the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well, our lives are often pretty mixed affairs, but in amidst that mixture, there is something precious and noble, and when we know how to invest  this well, this allows us to stop curving in on ourselves and begin to engage with a much bigger picture - to cast our gifts before the world, and see them valued.

When thinking about this, Solomon also noted, As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

It is only as we stop, as we  'consider the lilies' - the deeper truths that moments of art, beauty or true experience express or reflect - that we can allow a richness into our souls that makes us healthy.

The joy is knowing and sharing such moments -  taking that beauty for a spin. That's what truly makes us .

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Before winter begins.

Every December Sky, must loose its faith in leaves,
and dream of the spring inside the trees
How heavy the empty heart, how light the heart that's full,
sometimes I have to trust what I can't know.

Beth Nielsen Chapman

With a forecast that had been promising reasonable conditions for weeks, my friends and I decided to brave the bleakness of the moors for one last artistic venture before the winter firmly moves in to herald the closure of another year.

The conditions were, well, somewhat less favorable than had been predicted, and we had to risk getting very wet to reach the location on a pretty perilous river crossing, but Erin worked hard in the grey chilly afternoon to blend form and surroundings in a truly wonderful moment of reflection and delight in the 'rightness' of creation and our being part of it. It reminded me again of what is good in life, in spite of a propensity as broken creatures to often spoil this.

With the colder days taking their grip on the season, we hope to bring Erin and Magenta together at some point at an indoor location (so they can stay warm!) for some further images in the next few months...

So I'll keep you posted.