Reflections on Photography

(The following text accompanied my book of poems and photographs published in the UK in 2005, Rumours of Hope.  My observations here, though pertaining directly to photography, also illuminate my approach to poetry).

Light transfigures natural objects, just as the Light of God, revealed consummately in Jesus Christ, transfigures the human person.  It is objects under light that quicken my imagination. Since 1990 I have worked mainly in colour.  Colour articulates light; form shapes it.  As it falls on an object, light discloses both its colour and its form; intensely focused, it seems to infuse and heighten the object, so that we see it anew, as a new creation.

My still lifes, which I carefully construct, are intended to demonstrate this. In a sense, the other studies, even the landscapes, are still lifes, though in such cases the “construction” takes place only through the viewfinder.  Sometimes, as modern art has taught us, form may actually be constituted by sheer colour; but in the common run of things—and it is this common run that I am interested in illuminating—colour and form interact.  It is the artist’s concern to structure this interaction, often by abstracting aspects of what he or she perceives and configuring them in a fresh harmony, so that what the viewer sees has both order and vitality.

The images and text on a given page of my book may echo each other, but often there are no direct links between them.  I would ask viewers to consider how the photographs are “built”, how line and mass, blocks of colour and pockets of shadow, shape the composition, thus creating a work of art in which the natural objects find a new home and relationship.  No work of art is a mere representation.  It is a selected and unexpected combination of reality, executed under the power of imagination.  A successful photograph first makes an impression, obviously—and this is to be enjoyed.  But it also invites the viewer to enter into the vision it inspires and savour whatever mystery and beauty may be found there.