April 28, 2022
In a nutshell I’d say my Open Eye Story is about not being afraid to try new things or step outside of your creative comfort zone to highlight something that concerns or interests you.
The final work for my BA in Photography Questionable Inedible looked at micro and nano plastics and relied on Photoshop more than photography itself. The work did reasonably well and landed me a spot at the First Light Northern Graduate Showcase which in turn led to being featured as part of Open Eye Gallery’s LOOK: Climate lab 2022.
The images are still gaining attention and are booked for more exhibitions this year, so it would have been the easy option for me to focus completely on this project. Or at least create work using the same methods.
Instead, I decided to look at another area within the overarching theme of the Anthropocene and work in a completely different way.
My latest project, as part of my MA at UCLAN, looks at a process called natural succession.
Through the gaze of macro photography, Terrrarum Exiguum showcases both the beauty and fragility that can be realised when we view ecological succession with a different perspective.
By utilising a shallow depth of field I am creating a visual tension and inviting the viewer to consider the importance these tiny ecosystems hold in relation to the planet on a larger scale.
Interestingly Photoshop is only used in the project for the purpose of framing and layout, so stylistically this work is a drastic leap for me.
To be honest, I have struggled with how this shift in style represents me as a digital artist. The only way I can explain and rationalise this self-doubt is by considering how a country singer would be perceived releasing a grime album.
Do I want to stop creating digital composites and focus purely on photography? No.
Do I see a future in continuing older projects? Yes
Am I looking too much into things and creating an unnecessary creative block because of it? Probably.
Do I intend to keep pushing myself to create new things, regardless of aesthetical continuity? DEFINITELY
I am learning to deal with my crisis of identity in the creative industry and use it as my unique selling point. I love photoshop as much as I love the camera itself and if my projects give the viewer something to think about that’s what matters. My aim is to create an online experience where a variety of environmental topics are put forward with no restraints on how they are created or presented.
The last image is of Questionable Inedible being viewed by a young child…if he goes home and thinks about his relationship with nature then my work has served its purpose.
My latest project Terrarum Exiguum: A Landscape in Miniature is on display at the Blackpool School of Arts until the end of May and I have a solo show at the Hive in Blackpool starting September 8th.
Please visit www.iamsam.uk to see a range of creative projects that explore the Anthropocene.
– IAMSAM aka Sam Wallis