Arles Rencontres 2019 – 3 Questions

Visiting Arles next week from Monday to Friday. Driving up through Spain and spending a day at Figueres to visit the Dali Museum. The themes this year at Arles are ‘My Body is my Weapon’, ‘On the Edge’, ‘Living’, ‘Rereading’, ‘The Other Photography’, ‘Building the Image’, ‘Platforms of the Visible’, ‘Louis Roderer Discovery Award’, ‘ Emergencies’ and ‘Happy Birthday.’ I presume the final one is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the festival this year.

Integrating this visit in to my MA work I take with me the three most interesting questions on my mind at this point in time.

  1. What does the image of an exterior situation in the surface of the photograph reveal about the inner state of that being photographed?
    1. As I work on self portraits for my project I am understanding the of representing an internal state of mind within a photograph of a face. Dave Heath does it superbly in Solitudes. There is something magic in Sally Mann’s images of her children and family that seems to reveal something within.
    2. Also interested in photographs of a scene to understand how many of the facts of the situation are revealed in the image and how many words are needed to explain.
  2. What freedom is the photographer exhibiting?
    1. (Flusser, 2000, p74) offers image, apparatus, programme and information to sum up the essential quality of photography. How has the photographer expressed her freedom of choice within these parameters?
    2. What freedoms are being restricted by demands placed upon the photographer and which restrictions do they voluntarily submit to?
  3. How staged is the image I am viewing?
    1. My prejudice is that everything that is exhibited is now staged. Is that right?

With the answers to these questions I am seeking inspiration to take my project on to its next surprises. I HAVE THOUGHTS


Towards a Philosophy of Photography. Vilém Flusser, , Martin Chalmers, , and Hubertus von Amelunxen. 2000. Reaktion Books, Limited. p76.

Categories: Contextual Research, Surfaces and Strategies


I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.