Achieving Wonderful Chaos
This series is a work in progress that has grown out of a physical and mental health setback.
Ten years ago I almost permanently lost my sight after eye surgery. It took two years for my eyes to recover and then several more to come to terms with the associated depression.
Even now, I am somewhat limited by the amount of commissioned, corporate work I can comfortably undertake. (As for many, photography began as a hobby, I took pictures of my friends surfing in the early 1970’s. Since the mid 80’s I have worked full-time as a professional photographer mostly in the corporate, lifestyle and tourism disciplines.)
The recovery period gave me more time for my ‘hobby’. I used it to express how that smeared vision, in the months immediately after the surgery, filtered the world. Now, with eyesight mostly repaired, I still find myself drawn to disguising scenes and details with blur and motion.
I initially used long exposure and movement in the natural scene with a little post editing. As the series progressed I emphasised the space I found when looking, from an elevated place, towards the horizon. These pictures speak about isolation and helplessness as I learn to live with and above depression.
I also returned to nostalgic subjects and locations like surfing and ocean pools using both high resolution cameras and the iPhone. The phone files were processed using various apps at the shooting location and then posted to Instagram. Working in very bright sunlight is uncomfortable and can cause my eyes to water. Not being able to see the details my desktop computer provides meant these instagram images contained artifacts as well as blur - an accident that added to the story of my wounded eyes.
The Wonderful Chaos works exemplify where the journey is now. They are made up of multiple images taken with the camera locked off while isolating a section of shoreline. Many frames are layered in photoshop which I use to brush out sections layer by layer. It is a time consuming, but necessary, process as I work to recreate the motion of the surf over a period of time. I slow the shutter speed but not so much that all detail is lost.
Making these pictures is both an emotional and creative release. It is how I show viewers the memories of my damaged eyesight. The turmoil my mind came to experience as the physical injury and pain messed with my being is tempered by the beauty the blurred vision helped me discover.
I am excited about making new chaos pictures so watch this space!