This series continues my interpretative response to the work of the Dutch Masters, through previous series Burnt Memory (2011), Unwritten Skin (2008), and Vanilla and Misfortune (2005). Now in Happy After Ever (2019) I enlist elements of landscape to further my investigation of notions of impermanence and turbulence caused by the impact of the digital in photography’s new realm. By placing the figure in inhospitable, timeless environments the work contemplates whether contemporary photography’s digital expression risks it’s legacy as lasting cultural artefact?
Within Happy Ever After my intention is to produce a series of photographs affirming the lasting power of the photographic image. In a current world where quantity seems the enemy of quality and the record history is at stake, this series asks whether the ubiquity of photography has threatened its authority as art, and at worst whether its practice remains a valid form of visual expression.
Surrealism has a long history in art and photography is not slow to follow. Whether employing a landscape backdrop or an overscaled still life of fruit behind a human figure (in this case a young woman embarking on life), the purpose is to disrupt ways of seeing, to lend a hyperreality to the image. The surprising narrative presented invites the viewer to complete their own narrative, to engage with life in the story and to awaken their intelligence and senses.
In these images I collaborate with me daughter as we engage in our lives both parallel and unique. They are drawn from life and therefore speak truths that only photography and the image can articulate. As such they are essential impressions of the real world as we repeat our journeys generation after generation. This is where history comes in.
Photography is capable of permanence both technically and emotionally as record. These qualities will never leave photography as long as we value it as art.