portrait of man holding hand up in forgiveness

It has been a long journey for me, the creative one, filled with uncertainty, the unknown, and grappling in the darkness trying to find a voice from which to speak from. For a few years now, through my photography, I have been a quiet observer, watching life as it unfolds before me whilst taking pictures of the moments that suddenly come together, in an instant, like shapes seen momentarily in the clouds. And as much as there are a few pictures that mean a lot to me, there has been a sense of incompleteness. But going back through my life, there has been a certain aesthetic I have kept seeing that has provoked something deep within, time and again, which is the use of light and shadow.

I think back to being younger and watching Marlon Brando running water over his head in 'Apocalypse Now', barely visible in the near complete darkness from which he sits, and then the scene where he reads T S Eliot's 'The Hollow Man', or Martin Sheen in the same picture lying down in a container after being captured, beads of sweat upon his face, barely visible in the darkness in which he lays. I think back to the majestic mausoleum I saw in Norway, belonging to Emanuel Vigeland, where from the darkness of its interior shapes and forms of people would slowly be seen amidst the shadows (sex, death and re-birth). I think back to my favourite renaissance painter, Caravaggio, who for me was the most intense painter of that period, filled with the deep rooted drama of human existence with its figures and tableaux sunk into the shadows of his pictures. I think back to certain Dutch renaissance painters, like Rembrandt, and his use of darkness in the portraits of his people. I go back to seeing Edvard Munch's woodblock prints when I lived in Norway many years ago, or Goya's Black Paintings. I think back to Akira Kurosawa's 'Throne of Blood', his masterful cinematic adaptation of Macbeth, and of Lady Macbeth floating above the floor towards the camera from the darkness of a room. I think of shadow puppetry. I think of Bill Viola and Chris Cunningham. I think back to all of these things, of the reaction each one provoked when seeing them for the first time, all of which have struck sparks within my mind and whispered something to the depths of who I am.

It was only until recently, when speaking to the writer and artist Lena Petersen, where we sat discussing myths and legends, the universe, parallel dimensions, near-death experiences and DMT, amongst other subjects, when something was revealed as if in a sudden flash. In that afternoon, I explained of feeling like I'd been standing in a dead-end for years, unsure which direction to take to find a way out of the maze I had unknowingly walked into. She explained an idea so simple and profound to me that I could hardly believe it... write down all that you know, of what fires something off within you. Get it all out onto paper, and then place titles on each one before thinking how to illustrate it through pictures. And like that, something was released... Ideas, concepts, illustrations, reveries, daydreams, fantasies, visions, illuminations, and vast amounts of notes have started to be hammered out in a notebook. Research into the light and shadow expressions throughout art history have woken something. I have no idea where it is going to go, of which direction it will take me, though it feels right, in a way I cannot comprehend right now.

And so a new path opens up, one that will lead me into unknown territory, to a place where I will try to create pictures to put across some of what has been bubbling away inside of me for years, of the research made into the subjects that have enthralled me: art, the universe, physics, science, the hero-path, altered states of consciousness, literature, poetry, philosophy, religion, dimensions, ancient history (with their uses of metaphor and symbolism), and the Greek Tragedy, to name but a few. I've always had an insatiable appetite for learning, for knowledge and understanding, and this seems like the most plausible direction to take.

This brings things to a close, for now, as I think of what Mark Twain once wrote:

'Too many people die with their music still inside them.'

and so, perhaps now, it is time for us to listen to the music that lies inside each of us, and to play out these songs that we hear.