Mark







I make photographs with a room sized high definition camera that records its subject larger than life size. This is a completely chemical process that does not involve digital technology. Light bounces off the subject, through the camera lens, directly onto a large sheet of photographic paper hanging in the back of the camera. I made this ‘Macro Obscura’ because the amount of light it records creates a rich and detailed image surface that would not be possible with conventional digital or analog cameras.

I am attracted to asymmetric, biological and organic forms magnified to huge proportions so that intricate and detailed elements and shapes become visible.
Subjects I’ve repeatedly photographed include the succulent Lithops that I grow from seed and children's sweets designed to resemble human or hybrid animal/human figures. When these small subjects are viewed in close up I find them suggestive of the human body: lithops in the way that new leaves grow and sweets through their humanoid features (which become cracked and grotesque when enlarged).
I make transparent dyed resin casts of these objects, attaching them together into small structures I call picture maquettes to photograph. I have collected a catalogue of images to help me make decisions about the recurring forms that appear in these maquettes. I have provided examples below.

By making my own camera and creating photographs that record intricate detail and form, I am exploring ideas and techniques put forward by photographers such as Wilson Bentley, Karl Blossfeldt, Arthur E Smith and Miroslave Tichy.  Bentley (b1865) was a pig farmer and the first person to photograph snowflakes, discovering that each one is unique. Blossfeldt (b1865) an artist inspired by nature made a photo catalogue of plants in close up, as teaching aids for his drawing students. Smith (b unknown) published macro photographs of nature through a microscope in 1909. One of his images is a bee's knee photographed by gaslight. Tichy (b1926) lived in communist Czech Republic as an outcast. Banned from public areas He made his own cameras from cardboard and glass to photograph women on the streets. The experimental approaches of these artists and their commitment to form and detail have been a foundation for how I think about and approach making my own work