Posted: Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
Homogen is a new collaborative project I've been working on with the illustrator Billy Mather. It explores the common origin of creativity across the disciplines of photography and illustration; merging the two and creating a playful and experimental celebration of our work.
The photographs were carefully selected from my archive, to provide a backdrop for Billy’s illustrations. It was pretty simple for me really as my side of the work had already been done, although as we progressed on the work, it became clear that not any old photo would work!
We agreed to work with photographs that didn’t include people. This would allow a whole new world for Billy’s characters without the distraction of a human presence. However, with my style of work verging toward documentary architectural photography, I had a challenge when it came to selecting photographs for the collaboration. Obviously I wanted to give Billy my best work, but I soon realised there were hardly any images in my archive that were suitable, that I liked and that contained no people! The images Billy worked on aren’t necessarily my favourite photos, or the best examples of my own work, but that’s the beauty - that I get to see these images that were, in a sense, forgotten in a totally new way.
One of the unexpected surprises was how human the images are, even with Billy’s characters in them - humans are absent in the most basic sense, but their presence remains strong, particularly in images like the one of the Alexandra Road Estate where you can see washing on the line, signs of life, in the background.
Billy found working with pre-existing images a "refreshing but challenging alternative to creating images from scratch". Relinquishing some creative control gave the illustrator a fresh take on how he approached his work: "I was able to see a space from someone else’s perspective and add to that reality from my own."
A launch night on Tuesday 16th June, from 6pm (all welcome!) will feature a panel discussion on the nature of collaboration. All the info can be found here.
An exhibition, sponsored by Spectrum Photographic, of the first stage of Homogen runs from Tuesday 16th June to Sunday 21st June at Circus Street Market, Brighton.
A huge thanks to Spectrum for helping us put this together!