As WordPress seems to be sending out old blog posts at random, I thought it was time to send one that is intended.

During the last year my attention has been drawn away from this blog, largely as I have concentrated on my portfolio and reviews. In March I visited Format Festival in Derby, and then in July I was lucky enough to go to PhotoIreland in Dublin with my work.  Even though the Irish trip meant re-printing most of my portfolio just so it physically fitted within the airlines hand-luggage policy.

Since 2008 I have had several “camera-less” projects burning away in the background, and last year these have really taken over my practice. There is more information about what I have been doing over at Shutterhub.

Many of these images are abstract or hard to read, and putting these into the public (and professional) domain has been a real challenge to me, as not everyone gets what they are seeing. I find it odd how we will accept abstraction in a painting much more readily than we do in a photograph, besides why do we have to immediately understand everything we see? But I like the fact that people engage with and interpret the images in their own ways, even though some cannot see past the point when they discover that I haven’t used a camera or a lens to create most of my new work.

My own natural tendencies are to experiment, to constantly evolve and to keep learning “new” skills, always trying different ways of making images. So during 2014 I have really had to curb my natural instincts whilst trying to pull together coherent bodies of work, some of which have already been going on for 6 years, rather than spin off onto something else. It is so tempting to see a collection of images as finished after just a few months, but is anything ever complete? I guess I don’t want to ever say that I wish I had stuck at a particular project for longer.

Something I have found particularly compelling about my current imagery is that the prints are by nature very seductive, even beautiful, although I struggle with that word. The technology I use to create them responds to items that are contoured very differently to a camera, and the resulting prints are not as two dimensional (flat). I have even had people touching a print to see if there is a physical edge or ridge on it, which is unusual (a bit annoying too, as I rarely handle my pictures without gloves). But these pictures are made to be hung on walls and enjoyed, so I can tolerate the odd inquisitive fingernail raking their delicate surfaces!

Spore Print 2014

I hope you find the time to see more new images at www.rogercoulam.com

2 comments to Abstraction

  • Roger,

    Being hard to read is not always a bad thing and I think it can help images to live longer in both the imagination, and in reality on the wall. A degree of difficulty and/or ambiguity can allow for alternative and possibly deeper meanings over time. Without a title the “spore print” would be hard to read but no less powerful and beautiful.

    • Colin
      In a world that is filled with endless images, most of which we do not even notice, if I can come up with any picture that raises a question or engages someone, that feels rewarding.