Thursday, 22 September 2016

As I continue my travels with my broken camera I have been looking for more images that contain text - billboards, advertisements and included here, weather-worn canvases covering some old fishing boats that have faded words and numbers. I like the broken, disjointed results that throws up new meanings.

Friday, 12 August 2016

They rode on...

I'm reading Cormac McCarthy's brilliant and very brutal Blood Meridian at the same time as I created this image from a light leak at the end of a 35mm film roll. The two seemed to fit together. The line "They rode on" appears many times as punctuation between the bloody events in the story.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Breaking Pictures - Pixel Portraits

Have found the positioning I'm happy with and have added the corresponding hexadecimal colour code to each of the large pixels. I think this has the right balance between emphasising that this is a digital construct and being an interesting image in its own right.



I love finding "ready-mades." These are the art display boards at the City Lit.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Breaking Pictures - Pixel Portraits

I'm interested in how digital images are really algorithms, working with code. This code could be interpreted in multiple ways - a song, a video, an image etc. It's just one and zeros existing as electronic impulses on a memory cell that has no connection to a photographic scene until it is read and interpreted by the computer.

This is all very cold and inhuman, so I thought it would be good to "flesh" it out by combining this with portraits. The initial portraits are quite neutral ( flat, even light, face to camera etc) which I hope will simplify (or rather, not complicate) people's responses to what they see. I'm not interested in any particular person, as much as how people/things/scenes are artificially constructed in a digital world.

With the techniques I've experimented with, for me it feels I should use either black and white portraits with the solid colour pixels or the colour portraitist with the blurred pixels. I don't know if it's clear but the pixels are actually from the portrait - if you blur your eyes you can see the features underneath.

Viewer’s response
After showing these to some colleagues, it's interesting to see that my intention was to focus on the break in the digital photographic medium rather than the subject of the image, but of course when you see a portrait you become interested in the person, what's hidden, what's revealed etc and your thoughts go to identity, representation etc. So, I either need to think that side of things through more, or choose a more "neutral" image - a bland landscape for instance. Actually, I think I will try both of these.

It's useful to see how I might have one thing in mind but then to find that others read different things into what I'm doing. It gives the image complexity but it also makes me realise that once it's created and out there I have no control over it and how people respond to it.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Breaking Pictures - Billboards 2

Somewhere in this mess of ripped billboards there lies a hidden message. The layers of time worn away to reveal something secret. Maybe.


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Photographic Reality

"We constantly tend to misuse or misunderstand the term reality in relation to photographs. The photograph itself is the only thing that is real".
Robert Heinecken

Monday, 15 February 2016

Pixel Feedback

Been thinking about the digital world we live in. Every time I get on the train I look around and see practically every person engaging in some way with their phone: listening to music, playing games, checking email, some even make phone calls. And I'm just the same - that little screen demanding my attention. FOMO - Fear of missing out (Could your FOMO Kill you?) The challenge is stay in the present moment. 

Anyways, it got me thinking about digital information and how it's brought to us. I know it's ones and zeros at some level but I still can't get my head around how all the information is stored inside the device. I have to imagine billions of minuscule ones and zeros all in a tiny container. How can I be so close to technology but have no real idea how it works? You try and look inside but there's really nothing to see. 

I found one way to illustrate this idea, to take a USB microscope and to record in close up detail the computer screen itself. No image as such but just the screen pixels. And what's it looking at? Well, itself - the screen image of the output of the microscope looking at what the screen output of the microscope is looking at. A nice feedback loop. I used to do this with video cameras back in the 1980s by pointing the camera at the monitor output for the camera - an easy psychedelic effect.

Here's some examples:

  See more of my work at

Friday, 5 February 2016

Breaking Pictures - Deliberate Glitches 2

Continuing on from my attempts to deliberately break or glitch images I've been looking at how digital files are downloaded and what happens when some of the data is missing. Torrent sites host illegal downloads of movies, software, music etc and the idea is that when users have downloaded a file they then "seed" this to other users. Each seed offers smaller parts of the whole file and each part comes from a different computer in a different part of the world. It's all part of the ever increasing deluge of data pinging around us at all times.

It's an interesting idea that one file, or more specifically one image could be made up of smaller parts from anywhere in the world. Of course, when you look at the image it is identical to any other digital version of the same image. So in order to highlight this process, I thought I would try downloading ("leeching" in torrent terms) a series of images and then halting the process half-way through - when there is enough information to open the image but but not enough to complete it. 

The result is something like this:

Being a torrent site most of the images available were pornography. My interests aren't necessarily in the  rights and wrongs of this, but with what makes the image in the first place. The stuff under the hood. I settled for a folder of images of women with at least some clothes on. I think the glitches make the final image more suggestive than the original.

I then took this one stage further and added some additional code glitches (see previous post for more on this) just to finalise the image. 

  See more of my work at

Monday, 1 February 2016

Breaking Pictures - Deliberate Glitches

I've been manipulating the inner workings of images for a while. Essentially, it's a digital image that I have opened up in a hex editor, changed the code around and then resaved. For these portraits I thought it would interesting to add something personal from the sitters. So, after I'd photographed each person and loaded the image onto the laptop, I asked them to name a favourite song. I then cut and pasted the lyrics from their song straight into the code. Resaving the file then causes the image to "break." the results are quite unpredictable, which is part of the appeal. 

This is what the code looks like using a hex editor.

See more of my work at

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Breaking Pictures - Billboards

I've been photographing the billboard near my house for about four years. Every week a new advertising message arrives and by the end of the week the wind and rain have taken their toll. Sometimes it's just a small tear, other times the whole thing drops off and leaves an interesting mish-mash of old messages. 

It's a bit like London - lots of layers on top of one another, the past is never far away and always mixing with the present.

There's a project here, I just haven't found a way into it as yet. In the meantime I'll keep collecting images.