Studio Theme – Anonymity


People who are familiar with my work or have been to my workshops know that I specialise in the use of the female figure –the nude – as a genre to express a broad range of ideas about human behaviour.


Most studio sessions are with models I have worked with for longish periods. At the moment the three key models have been part of my photographic life for a decade. We work each week.


The work is often incremental because once an idea is defined as the ultimate intention it is then tested with a variety of interpretations until by a process of refinement, editing, manipulation the ultimate series is established or resolved.  I know this has happened when the link between idea, my intention and its representation generates a powerful expression or statement. For the most part this approach works for me. I really do not care all that much whether anyone else enjoys the work. I photograph for my own personal enjoyment, my own personal goals of creativity and as long as the model(s) are happy and comfortable with what we do and the work communicates what was intended then I am satisfied. Until then I can be a tad frustrating!


In the last three months I have participated in two group shows with a new artists group called Nebulae Arts ( For one exhibition my contribution revolved round the use of a mask as a motif for a journey –the “Passus.” For the second, it centred on visual responses to the Ulysses text by James Joyce. Both exhibitions revealed my approach to photography, which I call by a variety of names but essentially ‘imagined vision’ sums it up.


The images here are from a new series that is emerging. It is evolving from a starting point based on notions of anonymity. We all, from time to time, like the idea of not being noticed, of not having to offer an opinion, to not be engaged with others or to not be identified. Again, sometimes our introspection on who we are as an individual has us progressively defining and sharpening our insight into our core qualities moving us from an anonymous figure into one that has characteristics, qualities and ultimately an identity. This process, we all pursue, helps us answer, “Who we are”. It is a process that never ends. As a focus for photography I have found it to be a rich vein of ideas and options for their expression. I think it will take some months for this rich concept to be resolved.


These studio – based images involve the use of a shroud to hide the real face/features of a beautiful young woman. She has been asked to interpret questions about herself – the “who am I” question, the “what am I” question and, via pose, prop, personal interpretation communicate this to the camera. Let me make it very clear, my work is a collaboration. The model is central to this process of creativity.  Any success I might have in working in this genre is derived from the loyalty, faith, trust, professionalism and energy of the model. I just have the ideas or the concepts and the tools to negotiate and identify when the concept is emerging. It is the model that makes the hard yards. I treasure them. There will be more about this working relationship in blogs planned for the future. In the interim the galleries on this site feature examples of this approach.