At the beginning of last year I set out to create a book of my personal landscape work. I’ve been working on this body of work for the past 12 years. I’ve always wanted to do a book, so I felt it was time to put something together. When i’m not shooting in the studio - my passion is to travel and shoot landscapes. From the beginning of my photography career I’ve always shot landscapes as part of my personal work. It’s actually been an integral part of the development of my commercial work.
I’ve always loved the road trip and it’s my preferred way of shooting landscapes. It really just works for the type of shooting I do - passing through, getting lost, pulling over on a hunch - shooting and then moving on. I tend not to linger too long when I shoot this work. Working on feeling or intuition rather than analysis or thought. For me, traveling and exploring new places always awakens the senses. I think my most successful photographs, and certainly the ones I keep coming back to, are the ones that play with light and shadow, and evoke a subtle sense of mystery.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
- Albert Einstein
As a collection of my work from the past, I wanted this to be a launching point for a new chapter in my personal work. Due to the success of my studio, I hadn’t had time to travel and shoot landscapes and I felt it was time to refocus my energy on my personal work. I wanted this to be more than a simple ‘greatest hits’ book and I knew that editing this work would be a huge challenge for me because of how close I am with it. So I teamed up with two incredibly talented and creative people. I hired David Taylor of Awake Studio to handle the overall design of the book and Anne Maureen McKeating to help to curate the book. My goal was a true collaboration so my direction was quite simple - let’s create something beautiful and let everything else flow from that.
As a starting point, we went through all of my work together. It was incredible to watch as certain themes were picked up on - some that I hadn’t ever noticed before, but were certainly there. In the end, I asked both David and Anne Maureen to live with the photographs for a few weeks each. For me it was important that they take this time to feel out the work and see what emerged.
It was difficult for me to relinquish control over the photo selection. At first there were several photographs that I felt should or shouldn’t be selected for the book, but I realized if I wanted to truly collaborate I needed to let go of my preconceived notions and to relinquish some control to allow for the creativity of my collaborators. What they came back with was amazing. 3 concepts were presented and in the end we decided to go with the colour story - The Colour of Shadow.
The Colour of Shadow is an inquiry into the landscape in half-light. An exploration of the nuanced intersections of light and dark - a place where new details emerge and different ways of seeing can be experienced. This book shows that place narratives are not necessary to have a tactile/visceral experience of ‘a place’.
I love to travel. To play with shadow and light. There is so much beauty in the shadows.
Instead of following any kind of chronological order or grouping by subject or location, we let the colour and tonal gradations tell the story. This meant photographs from vastly different locations and shot years apart were grouped together. This is a book that leaves a fair amount of mystery to the images. We intentionally omitted the location and date of each shot, in the main body of the book except for an index at the back.
Due to the nature of these landscapes, with their tonal gradations, we felt it was important the book be big enough to allow the colours and tones to sweep across the page. So we created this as a larger coffee table book. The book is 11 x 14 inches or 11 x 28 when spread open. Printed on a beautiful thick matte recycled stock. The book is 92 pages with a Debossed eco-friendly leather cover. I printed this as a limited edition run of 100. There are still a few left and they are available for purchase online here.
What we ended up with was completely unexpected, certainly it was something I wouldn’t have been able to produce on my own. We set out to create something beautiful and I think we’ve succeeded, so let’s see where we take it from here.
Here are a few spreads from the book.