All words and images from Arnold’s website –
I wasn’t able to attend William Arnold’s talk, but his work intrigued me enough to go and search out some of his projects.
His work with analogue processes and experimentation within the constraints of the medium of photography, and I can really start to notice how early photographic practises have had an impact on his work.
“William Arnold is a photographer influenced by the first pioneers of the medium and perhaps of the theory that has pervaded photography since its birth. Sir William Newton, the academic painter, declared in 1853 that photography could never capture the ‘atmospheric veil’ which nature throws across the world, and yet Arnold seems to both refute and capture this aspect by exploiting light and shade to produce artistically driven portraits of the world around him’Sarah Ryan, 2016
I feel Arnold’s work really resonates with the underlying theme of documenting the world through these alternative and experimental processes, really taking photography back to the basics and letting the beauty of light and nature do its job.
I feel his work is very lyrical and uses metaphor skillfully,
‘William is interested in the layers of history, human and natural that comprise the making of the landscape and the role played by the photographic surface both literally and metaphorically in recording, interrogating and representing these histories. ‘
His project, Tin-Can Firmament uses pin hole camera processes with tin cans making up the box in which the paper sits. As he leaves the tin can in the environment the natural processes begin to influence the space, rust and water and dirt having an impact on the emulsion and paper being exposed.
‘The photographs do not depict events, rather the conditions of light and time in which events took place.’
I love this work, really enjoying how the work turns into something of a mystery, the colours, the light leaks and ‘damage’ to the paper turns this into something really special. I find the analogue processes something I resonate with, as I’d love to take my practise further within the film developing process.
With another project Living Places, Arnold places a camera in the participants room and leaves the paper to expose over an agreed amount of time.
‘Through use of an adapted paper negative process, Living Places takes a wry look at the present era of ubiquitous surveillance, social networking by literally recording everything that has happened within the participant’s living space for periods of a week or more in a single photographic frame.’William Arnold, 2012
Although these images are focusing on a modern day phenomena, the atmosphere and feeling of the images are one of a ghostly and otherworldly, the light in the images is something special, it feels different in its appearance.
Again, I love the process of these images, they are done with such care and true understanding of his concept and the final images are beautiful and actually compete with the concept as stand alone pieces of art.