'Observations and Orchestrations is a series of still life’s, landscapes and portraits taken over the last 3 years. A accumulation of projects.
My first trip to Mongolia was 12 years ago. I went to volunteer for a charity working with Przewalkski horses, rare and endangered, they have been said to
be the last wild horse remaining in the world. Honestly speaking, I went there on a personal journey, that was not really about volunteering or horses. Mongolia felt to me to be, perhaps, the last wild place, and for once, I wasn’t flooded with images and pre determined notions of what I might encounter before even stepping onto the flight.
My initial body of work and first solo exhibition ‘the emptiness of a land with no fences’ was back in 2006, which followed my first trip to Mongolia, I guess you could say I’ve been obsessed with the place ever since. The work was a series of landscapes & portraits, I wanted to capture the vast openness and sheer space of the place, and the resulting images are very beautiful, perhaps in a very obvious sense, more of an overview, observing from afar.
My curiousity, and unexplained connection to that place has compelled me to keep returning, the ongoing search for the unfamiliar & unnoticed. Since that initial trip, I’ve stepped closer in, and I've become more embedded in the place. My imagery now is quite different to then. In this series i wanted to move away from the imagery thats consistently portrays Mongolia only in a traditional sense, touristic views of yurts, eagle festivals, wrestling etc. Twelve years later, there’s definitely been a shift, in Mongolia, and in myself. Perhaps I feel more confident in my work, and what I’m searching for, it’s far more defined. Certainly in the recent trips, I think Mongolia has allowed me to almost shut down, away from the digital world, of being so overwhelmingly flooded with images, its been a new way of working and seeing.
The images oscillate between a sense of belonging and then something quite incongruous. As with the ‘Pom Pom Girls’, and the ‘Wrapped Sculptures’, the colours & textures sit awkwardly against an often natural barren landscape. A traditional way of life, with Western influences creeping in. I have gained wonderful friendships over the years, I work closely with a Mongolian friend, who helps me to research the areas and subjects that I want to shoot, which are often his friends and family, it’s a lovely way of working, so going back feels more and more like home I guess.
As-well as the ongoing personal work, I've also returned commercially. I directed a short film for artisanal brand Maiyet, documenting the ‘Fair’ cashmere project, which supports the livelihoods of nomadic herding communities in the remote regions of the Gobi Desert.
I’m now editing the vast array of Mongolian images into a series that will form the basis of a exhibition and book.
For me, photography really is placing yourself in the way of the unknown, in the way of beauty. There are times and places, aren’t there in life, that can feel like turning points, that leave a mark on you. Mongolia is that for me and perhaps my projects there will never really end.
Abstract & Fine Art