Photographs and Signs

The eye picks up patterns everywhere; pattern, lines, composition are the basic elements of a halfway decent photograph, along with (especially in black and white images) form and texture. Look beyond pattern, however, and what you see is signs: not necessarily symbols, which are more potent, and harder to create, but the signs – literal, enigmatic, ambiguous, suggestive – that are littered everywhere.

The world in that sense is coded, as much cleverer people have pointed out. In my photographs, I find I am increasingly trying to ‘see’ beyond pattern and form and the traditional elements, to the landscape of signs. Sometimes the sign is in an object, sometimes in the juxtaposition of things, sometimes in the abstract design or bringing together of elements that are separate and disparate.

In the barn and tractor, for example, the tyre seems (to my mind at least) to call up, not only the notion of ploughing the land, but the pressure of work, encroaching upon, even threatening, perhaps, the barn in the background.