Hermann Melville famously reflected upon “the times of dreamy quietude, when beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean’s skin”. The source of Melville’s beauty and brilliancy is light itself, and it is the mutually transformative effects of light and water that Tom explores in this exhibition. In some light conditions, the sea can act as a giant mirror, while in others, it becomes a multitude of prisms and lenses.
The sea reflects, bends and diffuses light, changing how we see it, and shaping our vision as it does so. The work in this exhibition attempts to connect the viewer, with the luminous, shape-shifting seascapes of Argyll, enabling a rather different experience of the region’s Light by the Sea.
Tom says of his work:
“Photography is a discipline that's often defined by "capturing", decisive moments, and photographic images are frequently regarded as frozen fragments of light in time. But in my work, I instead use light as a medium for immersive contemplation: a more painterly medium, perhaps, that extends the time-bound click of the shutter into a drawn-out moment of reflection. Through the use of long exposures, intentional camera movement and multiple exposure techniques, photography allows me to paint with whatever light is available, enabling a photographic moment to bend, shift, and expand itself through time. Painting with light in this way also means I'm able to create a sense of place that I find both evocative and deeply palpable, whether I'm working with the shifting wash of moonlight over the still waters of Loch Fyne, or pale winter light caught through crashing Atlantic waves. Movement is central to my approach, which many people may find surprising. You will find two kinds of movement in these images: the movement of the subject in relation to the camera...or the movement of the camera in relation to the subject. In each case, moving the camera, lengthening the shutter speed, or exposing an image multiple times enables me to bend and shift light in ways that I hope suggest it's evocative and ephemeral nature. I am always looking for interesting ways to transform the time-bound click of the shutter into a drawn out slow moment of reflection. I hope you enjoy this series of images, and through them reflect, as I have often done, on Argyll's distinctive, familiar and endlessly inspiring Light by the Sea.”
TOM SAYS OF HIS SOUND SKETCHES:
"To accompany the photographs in this exhibition, I have made a series of sound sketches drawing on my embodied experience of these landscapes, and the physical and environmental data associated with the project. First, I record ambient sounds of the places and moments in which these images were first created. Then I ‘translate’ the lightwaves of the image into soundwaves using a wavetable synthesiser - that is - the literal ‘shape’ of light in the image is re-made into a signature waveform - a sort of audible equivalent of what your eyes are seeing when you are standing in front of the image. And then the image’s actual location comes into play in a different way! Using the Ordnance Survey grid reference numbers for the places where each photograph was taken, I create short arpeggios and chord sequences using the pentatonic scale, enabling the image’s map co-ordinates to take on a melodic form. Finally, using a process of creative layering, I combine the light soundwaves, locational melodies and ambient recordings into the finished sound sketches which accompany this short film."