John Brooks Art & Photography

My work as an artist photographer features the world around us viewed in an alternative way, one that seeks out the extraordinary that lies within the ordinary. Parts of the environment by which we are surrounded are often overlooked despite being plainly within our view. I have for many years been inspired by the commonplace object or landscape and the hidden aspects of that subject matter. Without selecting a microcosm of the subject it is still possible to present the viewer with a radically different perspective of the ordinary by drawing their attention to the potential of the subject by virtue of its shape, colour, texture, shadows, juxtaposition or transient condition rendered by human interference.

Having studied painting and drawing at college I developed a strong passion for abstraction which soon expressed itself through my photography. I discovered that the camera could actually present a subject in that way without manipulation in the darkroom. Throughout this period I was inspired by Hockney as a painter and later the genius of Callaghan the photographer and more recently Steve Hiett, Robert de Gast, Paul Graham and Joel Meyerowitz.

I started using medium and large format cameras when I was in my early twenties working in colour. The 6cm x 6cm and 6cm x 4.5cm roll film formats which I still use require careful consideration of the geometry of the composition. In addition to digital I still use 5 x 4 plate cameras which allow a greater control over the perspective of subjects.

A camera Is not needed to compose a study of the subject and I will often consider my compositions over a period of weeks or months before committing them to film or memory card. This enables me to evaluate the differing effects of light which must be used to create the final image as the time of day or year will make a big difference to the resulting image.

My preference for a photographic image over painting or drawing stems from the challenge presented by using this medium. Traditionally photography was considered as an artistic cheat by virtue of its “simplicity” of use, and for colour photography the “Pretty” pictures which were produced. My initial aim was to prove that a good image requires skill and creativity to produce and that the work may not necessarily be considered ”Pretty”.

Some of my work may be considered to be stark but my aim is to cause the viewer to be excited, stimulated, shocked, surprised or invited to consider the subject of the image in a new way by the different perspective presented to them. I also create images which contain people as I have developed my study of the urban landscape and changing faces of villages, towns and cities both here and in other continents. Locations such as China and Cuba and North Africa are particularly suitable for these studies.

My current work returns more to my earlier subject matter of rural landscape but with a focus on the effects of man on his environment. Industrial subjects are considered in the context of both urban and rural environments combining the beauty and contrast of these two seemingly opposing elements with some breath-taking results.