As artists, we all have stories that we never get to tell.
You know what I’m talking about. Random prints stuffed in a drawer. A box of old slides gathering dust on a shelf. An unimportant photoshoot that sits unedited on an old hard drive. Individual images that don’t fit into any series or projects. Failed experiments, darkroom test strips, bits and pieces here and there that accumulate over time, never shown, never seen. Forgotten.
For the last few months I’ve been on a quest to declutter my life - a process that has uncovered a lot of unexpected things, including an array of images that have never really seen the light of day.
Logic tells me that if I haven’t used them or missed them for years, they must not be all that important and therefore should be ruthlessly discarded. However, going through these images, I’ve found that they had a profound effect on me - like artefacts of a life lived long ago, traces of past activities and ideas, I couldn’t part with them without acknowledging their once relevant existence.
This is how the Forgotten Stories series was born - I felt that once these images are edited down, organised, scanned and published, their story is told at last, their purpose fulfilled, and I could finally let them go.
Here are just a few of the stories that I’ve come across during this process:
Ryan O’Reilly Band, Portobello (2009)
I had just moved to London and was heading for a walk around Portobello Market, when I came across an amazing Irish band playing on the street. This little story is like a snapshot of a fun sunny day, a happy memory, back when things were just beginning and the future was bright. This must've been one of the first films I've developed and printed in college.
The Colour Story (2010)
This was a uni assignment for the colour darkroom workshop - the goal was to capture as much colour as possible, and later use the lab prints as a reference for producing our own.
Royal Festival Hall (2011)
Another uni workshop, we were asked to produce a body of work in response to a public space, and I’ve spent the first day walking around the building complex, trying to find interesting angles to capture the graphic lines of its modernist architecture. Even though I ended up doing something completely different in the end, I still like this little collection with its strong contrast, sharp lines and dark shadows.
Cloud Studies (2010-2012)
Back in uni days I had produced a collection of cloud images on medium format colour transparency film - I was planning to use them in a mixed-media piece I was making for an assessment, which ended up not being very successful. However, the images remain, and visually I find them as fascinating as ever.
Instant Abstractions (2010-present)
When using expired film, the images fail more often than not, sometimes producing interesting abstract results. These are just a few of the many I have accumulated over the years.