|Jackson, Luminogram study #98, 2015|
|Jackson, Luminogram study #216, 2015|
|Jackson, Luminogram study #115, 2015|
Michael Jackson is a photographer from Pembrokeshire, Wales (UK). He lives in a darkish valley just a short distance from the ocean, a proximity that has had a major influence on his work. He hikes along the cliffs, stares out at the rocky stacks off the coast, or he descends to the tidal coves and spends hours and days alone with his camera, studying eddies in the sand, patterns of flux and reflux. He listens, watches, and feels. He meditates.
|the artist on the sea-cliffs|
Back in the studio, he seeks ways of transmuting this heightened experience into images on paper that will remain a source of continual challenge and excitement for him - to the point where, in fact, it is these that become the main event. He calls it 'creative play'. Years of working in the darkroom have honed his method to a fine pitch and reduced it to its essence, which is the study of light itself: what light can do to fool or enchant our perceptions when it's bounced off the silver compounds in the paper, what magic-lantern effects it leaves us bedazzled with. If this sounds just a little familiar it should be, for these things, these prints, have been known as luminograms since Moholy-Nagy in the 1920s. Mike had no idea until Gottfried Jäger pointed it out to him - he thought he'd invented it by himself, the same story many an alt-photographer tells about his or her corner of the craft.
He uses no camera - doesn't need it - and no film. As to the light, it may shine squarely down, from an enlarger, or shine rakishly, beaming in from the side; he may have erected scrims or gobos in the light's path or maybe not, depending on inspiration; we do know, or strongly suspect (he's justified in his reticence), that he moves structures around during the exposure, uses torn or folded papers, small constructed models, objects at hand in the darkroom, and maybe even waves his hands back and forth in there too, in a sort of shadow performance. He calls his work 'gestural' if anything, and that's a clue, but even then he's not finished. Think of everything you can do in a darkroom and Mike has done it: double exposures, paper negatives, solarization, more. His technique is evolving with a rapidity only matched by his production - more than one completed print per day over the last six months. Someday, when he's not so busy, Mike will tell us all.
|Jackson, Luminogram study #167, 2015|
|Jackson, Luminogram study #243, 2015|
|Jackson, Luminogram study #102, 2015|
|Jackson, Luminogram study #288, 2015|