Inside this issue
Gardener, more often seen with camera than with spade to highlight plants within the landscape. Increasingly drawn to the use of multiple exposures for an interpretive approach to photography.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Trees and woods are a perennial favourite for many photographers, offering plenty of scope for personal interpretations. Michael’s images hint at their mystery but also tease with paint like flecks of colour and light. Plants form part of his make-up and connection with the natural world; how has he come to photography and what role does this now play for him?
Can you tell me a little about yourself – your education, early interests and career? Do you still work in horticulture/ecology?
From early on I had an interest in plants and the natural world. For a long time though I wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow a scientific path or a more artistic one which lead to studying both art along with sciences at A-level. After this I went to study horticulture at university although at the time I had no real idea what work I wanted to end up doing or even what it could lead to. Horticulture is an applied science so rather than dealing with pure theory everything relates to physical problems that I could visualise and get my head around so this worked well for me.
After working in commercial fresh produce roles for a year or so I realised that such work was not for me and started to look for other work within the plant world. I successfully applied for what seemed to me like a dream job which was working as a gardener in the tropical biome at the Eden Project. Here, as part of an enthusiastic team, we fought with giant bamboo, climbed on ropes and flew in a helium balloon in order to reach the tree tops. This was a fun and stimulating place in which to work and I consider myself lucky to have had this experience and still associate with the work of a gardener even though I no longer do such practical work.
I do still work with plants as I’m currently employed in the field of plant health which sees me hunting for pests and diseases on imported plants.