This series began to take shape when the global COVID pandemic started and has continued as we tentatively start to look ahead with hope to a brighter future.
Whilst huge challenges lay before us - climate change, natural habitat destruction, loss of wildlife, food and water security and many more - there is also the potential for us to unlock huge positive change. Nuclear fusion, renewable energy and quantum computing are some examples of how advances in technology might help us. But for us to stand a chance, we need to find a shared vision. Political soundbites, fake news and the social media echo chamber; these forces all feed off and maintain the division. Instead, we need to find the universal truths that we can agree on. There is much more that we share than we find difference with.
This project began when I started experimenting with fire and making shapes, discovering I could create symbols. They take many hours to construct and up to 10 minutes to burn in the pitch black of my darkroom. It is the light of fire itself which is imprinted on the negative and the final image is present only in the photographic form, on the long-exposed 8x10 negative.
It was within this process that I landed on the idea of symbols and how humans are unique in their ability to make fire but also in their recognition of and imbuing of meaning to symbols. It is our ability to bond around shared ideas, often represented by symbols, which has bought us out of the smaller groups of pre history and into modern large scale human cooperation. In making them, each of these shapes and symbols brought to me a sense of wonder, love and sometimes fun. They felt essential.
It is my wish that in seeing these images, there is a feeling of something bigger that we are all part of and a sense of unity that we can go towards together and share in.
Video about this project here