On photography: that which the arts cannot express and the sciences cannot explain


Whilst studying for my MA in the early 1990s I was became aware of a photographic discourse that had been raging away whilst I had been totally and purposefully immersed in the commerciality of photographing models and consumerist objects. Through my engagement and immersion in this discourse I came to realise that one of the major reasons for my love of the media was the fact of its accessibility and democratic availability; photography being the most democratic of media. Everyone is a photographer, although they may not add this skill to their CV or LinkedIn profile, they nevertheless understand their world, communicate and are entertained predominantly through the medium. The ubiquitous camera is now embedded in every digital devices, and thereby through stealth in both the individual and our cultural psyche. Many people’s first reaction to any event is not to engage, but to post an image or better yet a selfie that proves that they are not only reporters of events but were also a first-hand witness. So where is the edge, the divide between a supposedly artistically void “snap” created for the social media or album and an “art”/“professional” photograph? In everyone’s family snaps an innocent art masterpiece resides, and you see these in countless boxes of detritus in house-clearance auctions. Snaps of family friends and events forgotten by following generations become worthless for their initial purpose (aide memoirs, souvenir, trophy), but can then be viewed with a new set of criteria…


My work is about the edges of things (physically, visually, and philosophically) and seeks to establish whether there are any differences between art photography and snaps.


my work is more about me than what I photograph

The simulacrum is never that which cancels truth; it is the the truth that conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. Ecclesiastes

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© Laurence Wells