Alien bodies

I’ve been thinking more about the connection between what I’m doing in my drawings – especially what the pixelation means in terms of uncertainty, deconstruction and reconstruction – and what I’m doing in my photographs. I have mulled over Jeanette Appleton’s comments about seeing my body as an object and me making that object.

When I was in the studio making the long-exposure photographs, it was just me in front of a white or black backdrop. I had decided to pursue not the idea of me drawing but simply of me moving, with the movement leaving a trace of my body on the image because of the long-exposure. What emerged is something more than or different from just a trace. The act of leaving multiple traces creates the image of an object which is based on my body but is not my ‘real’ physical body. These are not photographs as ‘record of material reality’. There was no moment in which what is shown in the image was ever present in the physical world.



There is something intrinsically alien about an image in which my face appears in the back of my head. The multiple images piled up on each other create an alien figure but could also stand for aspects of myself as they emerge in different moments.




Losing my Way, December 2016: long-exposure photograph; 30cm x 42cm

Losing my Way, December 2016: long-exposure photograph; 30cm x 42cm

When I was printing this one out, Charlotte, the technician in the print room, said it reminded her of an atomic mushroom cloud, which is of course something unnatural and dangerous to the human body.

These photographs have become a way of making something of myself. There’s a certain freedom in the process because I set up the situation, and I’ve learned something about the way the camera captures motion, but the whole thing is not entirely controllable. And when I’ve inverted them, I have even less control over what emerges. But I do control what gets printed.

The final image is me but it’s not me. Which could equally apply to the photographs I’m using as my reference for drawing: it’s me as a child, but it’s not a ‘me’ I always recognise or a ‘me’ who seems connected to who I am now.

The pairs of images are also like alien twins. It’s too reductive to see that just as me/my sister, but there’s no doubt that being a twin raises issues about similarity and difference, the way other people want to see you and the difficulty of being both alike and different.


Drawing on Imagination, December 2016: long-exposure photograph; 30cm x 42cm


Losing my Way, December 2016: long-exposure photograph; 30cm x 42cm

Looking for the Horizon, October, 2016: long-exposure photograph; 30cm x 42cm