Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
I was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England, married and moved to Texas in 1968. The landscape of my youth continues to influence my work. I am now an “intimate stranger,” I know the place and understand the people, yet I have a certain distance – an ideal vantage point for a photographer.
The Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool, England commissioned this series of images for an exhibition called “Honky Tonk” that explores the similarities between the “honky tonk” culture found in both places. Country and western music was brought to Liverpool by sailors and visitors traveling to the United States as well as by GIs stationed at Burtonwood a nearby air force base and has remained popular there. Liverpool is known as the “Nashville of the North” according to music historian Kevin McManus.
I have always been interested in sites that have a sense of history and an aura of time past. This series brings me back to my roots shooting “straight” and printing unmanipulated images. Humor is certainly a part of this series and has been present in some of my other bodies of work and I was especially drawn to the quirky juxtapositions of signs and objects I found in both Texas and Liverpool honky tonks.
Texas is a mythic state where cowboys, Indians and country and western singers loom large in its pantheon. Similar iconography appears in the Liverpool landscape along with tributes to Liverpool’s own legendary musicians like the Beatles. Both Texas and Liverpool have a reputation for rugged individualism.
In this body of work I speak to the duality of human experience by presenting the world as a complex mélange of objects and ideas where unlikely juxtapositions and the past and the present coexist. My work is rooted in and refers to traditional photographic practice; however, I use contemporary tools to capture and create the images. I wish to produce images that will require viewers to confront the artistic and theoretical consequences of the digital “revolution.”