THE PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY GUIDE
The Guide provides background information about:
Outside the Guide, elsewhere on this website, information and advice is available on viewing and touring the Photograph Galley, on images and large/poster size printing, on design for both home and commercial environments, and on how to purchase photographs.
For people who do not wish to visit the Photograph Gallery, but just want a collection of images to browse, then a Micro-Thumbnail Photograph Gallery is provided.
The Photograph Gallery is divided into two wings: ‘Nature’ and ‘Abstract & Modern’.
seems such an obvious category that it is difficult to define. Virtually all the photographs were taken
within walking distance of the photographer’s home, a few miles North of
Bournemouth (a town to the West of the middle of the South coast of
There are three main sources for the ‘Nature’ photographs: (1) the beautiful Japanese wife’s garden; (2) other people’s front gardens as seen from the road; and (3) from the various walks and Commons that surround the family home (Kinson Common and Turbary Common, in particular).
‘Abstract & Modern’ as a category generally covers things technical (the ‘Modern’) and images that are abstracted from their everyday environment so that they acquire a pleasing, aesthetic quality of light, texture and colour that can be valued for their own sake.
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The photographs in the two wings are, of course, related as they are all the work of one person, who follows but two main “Artistic Principles”: (1) the Readymade Principle; and (2) Minimalism.
The Readymade Principle – Usually attributed to Marcel Duchamp in the early part of the 20th. Century, a readymade, or ‘found object’ (French: objet trouvé), is a thing, for example, a urinal, a jar of artist’s brushes, or a young lady’s unmade bed, that is taken out of its normal context and displayed for public scrutiny and appreciation. In its purest form, a readymade should be utterly unaltered by the artist, except to frame it by changing its context.
The Readymade Principle is important to Dr. Diaper because, like psychologists, artists, including photographers, see the world differently. Each person, everyone, does perceive different views of the world, but with artists there is the possibility that they can share their vision, make it public, for others to enjoy. As a photographer, Dr. Diaper wants to share his photographer’s vision, how he sees the everyday world differently, and that his visual world is a beautiful one which, ideally, others may learn to see. As he explains:
“All my photographs are readymades. They are pure readymades. I do not touch the world – I photograph it as I find it. I do not touch the photographs – there is no computer manipulation (except to occasionally trim a border). What I “see” with my camera is what you get in the Photograph Gallery. Anything else would be cheating, and I could neither show people my “photographer’s vision”, or encourage them to see their own world more beautifully.”
Minimalism –Whether accepted as an Art “movement” (c. 1960s-70s?) or not, and that the term means different things to different people, as a photographer, Dr. Diaper is using the term simplistically to limit his readymade photographs to some of the following: a restricted colour palette; highly simplified compositions, and constrained sets of shapes, either single subjects or in complex repetition.
The relationship between the two wings of the Photograph Gallery, ‘Nature’ and ‘Abstract & Modern, can be seen in two contrasting styles of photographs that occur in both wings. First, there is the Simplicity Style, where, for example, a single flower, or a telegraph pole, provide an immediate visual impact, but which have a detailed level of complexity that can be inspected and enjoyed over time, hence “complexity through simplicity”. Second, there is the Complexity Style, where, for example, a photograph of nothing but tree leafs might be first seen as a blur of colour, attractive in itself, and only over time will the viewer see the pattern’s simplicity in the single generic leaf shape’s repetition, hence “simplicity through complexity”. Of course, many of the photographs use a Mixed Style, particularly when composition is restricted, for example, by the diagonal of a tree against the skyline, i.e. the tree is visually complex but the composition is with the simple diagonal.
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GUIDE TO THE ‘NATURE’ WING
The ‘Nature’ wing of the Photograph Gallery is divided into seven main sections, two of which are further divided into two subsections. There may be more than one Gallery to each section or subsection.
Most, but not all, of the flowers are from gardens, the beautiful Japanese wife’s or other people’s front gardens. The ‘Flowers’ section is divided into two subsections.
The ‘Flowers (Singular)’ subsection generally contains close-up photographs of one, two or a small number of flowers. The photographs are intended to provide immediate, dramatic visual effect. Within each flower, however, there is a detailed, subtle complexity that can be enjoyed after the immediate effect has lessened.
There are a number of galleries, starting with photographs from the Spring and early Summer, 2008, in Flowers (Singular) Gallery 1. Flowers (Singular) Gallery 2 begins with a sequence of photographs of pink tulips which illustrate a set of photographs of the same subject (the “singular” bunch of growing tulips) changing over time and taken under different lighting conditions. The Flowers (Singular) Gallery 3 was opened in September, 2008.
The ‘Flowers (Plural)’ subsection contains mostly photographs of either seas of flowers in a limited colour palette, strongly demonstrating ‘simplicity through complexity’, or patterns of flowers that provide a simplified, and hence powerful, composition. There are the following galleries: Flowers (Plural) Gallery 1, containing photographs from Spring and early Summer, 2008; the Flowers (Plural) Gallery 2 was opened in September, 2008.
The ‘Trees’ section is divided into two subsections: ‘Trees’ and ‘Leafs’ and there are number of galleries.
The ‘Trees (Trees)’ subsection contains photographs that are recognisable as trees and contrast the natural complexity of trunk, branches and leafs, with the simplified overall shapes and compositions they create.
The ‘Tree (Leafs)’ subsection mostly provides images of many leaves, similar to those of the ‘Flowers (Plural)’ photographs that show ‘simplicity through complexity’. A few, mostly close-ups, resemble their opposite, of ‘complexity through simplicity’, as do many of the ‘Flowers (Singular)’ photographs, and many in the ‘Abstract and Modern’ wing of the Photograph Gallery. ‘Trees (Leafs) Gallery 1’ contains photographs from Spring and early Summer, 2008. A second gallery, ‘Trees (Leafs) – Gallery 2’ was started in September 2008.
‘Paths’ are a photographic project of Dr. Diaper’s. The interest is not in their functionality, that paths lead somewhere, but in their visual form, the simple compositions that they naturally create.
The ‘Water’ section reflects that water, on the ground, is the photographers’ friend; it has complex but regular structure, interesting colours, it reflects, and much more. Mere puddles can produce photographs as interesting and pleasing as larger bodies of water.
Love’em or loath’em, ‘Landscapes’ are a popular and unusually demanding photographic genre. They have the advantage of complexity in a meaningful environment, but are challenging when subject free, i.e. when the landscape is the photograph and not just a background to something else. They also tend to have a vertical organisation, of fore-, mid- and back-ground, which people recognise, and photographs can be thus be made visually challenging when these are minimised, e.g. having no mid-ground, or violated, e.g. having non-vertical compositions.
Quite deliberately, not all are blue-sky-picture-postcard photographs, but use rough light in overcast conditions, or morning or evening light, to give a starker, harsher view of the world. On the other hand, green is the hardest colour for an artist to work with, and many of the photographs can be appreciated for their riotous variation in greens, from white to black.
The ‘Nature’ wing’s ‘Miscellaneous’ section is a lucky dip of photographs that didn’t fit elsewhere in the Gallery’s classification scheme.
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GUIDE TO THE ‘ABSTRACT & MODERN’ WING
The ‘Abstract & Modern’ wing of the Photograph Gallery is divided into five main sections, one of which is further divided into three subsections. There may be more than one Gallery to each section or subsection.
The concept of abstract art is psychologically tricky, for both artist and audience, since people are inherently semantic pattern recognisers, that is, our minds develop to place meaning on visual experience, so clouds “look like …” and ink blots are used as a psychological test.
In photographing ‘real things’ to produce abstract images, and without manipulating an image after a photograph is taken, what is being done, to a greater or lesser extent, is to remove an object from its environment so as to produce an image that has some new meaning, for example, about composition, form, space, light and colour. People who care about what was the thing photographed originally probably haven’t quite got the point about abstract art that is abstracted. A still stronger test, only for the cognoscenti, is to be able to see what was the source, yet still see some quite different meanings in the photograph.
As an abstract photographer, the photographs in the ‘Abstract Gallery’ did not arise by chance, or were mistakes, but were deliberately taken for the abstract qualities that Dr. Dan Diaper could see through his camera.
There are three subject specialist subsections to the ‘Urbane Urban’ Gallery which concern Dr. Dan Diaper’s ongoing project using “street furniture” as the source for photographs.
The general aim is to produce striking images from everyday objects that people simply ignore. Most of the photographs in the three galleries thus use the ‘complexity through simplicity’ paradigm to show the humdrum ordinary as the visually extraordinary, if only one inspects and appreciates it. Photographs, particularly when enlarged and displayed, provide a means for people to learn to see the richness that we live in, but are too blind to.
Calling them ‘Talking Posts’, rather than telegraph poles, is a linguistic conceit that attempts to make even the name of the ordinary less ordinary. Generally these photographs graphically cover three aspects of composition and one of texture. Compositionally, first, there is the location and shape of the main subject, the pole, within the frame. Second, there is the sectioning of the sky by the wires and third, how sky and clouds, when present, further divide the visual space. The visual texture and shade around a curved object add complexity, as at times does the mess of wires; it’s amazing that people can actually talk to each other through such a mess.
The ‘Lights’ Gallery in the Urbane Urban section of the Photograph Gallery generally represent a minimalism more extreme than that of photographs in the ‘Talking Posts’ Gallery. These are photographs for the aesthetically brave who can appreciate the pleasing division of space made by the quite simple shapes of the street lights photographed.
The ‘Smokers’ Gallery is about chimneys, which provide a wide diversity of shapes within the constraints of their functionality, i.e. that they have to carry smoke. Chimneys tend to be quite old, so this adds a frisson between the subject and its modern composition abstracted from the chimneys’, often ignored, daily setting.
There are many genres and subgenres celebrating boats, cars, planes, skateboards, and so forth. The photographs in the ‘Transport’ Gallery, however, have the aim of transforming vehicles, or their parts, into Art. Many of the photographs are as abstract as the slavish following of the Readymade Principle allows.
There are no flash photographs in the ‘Indoors’ Gallery. The psychophysics of human eye and camera with respect to luminance (brightness), and much else, are very different. Generally, the photographs exploit this difference. The photographs are part of a long term project of Dr. Diaper’s and are quite different in style, if not in philosophy, from most of the others in the Photograph Gallery.
The ‘Abstract & Modern’ wing’s ‘Miscellaneous’ section is a lucky dip of photographs that didn’t fit elsewhere in the Gallery’s current classification scheme.
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