Gary Prendergast On The Evolution of His Practice; Part 1
In the next few bite size articles Gary talks, in his own words, about how his practice has evolved and the little ( and big!) nuances that led to shift in approach but with the ever present link to type, design & crafting/ capturing an image.
For me, the introduction to darkroom processes was a major part of my creative evolution. I had enrolled on a National Diploma in Photography course in the late 1980s, at that point in time my photographic output was mainly abstract, consisting of interesting shadows and shapes that I would find on walks around Stockport. When we were taught how to develop film and then make prints in the black and white darkroom, I soon realised that this was a process that I could utilise to make other images, I stopped using the camera and started to make work in the darkroom using a variety of off-cuts, photocopies and typographic elements, usually through Letraset. This revealed something to me, that I was a designer or perhaps an image maker and not a photographer, in my photography I had always been looking for design and now I was creating it.
The move from the black and white darkroom to the colour darkroom opened up that next stage of exploration. Projects at college that I remember enabled me to use the colour darkroom as a working method were firstly one called The Body, that was basically it as a brief, those two words and a self-initiated project. For the ‘body’ project I focused on the inside of the body and used photocopies of chromosomes from a medical book and a slice of ham, which I sandwiched between sheets of acetate in the 5” X 4” negative carrier. The result was a real eye opener, I had no idea that the result would be as it was and I learnt a lot from that experiment. Experiments for the self-initiated work explored using handwriting, this was a secret written over itself to obliterate it and then taped to sheets of orange acetate.
The next excerpt will be hitting the blog next Monday… so stay tuned or subscribe for updates!