For the past thirty-five years Garry Fabian Miller has made photographic images without a camera, working entirely in his darkroom using the techniques of early nineteenth century photographic exploration to...
For the past thirty-five years Garry Fabian Miller has made photographic images without a camera, working entirely in his darkroom using the techniques of early nineteenth century photographic exploration to experiment with the possibilities of light, as both medium and subject. His earliest camera-less photographs looked very closely to the pioneers of the medium in the 1830’s, passing light through translucent objects, principally leaves, seedpods and flower heads and using them as transparencies through which light passed onto light-sensitive paper.
From this starting point, essentially rooted in the natural world, he has continued to explore a more abstract form of picture-making, albeit with nature as a continuing presence in horizons and edges, and the movement of light. This rootedness in place owes a great deal to Garry’s life lived on Dartmoor in the remote south west of England and his daily routine of watching the rising and the setting of the sun.
We’ve worked with Garry since the very early days of the gallery, making six solo shows in 20 years, including most recently ‘Blaze’ which marked the end of an era as analogue photographic materials become extinct in a digital age. Dwindling supplies of paper and chemistry, and the increasingly fugitive nature of his life-learnt methods, saw Garry embracing the perversity of his position in a final blaze of picture-making glory, which filled our gallery with light and colour in the winter months.
The work shown here as the 30th step in The Unseen Masterpiece was made just before lockdown. This week’s film of the artist in his darkroom and studio was filmed by Sam Fabian Miller, the artist’s son, over the course of last couple of weeks. Thank you, Sam.