Ok so I’m biased, many people are biased….ok correction, many people love this work and love the man behind it, the two marry up incredibly well together and you can’t help (I don’t think) but become transfixed, drawn in to world of vernaculars woven with mystique and intrigue.
Each time I visit these pieces, or new works, I feel impish and excitable. I know I won’t be disappointed, and that I will see layers of story, and feel delicately challenged (rare in some cases of photography now and uplifting when it happens). I will feel like I am sneaking a look at a world just within my grasp or finger tips, and my imagination will run away with me.
I ponder that connection you feel with photography, when you ‘get it’ and the difference of when you just don't engage. I’ve been careful to ask myself if it is more so when you know the creator, and yes, to a certain degree that helps, but the endurance of an image can sometimes be through recognising certain elements within the frame, certainly with this work your mind and eyes dance looking, questioning the elements within it.
The use of cyanotpyes in this way is exquisite. I know personally how long each of these took to create, I know and understand the process which was involved, the long exposures in sunlight, our photo magician using his lunch breaks** to return to his studio or table and turn and move the pictures and elements within it. Each of these images took many hours, if not days and it is a joy to see them collated all together in this book.
The Blue Poet Dreams, Brenton Hamilton.
Full of texture and hand crafted pieces, I am drawn at first to '1.The Aquatic’. I love the whole book but maybe it’s the painterly qualities I am drawn back to, or the construct of white and blue, or the hidden, just detectable body, with the touch of geometry…? In ’54.Shadow of a Woman’ it is no accident the top left corner has been carefully cut away and then returned to a position which fits, not exactly but closely to it’s original lines, each element of these constructs so carefully placed and the circular images..well, it’s no secret I am a fan of this modern usage (I have been known to dance with it myself).
Whether you are crazy about alternative processes or not, captivated by photography (because lets not pretend it’s letting you go anywhere) or a lover or appreciator of art, this joyous ensemble is delicious…(oh and I really love ’11.All the Mornings of the World’..the composition, colours..peachy tones and blue..).
Brenton has a phenomenal knack, his is the most succinct and honest raw talent for seeing - for creating and for teaching. He is brilliant at sharing his wealth of knowledge about a process and processes which are finding their way back in to our lives and should you wish to peruse a body of work which will challenge you to look a little harder, to untangle the figures, decipher the fruits, the layerings and the hearts and inspire you: this is it. Am I biased? Yes. Am I a romantic captivated by a photographic process as old as can be? Yes, yes! Would I like to see more? …completely and my favourite recent images is ‘Devoured’ (see below). x
Brenton has a solo show opening at the TILT Gallery in AZ February 5th 2015, from what I’ve seen, it's a mix of Ambrotypes (sigh) and Cyanotypes.
**Brenton Hamilton was my Photography Professor.
The Blue Poet Dreams by Brenton Hamilton is published by Obscura Press. For further information and ordering details visit their website.