Michael C Hughes
“I have always been drawn towards a cross between fine art and social documentary photography. The photographic image has strong historical and cultural associations with loss and memory, and my work embraces these themes quite naturally.
However I have more recently been exploring ways of incorporating my image making into sculptural and installation based pieces. Personally I find it fascinating to introduce a non-replication aspect to my work (especially in a digital age of instant reproduction). I enjoy the sense of theatre that this brings to the process and it creates a need to experience the work in place rather than simply consuming an image through a browser.
This exploratory work can be simply through very large format prints, book publishing designs and fully three dimensional work, such as with my Oriental Hearth project.
In my recent exhibition ‘regeneration’, I was looking to explore new ways of image making and expression. Incorporating a mix of portraiture and landscape imagery, combined with sculptural installation pieces, and thereby trying to push and develop my personal work.”
Michael has spent his working life in the visual arts and design industry. He has an MA in Photography from the University of Brighton and also owns and runs the design agency Wild Dog Design, based in Brighton, England.
Previous Exhibition Overview
The Day After This Night
Love and Loss in the Orient
Artist Open House Exhibition
It is dawn and I’m sitting on the 26th floor of a breakfast bar in Asia. The few early morning guests sit in rows, eating silently and stare out across the city through vast plate glass windows.
On the streets below, the people pay their respects at the temple; praying for good fortune. Everywhere there is industry, fashion, hunger, lust, traffic, faith, trade, grief, pleasure, compassion, passion; the conditional and the unconditional – ceaseless, unstoppable constant endeavour.
Suddenly, and very menacingly, black crows have found something of interest a few floors below. They suddenly swoop up past me, rising on the air current; they turn gracefully mid-air and dive back down with ferocious intent.
I sense the impending violence. It is unstoppable. It feels like destiny.
There will be change.
The Day After This Night is a photographic project that considers how events can consume and overwhelm us. There is a very human approach to try and control our lives, but frequently we are left simply endeavouring to process an event and adapt to the consequences.
Whilst my images geographically cover street life, landscapes and portraiture from across Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand and Singapore, they touch on a common humanity that transcends simple boundaries. From the tsunami hit region of Japan, to Khmer Rouge survivors in Cambodia through to the decayed elegance of Yangon and the motorbike madness of Saigon, there is an overwhelming energy – both natural and man-made. At one time gloriously compassionate, charming and graceful; in the next, unspeakably destructive through to downright evil.
Our lives at times seem so complicated, and yet at other moments, it is apparent that we are of no significance at all. It is this human struggle to accept either state that interests me as an artist.
The Day After This Night
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All images & text Copyright Michael C Hughes