Stephen Gill: In depth artist research

Stephen Gill was born in 1971 in Bristol, England and developed an interest in photography as a child due to his father’s interest in insects and viewing them under microscopes. Gill studied at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.

I found that his series of work named ‘B Sides’ caught my attention as Gill would focus on texture and lines and capture random everyday objects and scenes and present them in an unusual way. His work is unique and interesting because it shows life in a whole new way and makes me people think about things that they would usually overlook.

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When examining these three images from Gill’s series of work ‘B Sides’ I find that the second image and the third image have similar elements to them because they show outdoor scenes potentially shot in big cities with lots going on. The images themselves are very busy with multiple colours, lines and shapes presented. This differs to the first image as it appears to be an indoor scene possibly showing people waiting to get off a train with the main focus of the image being a woman with a pink rucksack on. The first image is also very dark compared to the other two and shows a less focused image.

When studying the first image, I immediately noticed that it was out of focus and wondered why Gill would do this. I then looked at the picture more closely and thought that maybe the message behind this image is to not judge people from what you see clearly on the outside. For example in this photograph that would be the woman’s hair, coat and rucksack and Gill wants people to look beyond that at the person underneath the material objects and look at her personality and what she is going through in life at that moment. Gill captures everyday objects and scenes and makes them extraordinary, so perhaps the blurry image is intentional to make people look at it in a new way and interpret it on their own.

This image in particular appeals to me because even though it is an everyday scene, as a viewer, I do not know why the woman in the image is there. Maybe she has to move her whole life to another location for some reason, or maybe Gill chose to photograph her because they had an interesting conversation and he wanted to capture it. I like the mystery of the photograph itself with the subject and the out of focus technique.

If I were to improve this photograph, I would include the woman’s facial expression as it would provide the audience with more of an insight to her thoughts, feelings and identity. However, the fact that the woman has her back to the camera is obviously how Gill saw the scene and wanted to document it rather that make it staged. In addition to this, her hidden facial expression provides even more mystery and excitement to the piece as it leaves people wondering why Gill wanted to photograph her in the first place.

I think that Gill’s work makes strong links to my project because he was interested in lines and textures which is what I started looking at when making my work. Gill also wanted to make the ordinary different and allow people to look at it and think about it in new ways, and I am focusing on everyday objects that belong to me that I often ignore and overlook when I should think about them more.

References:

Gill, Stephen, and Will Self. Best Before End. [London]: Nobody, 2014. Print.

Gill, Stephen. Talking To Ants. Print.

Ronson, Jon. ‘Jon Ronson On Photographer Stephen Gill’. the Guardian. N.p., 2004. Web. 11 May 2015.

Stephengill.co.uk,. ‘Portfolio » News’. N.p., 2015. Web. 11 May 2015.

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