Like Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nobuyoshi Araki, Wolfgang Tillmans and Corinne Day, I am opening up my life to the camera, but unlike these photographers I’m not doing it by photographing my antics with friends or my subculture in society, I’m doing it with visual metaphors that reflect Self, a thought, a process or a psychic condition. This could be construed as a Self-portrait, but there are few pictures of me, it would be more accurate to call it a Mind-portrait.
The Surrealist project was to divulge the workings of the unconscious mind, to show how the mind worked in the “background” under the social surfaces. To externalize the mind’s processes of thought, invention and distortion; of making symbols out of objects by attaching meaning to them; and to make apparent the instinctive drives that colour psychological activity.
My work follows this pattern where images are visual metaphors, thoughts distilled as images and pictograms of existential and psychic states. They are like dream images in a way, not entirely ‘conscious’ – and not concrete in the objective descriptive sense. Something has altered that plain registering of reality and given it an altered mood. They have a metaphorical charge which, I hope, acts as a kind of punctum that stands out with the power of a realization or a dream symbol. They are mostly images of everyday subjects but in such a way as to offer new insights, interpretations and imaginative juxtapositions – changing a footprint in a wet pavement into a metaphor of life’s transience or the end of a road into a symbol for the border between civilization and nature. This liminal philosophical space is where a lot of my photography is situated, in the difficult existential questions about the meaning of life, questions of human integrity, faith and doubt, the unbearable lightness of being.
Robert Enoch, July 2016