Thursday, 17 January 2013

Worth a Look: Andy Hughes

Image by Andy Hughes

I’m not sure how I first came across Andy Hughes polemical work Dominant Wave Theory (I think it was the journal of the London Independent Photographers). It was love at first sight. His pictures are of the detritus washed up or left on beaches. His argument is that we all play a part, even if passively and carelessly, in destroying our coastlines and oceans.

Image by Andy Hughes

His pictures have an immediate resonance for me; close up, flash lit subjects set in context. The images are bright, colourful and highly detailed and the eye is immediately drawn to the subjects which dominate the picture space. Every detail is revealed by the additional lighting, and skies are often rendered dark and heavy. The images are often beautiful, even if the subject is not, and it is this counterpoint that make them so compelling. While the viewer decodes the image, a realisation dawns on how this sandal, sandwich wrapper, oil drum might have got there. Bright, happy birthday balloons are either left or lost on the beaches; left for others to clear up. Other flotsam and jetsam will have had a longer journey onto the rocks and sands of the shore and keep adding to the problem. It easy to think that this has always been the way, but the diversity of subjects and the durability of many of the modern materials presented indicate that this is a big and growing problem.

Image by Andy Hughes

Dominant Wave Theory is one book that I keep returning to. It is a photo book that genuinely has something to say and says it well. This large square book of 189 pages is also well designed, and carries no less than four essays that are directly relevant to the subject of coastal pollution. The book was published in 2007, but I believe that there are still a few copies available for purchase out on the web.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice one :) Andy Hughes