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Gravelly Hill Interchange 1 - Andy Feltham - Ultrashop

More about Andy Feltham

How did you choose your means of expression?

I was gifted an enthusiast compact camera as a wedding present from my wife in 2010. I had found my outlet… I was hooked! I’ve been obsessively refining my technique ever since.

‏Is this medium secondary to or closely linked to your subject?

Definitely closely linked. By its nature, the exposure and framing of a photographic image can allow the viewer to experience life as they wouldn’t see it with their own eyes. It is this surrealism that I hope to harness, both visually and conceptually.

‏What material do you use and why?

Full frame digital (Pentax K1) and medium format film (Mamiya 7). Perched on a tripod they provide a fine combination of portability with jaw-dropping image quality.

‏How does a work session take shape?

A pair of comfy shoes and a hike into the unknown.

Can you explain to me how your work has evolved since starting out?

My style began to crystallise after my second year of photography. At that stage I often used Photoshop or Lightroom to remove extraneous elements in the image, but more recently I tend to embrace the imperfections within a scene. I think that they provide extra narratives; sub-plots within the overall piece.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

Do your origins and culture play a role in the works that you produce?

My culture and lineage are inextricably linked to who I am today and consequently how I scrutinise and frame the world.

Which events have influenced you most?

Major life events such as my wife’s diagnosis of breast cancer and the birth of my two children have had an essential impact on my output. Photography plays a hugely therapeutic role in my life, whether the sea is calm or choppy.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Film, the Human Condition and photobooks… lots of photobooks.

Are there any anecdotes that enable
the genesis of your work to be understood?

It wasn’t until my first monograph, Incidental VIew, was published by Camera Infinita in March 2017 that I truly understood why I was drawn to capturing so many walls in the series… I was photographically building barriers around me, my garden shed of escape!

Are current events taken into account in your production
or on the contrary do you distance yourself from them?

When I’m creating work, I am entirely guided by intuition. Analysis of the content comes later, so in that respect, I would say that I distance myself from whats going on.

ON A MORE
PHILOSOPHICAL NOTE

Are your works more of a dialogue, a trace or a denunciation?

They are often all three, but always with a leaning towards a dialogue with the viewer.

Do you wish to make viewers wonder or do you prefer to question them?

For me, a great image always has an element of mystery so my hope is that I make work that instills some curiosity within the viewer, an enigma to solve.

How do you view human beings,
and consequently your work?

Complex and simple, refined and animalistic.

How would you compare your last work with the next?

My unachievable aim is to consistently advance the work, which means I’m finding it harder and harder to create photographs that I feel I haven’t taken before.

Is art poetry or social intervention?

Art needs to provoke some sort of reaction with the viewer, preferably one that is both visceral and cerebral. The extent to which art can change the world depends entirely on ones definition of change, but its implementation can certainly be poetic.

IN CONCLUSION

How do you view your own work?

Most of the time with an extremely critical eye – I find it is seldom good enough! I believe this self-flagellation is a fundamental ingredient for the progression of ideas.

What are your current and future projects?

Many of the pieces on Ultrashop are from the series In Vivo, an ongoing project trying to make sense of my lovely wife’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. I am also currently working on Picture of Health which is an exploration of the current state of the NHS at my local hospital.

‏Do you have anything else to add?
I’ll let you have the last word…

The Beatles were right, love is all you need!