Photography as Critical Practice
I have added two pages of photographs to this site. Photography has always been part of my fine art practice, along with (and sometimes merged into) painting.
(I also have a professional commercial photography practice where more refined, possibly more ‘arty’ photographs reside, but I do not regard that as part of this work and it has its own separate site: www.stephenrileyphoto.co.uk
The sculptor Richard Wentworth posited that the most interesting sculptures are to be found on the street. I am inclined to agree, and the photographs represented here are part of an engagement with what happens (mostly) on the street. Urban space is one big canvas on which communications are constantly written and erased, as people and organisations compete for the attention of anonymous passers-by.
Once you started looking in that way, almost all public space is covered with messages - keep out, buy this, believe in that, I am successful, I hate this, I am disillusioned, I am overcome with love or grief, and so on - along with officially sanctioned and illegal creativity. I’m also struck by the essential weirdness of what we often surround ourselves with but fail to notice because we are so inured to it. Reframing such things to defamiliarise is also part of this. But I’m also interested the formal qualities of space, either as it already is, or as it becomes once it exists in the particular context of the photographic medium. Consequently, the exploration sometimes spills over into further experimentation in the editing process.
There are two pages of these photographs on the links below. Others will be added in time.