-18 Degrees

These are photographs of a world without daylight. Each is made on large-format plate film, on the night of a full moon, and after astronomical dusk, when the sun has dipped to more than -18 degrees below the Earth’s horizon. "I shoot the -18 Degrees photographs on the coasts of Great Britain, Italy, Wales, and Scotland, long after everyone else - save perhaps for the rare fisherman - has gone to sleep. I stay out all night, and the shutter of my camera remains open for one to three hours at a time. Digital technologies have made it possible for photographers to make similar images in shorter exposures, but for me, there’s magic in the silence of waiting. Throughout the night, the shore shifts; the waves blur, and the clouds dance across a monochromatic, moonlit sky."


These are photographs of places, but they are also photographs of time passing. Over the course of these pivotal midnight hours, the tides come and go; the clouds shift positions, and the skies might grow stormy at any moment. The shutter remains open, and the camera records all the details that are too short-lived for the human eye to register. "Moonlight is a return to the sea, where I grew up and where all life is believed to have originated, but it’s also a return to the basics of photography. There are no shortcuts in my world, and of course, I am unable to see any of the Moonlight pictures until they are developed. No photoshop, and no instant gratification." We see traces of human life in many of the Moonlight photographs— lights, trails, concrete— but while we might own these places during the day, they belong to the sea and the moon at night. For this reason, the Moonlight pictures might be unnerving to some viewers, but for others, like me, they are a comfort and a respite from a busy, noisy world.


Navigate is not about lighthouses. These small and unexceptional markers have not inspired generations of men and women, and that’s part of their appeal. "In my estimation, I have devoted days, if not weeks, to finding these structures on foot. I’ve walked more miles than I can count, and since I embarked on the project, others have started recognising them and pointing them out to me. I shoot the Navigate pictures at sunset on large format film. Exposures last anywhere from one to eight seconds, and in that time, I have little control over what happens. The light at dusk is unpredictable; the tide is constantly in motion. The only thing that doesn’t change is the marker itself. Here, the sea - feral and primordial- and the markers - rigid and manmade - exist for just a moment in equilibrium. The form and composition of the Navigate photographs mirror my own experience making them. When I wander the beach at golden hour, watching for last light, I am at peace with the rolling of the waves. Tomorrow, the tide might come and wash us all away, but for now, at least, we rest."