The photographs in this series were made in Brighton and Hove during 2010. They feature objects and creatures that I scooped up from the local surroundings and introduced into the body of my camera.
I hoped through this approach to encourage the spirit of the place to clamber aboard the images and be encapsulated in the film emulsion, like objects embedded in amber. My aim was to evoke the feeling of the area at the same time as describing its appearance.
This technique meant I was grappling at the point where intention collided with chance. It gave me less control, and there was a considerable element of surprise, but working with photography’s weaknesses alongside its subjective descriptive strengths is a challenge I enjoy.
The results included some highly detailed macro recordings amongst and within the landscapes and portraits. I like to think of these photographs as in-camera photograms in which conflict or harmony has been randomly formed in the final image depending on where the objects landed.
I also used a magnifying glass to concentrate the Brighton sunlight onto some of the negatives in order to etch markings directly onto the image. Some of the negatives I dipped in the sea. I was imagining and hoping the finished series would be like the regurgitated contents of a giant vacuum cleaner.
Editors' Note: The series "Outside In" was commissioned for the Brighton Photo Biennial 2010 by Martin Parr.
The world that Michael Paul Smith has imagined is many things at once: a 1950's utopia, a delicate illusion and a testament to the engrossing power of our fantasies.
Now Open in Vienna—"Seen on Earth"!
Aesthetically stunning (and deeply disturbing), this series aims to stimulate social awareness of our use of plastic bags—the planet's most ubiquitous consumer item—which can be found littered across the natural world.