I am drawn to photographing surfaces: capturing texture, tones and hues; whether it be the weave of a fabric, the grain of a piece of wood or the finish of a wall. I like materials. Rough or smooth to the touch, shiny or matte, monochrome, subtle or vibrant shades, I want to record it all. I want the eye to scan the surface of the photograph and perceive it. I want it to skim over the cracks, the ruptures and the bumps; to flinch at the nicks and splinters; to absorb the palette; to process how the light turns texture and sensory experience into something flat, sleek and smooth: visually stimulating, passively tactile.
The urban environment provides endless fascinating material. I sometimes get strange glances when I point my camera at an ugly crumbling wall with peeling paint instead of a picture perfect view, but in truth I find views a little boring to photograph. I can’t take it all in at once. I would rather pick out the things with my camera which go unobserved, unnoticed. The beauty in the things we pass by and overlook everyday. To me the landscape of decay creates its own elegant charm.
For example, where the sun-scorched paint, once terracotta, has faded to a pastel peach ice-cream sundae shade. Gradually time has worried itself under the brittle surface; its busy hands peeling away bit by bit like a child working at a prized scab to reveal the shiny-tight translucent pink skin underneath, itchy and brand new. Mottled shades of muddy green-grey, parma violet and dirty blue, slowly reveal themselves to form an open wound. Layers of history, memory, and time live in these forgotten walls.
© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012