Currently feeling a little stranded, I feel it’s appropriate to look at a photographers work I have a personal vested interest in. Stephen Gill does not fall into any one of the conventional categories associated with photography (sill life, portraiture, landscape etc) and instead pushes his concepts and ideologies to the forefront. It is this approach to photography that I feel I can relate to. Possibly this is due to my current inability to place my own work in one of the aforementioned categories, however I also believe that restriction to a certain category within art is a contradiction in terms. Conformity is one thing but strict categorization is an entirely different area and in my opinion, at it’s core, destructive.

Still life?

Still life?

Landscape?

Landscape?

Portraiture?

Portraiture?

Of course many artists can maintain creativity within the constraints of a certain category, but in most cases these categories are obtained through personal choice. The destructive qualities of categorization are embodied by those who feel compelled to label themselves as one thing or another. As a student photographer I am learning, in the conventional sense, however no matter how experienced we are there is an ongoing element of inherited knowledge. It is important not to forget that, and when an opportunity presents itself not to dismiss it if it does not fall into “your category”. Style is nothing without substance.

It seems somewhat counter productive to mention any one of Gill’s portfolio pieces as there is so much to be gained by viewing them on his website. Each set of images come with a small caption giving some insight into the basic premise of the piece. However do not let that fool you into thinking there is nothing more to Gill’s work than quirky idea’s.  There is a deep social and in some cases political commentary running through all his work that can be overlooked if approached without scrutiny.