The Lagoon project was born in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic when the world ground to a halt and most of my work as a graphic designer was put on hold. In need of a creative outlet to occupy my mind and time, I began experimenting with images I’d taken on a recent trip to Crail and making my own double exposures.
This eventually gave rise to ‘Lagoon’ and what started as a source of solace during lockdown has now become my main creative outlet as I sell my work at markets and online and exhibit at galleries.
The name Lagoon comes from a little tongue-in-cheek joke as this was what I nicknamed my living room throughout many months of lockdown. I turned my small space into an oasis (or lagoon) of creativity and despite the difficulties of this period, my lagoon became a place filled with happy memories. I created a small, dreamy haven in which to take refuge from the tumultuous dystopia of living through a pandemic. It’s still where I work today.
There is an added irony in the name Lagoon as this word might usually evoke bright, natural imagery, while my work is monochromatic and often focuses on urban areas. I aim to create a surrealist, sometimes dreamy, sometimes nightmarish feel to my work which feels fitting as Lagoons are often considered places full of mystery and intrigue.
My first, late-night attempt at creating a double exposure still sits clearly in my mind and the final piece remains a favourite in the collection. Working with scanned digital copies of film photographs I had taken - one a view from my flat and the second taken in the centre of Frankfurt, Germany - the shots were layered over each other using Photoshop. The surreal outcome of marrying two photographs together particularly struck a chord at a time of strange and heavy restrictions on our usual freedoms. The original, separate compositions come together to create a contradictory place which simultaneously does and does not exist; which we can and cannot explore. Reminiscent, perhaps, of the notion that the places and people we see in dreams are the product of real experiences, woven together by our minds to design a new environment. From the comfort and confinement of my home, digging out photographs taken on my Olympus analogue camera became a way to discover and create new spaces and places whilst the outside world was off-limits.
As a collection, these works subscribe to the surrealist genre, creating dreamlike - and in some cases, nightmarish - scene-scapes. Broadly speaking, the themes in this body of work include natural, urban and liminal spaces, examining the antagonism in the flourishing of artistic freedom and escapism in a time of constraint and limitation.
This project has taught me a lot and I’m still learning each day that I step out with my camera or enter my Lagoon to work on edits. As I continue to work on this project, my ideas, concepts, inspiration and techniques keep evolving. I like experimenting and figuring out different methods for allowing two images to naturally (or unnaturally) coexist. This could be through using different angles, perspectives, white space, mirrors and windows.
I enjoy the challenge of finding subject matter that interests me to photograph and subsequently turn into a double-exposure artwork. I find that inspiration can come from spotting something while out walking that sparks an idea in my mind to explore further, or from a lyric from a song which creates an image in my head that inspires me. Sometimes inspiration simply comes from reviewing my recent photographs and piecing them together in unexpected ways to create something interesting. I think a lot of my work is quite instinctive and natural. I’m always striving for visual impact and while some of this may come with a preconceived concept or narrative, they are always open to interpretation.
After a successful solo show in 2022, I have continued to create new artwork and I’m delighted to have been involved in group exhibitions with a second solo exhibition planned for Spring 2023.