Anne Campbell is a photographer and artist living and working in the North East of Scotland. Alongside teaching analogue photography at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen she shares a studio space in Monymusk, Aberdeenshire with five other artists.
Since studying alternative analogue processes in depth, for her MFA in 2011, she has continued to develop a body of work exploring the Scottish landscape alongside her more colourful experiments with photograms.
Anne’s work is process driven and experimental. She is interested in pushing boundaries, combining analogue processes in unusual ways, exploring and co-creating with the chemistry.
There is a certain alchemy which occurs when working in this manner, to have control yet still retain an element of the unexpected, the unpredicted. It is both an exciting and addictive way to work.
Analogue photography is not confined to the parameters of digital processes, which can allow for more creativity with infinite possibilities.
In addition handmade processes help to remind us that there is a person behind the image, as they embrace the glitches of the handmade, the Wabi- Sabi aesthetic.
An HD colour image does not sufficiently capture my perception of landscape. The landscape not just seen by my eyes but understood by all my senses, my history, my experience, my bones.
This is a multi-sensory, multi-layered understanding, which I am attempting to connect with and communicate through my photography.
Literally layering chemistry, building texture, incorporating flaws, being in control yet at the same time open to chance, helps me recreate the landscapes I move through.
Historical photographic processes such as bromoil and collodion, combined with a variety of methods of image capture including pinhole and photograms, allow for the
creation of atmospheric, one off images.
The work is inspired by the sheer beauty and power of nature, of which we are a part, the birth, death and decay of all things in an organic world, a consideration of non human centric viewing; my photography attempts to capture the raw elements of nature, emotion, emotion expressed as land, physical manifestation of feeling, landscape as metaphor; an aboriginal way of approaching land; an expression of love.
A metaphoric language is capable of expressing aspects of experience and feeling that conventional language struggles with (see, for example, ‘Altarstanes – Isle of May’ ) whilst working with a chemical palette allows for the creation and capture of subtle tones and textures that mirror the complexity of our environment and our relationship with it.
Professor Chris O’Neil, (Head of School, Gray’s School of Art Aberdeen) writes:
To view Anne’s images is to be transported to an emotional place. Roland Barthes stated the photographic image to be a message without a code and this could not be more apposite when confronting Anne’s work.
Whilst I personally am defined more by the urban and the city scape, significantly, I can also sense and share her concern and wonder, the feelings of loss or enrichment that she distils from her world.
Her message is uncoded, elegance is defined by an aesthetic beauty that is the product of a sensitive and skilled visionary. She has learnt that the image’s journey via the lens, through delicate process to articulate presentation is one that sets a context and allows us, the viewers, to ponder and indulge as we need.
Art cannot be all things to all people, it must articulate a vision. Our reading of that vision is inevitably bound up with our experience. The genius behind Anne’s work is she pin points our common experience, gives us the message and allows us to apply our own codes.