Illustration: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 3
Art photography has been around for as long as there have been cameras, and the manipulation of the medium for as long as there have been cameras and film to manipulate. Although a mechanical process, the eye of the photographer, both in subject matter and composition, is the key ingredient that takes the discipline of photography well beyond the automatic, and well beyond the ordinary.
The photographer as creative artist is a status that has allowed photography itself to remain contemporary, innovative, inspirational. It has allowed photography as art, to become photography as exploration.
Inspirational: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 2
The contemporary world of art photography is an exciting and indeed enticing one, with a range of artists producing exceptional work from a plethora of creative standpoints, from the social to the spiritual, from the aesthetic to the physical. It is a discipline that is set to continue, expand, and encompass the contemporary world that both itself and its artists, find themselves in, and will remain a central aspect of the visual arts.
Art can be both mental and physical, and the same is true of photography. Some artists who use photography as a medium tend to go for the compositional, the narrative, the subject matter. Others turn more to the physical, the raw material of film itself, and the manipulation of that material. However, some cross the line between the two approaches, and the artist Brian Henry is one of those creative individuals.
Illustration: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 6
Brian is an artist that has taken photography to his core. He understands the medium perfectly, is comfortable with the physical and technical process, allowing him to manipulate film in his creative favour. However, he is also has the eye of a poet, and this is what gives him as a photographer, a special edge.
This is an artist that states that he enjoys physically making photographs as much as he likes taking photographs, and that is both his strength as a photographer, and his unique perspective as an artist.
Illustration: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 1
Brian, in his physical persona, mercilessly manipulates film, he abuses it by burning, peeling, even abandoning it for lengths of time. Manipulation of film is done both before and after exposure, and it is this manipulation that gives his work the overarching ambience of decay, and slow destruction.
However, the poetic side of Brian's creative character allows him to place his manipulated film within subject matter that is disturbingly haunting, yet enticingly beautiful. He often places images of himself within interiors that are suffering the slow and inevitable decay that effects everything in the physical world.
Illustration: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 8
It is a world of the melancholy, a strange world that is almost spiritual in essence. Certainly much of Brian's work has a ghostlike shimmer to it, where foreground and background begin to merge in general decay and oblivion, but there never seems a sadness, a pervading melancholy to Brian's work. It has much more to do with the inevitability of decay, of transformation. A great creative motivation for Brian is a fascination with the inevitability of the cycle of nature, and through that, the inevitability of the reclamation of life, back to its natural source.
To Brian, photography, is the creative medium for excitement, exploration, curiosity. He sees the camera as a means of preserving the unpreservable, of capturing the temporary and the transient. It is a clever manipulation of the balance between inevitable and unrelenting decay, and creating a seeming permanent record of that decay. Decay continues along its path, its process, but a moment of that path is recorded, arrested if you like, and remains as a piece of art work.
Illustration: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 4
All of the work shown in this featured article belongs to a series entitled 'Eviscerate', and it is clear to see why. This series takes the photographer, and the photographed, as one and the same. Brian is stripped down and as one with the equally naked and abandoned buildings in which he poses. The manipulated photography takes both the artist and his backgrounds as one, breaking apart the layers of their physical presence, disembowelling them, revealing the inbuilt clock of decay that belongs to everything, whether animate, or inanimate, building or human.
It is that cycle of nature, from life to death, and back to new life, nothing is immune, and in some respects you could say that Brian's photographs are showing us, through his manipulation, that we are all going through the same process regardless of who we think we are. Strip us down to flesh and bone, and we are exactly the same, an engine of our own inevitable destruction.
Illustration: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 7
Apart from 'Eviscerate' Brian has a range of photographic series with intriguing titles that include 'Remove my Mask', Fragmental Stories', 'Peeling Layers'. They are all fascinating and exploratorial, as you would expect from this artist, and all can be found on his rich and comprehensive website - Brian Henry Photography, which has the great title of instant decay. He can also be found at instagram, tumblr, flickr, facebook
Please be aware that all photos were supplied by Brian Henry, and therefore please refer to him before reproducing anything from this article. Thanks
Illustration: Brian Henry. Eviscerate 5