GalleriesPolaroid Waterscapes

I am very happy to say that in November 2020 I was awarded a Royal Photographic Society Fellowship distinction in the Fine Art category. This involves writing a statement of intent (of up to 150 words in the Fine Art category) and creating a portfolio of 20 or 21 photographs that responds to your statement of intent. My statement of intent and some background information is at the end of the page. I have also uploaded a gallery of images called "Polaroid Waterscapes II" containing 28 prints which didn't tmake it my final Fellowship submission, and a gallery contaiing my RPS Associateship submission, called "Secret Gardens of the Dead".

Polaroid Waterscapes gallery - Image 1
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+ Statement of intent and background information

Statement of intent

The places where water meets and shapes the land produce an inspiring variety of mood, atmosphere and form. And Scotland, my adopted home for over 20 years, has countless examples.

I used Polaroid film and water to create a set of prints that I hope evokes the fragile and dynamic nature of the relationship between land and water. There is an exciting unpredictability about the way Polaroid film responds to the image and the way water shapes the Polaroid emulsion on the paper that reflects the unpredictable action of water on land.

The presence of occasional man-made elements serves as a reminder that although they have not been there long enough for water to have left the same marks it has on the land, these things are by no means immune. Eventually they too will succumb to one of nature's most powerful forces.

(143 words)

Background information

I produced these prints using a process called Polaroid Emulsion Lift. This process involves taking a normal Polaroid print, trimming off the white border, separating its two layers and putting the layer containing the layer of emulsion chemicals with the image in a tray of hot water. After a couple of minutes the emulsion layer will float freely in the water.

A piece of plain watercolour paper is then placed in the water under the emulsion layer and lifted out of the water so the emulsion layer sticks to it. While the paper is still wet the emulsion layer can be flattened out with a brush, but there will always be folds, tears and wrinkles produced by the action of the water. Getting 3 emulsion lifts to work together on a single sheet of paper takes some practice, but creating these prints was still a very enjoyable process.

Water plays an elemental role in forming the prints and I felt this gave them a natural sympathy with the subject matter.