Dave Green's photo exhibition at the Tavistock Wharf revels in discovery of the North Devon coastline
His work is a continuation of his childhood fascination with ‘looking for that elusive hidden rock pool teeming with life or being the first person to tread over the sand and discover a cave’.
Seemingly undaunted by tides, he continues to ‘discover’, squeezing his adult self into narrow tunnels formed by the pounding ocean and wedging himself at the back of sea caves. He documents his artistic endeavour using a digital camera. In Turbulent Passage, Baggy Point, North Devon 2008, a trail of sea foam on the smooth, untouched sand creates a feeling of isolation and imminent danger, but also wonder at being able to see something usually hidden from the human gaze.
In these meticulously-created Constructed Photographs, Green overcomes the problem of lighting in the cave that would result in dark, detail-less images by taking many different, long-exposure shots and stitching them together in Photoshop. The edges of his work are often left jagged, as if individual photographs have been placed together à la Hockney. The results are images that reveal the exquisite tones and textures of the rocks within the cave and pictures that have both depth and movement. The viewer is taken on a journey from the dark space of the cave to the glare of the outside light, the secret openings and slick, smooth rocks provoking analogies to birth and ‘the feminine.’
The biggest surprise, perhaps, is the way in which Green’s images manage to turn the most hostile and remote of environments into an almost comforting space.
Another highlight from the exhibition is the selection of camera-less images from the1990’s. Created by placing natural materials – seaweed, nettles and leaves – directly onto 5 x 7 photographic paper and using the action of sun, water, fixer and developer to form unique pictures, these ‘photograms’ have a surprisingly wide range of colour and tone. There is evidence of Green’s love of stitching here too as the smaller images are rearranged to create different ‘wholes’.
The exhibition runs until Saturday, September 26.