Locked Up and Laughing
Dismantled, Highly Commended, 2020 King Lear Art Prize in the Chairman's category for professional artists.
Locked Up and Laughing was developed during the pandemic lockdown in Scotland. This series explores the benefits of interacting with the natural environment for wellbeing. Continuing to engage, through photography, with the outdoors became for me an important part of managing lockdown. Growing scientific research shows a strong link between time spent in nature and reduced depression, including lower activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is active during thoughts focused on negative emotion. It has been found that time in nature lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Over the last eighteen years I have spent much time in wilderness areas, and collaborating with fascinating people in interesting places, to take their photographic portraits. My photographic series have always centred on the stories of the people I meet.
In Locked Up and Laughing I create fantasies that come from within myself, constructed to tell a story. Using post-processing techniques, the images become an alternate reality, a temporary escape from the real world. The natural environment becomes the focus of the internal world to counteract a reality that has dismantled around us.
Showing at Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum, Australia, in 2021.