Lightstream represents Nigel Grierson's most recent foray into photographic abstraction as he makes long exposures of figures beside the light of the ocean. Taking the maxim from Dieter Appelt "A snapshot steals life that it cannot return. A long exposure (creates) a form that never existed", Grierson makes beautiful images, which on the surface might appear to owe as much to the medium of painting as they do to photography. However, it is important to him that these are un-manipulated images straight from the camera: "From the outset, my work has been largely about 'photographic seeing' as I'm fascinated by what Garry Winogrand so simply described as 'how something looks when photographed'. Hence, a sense of discovery within the work itself is very important to me; finding something new that I didn't already know. There's a huge element of 'chance, and the embrace of the happy accident within this approach, which is a sort of photographic equivalent of action painting. I'm often more interested in what something suggests rather than what it actually is, each image becoming a starting point for our imagination as it edges towards abstraction".
Yet what is unique about photography is that it always keeps something of the original subject. So there's a dynamic duality, a dramatic to and fro in the viewer's mind, between what it is and what it suggests. The marks and traces created by the moving light, at times have a simplicity like a child's drawings. On occasion, the residue of a human figure might be reduced to little more than their posture or demeanor, which then seems more significant than ever, a sort of essence, whether that be elusive or illusive.
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