Somerset-based British Photographer Christopher Bucklow (b.1957) pushes the boundaries of his medium to explore nature, process, and the human form.
Bucklows’ approach to his subject matter is multi-layered: utilising photography, drawing and video as the need arises. In their simplicity and directness, his photographic techniques are more akin to that of the pioneers of the exploratory processes of the 19th century than to more conventional and contemporary practices, incorporating elements of astronomy, chemistry and alchemy. This can be seen, for example, in the exquisite and unique pinhole, life-size colour portraits of his ongoing Guest and Tetrarch series.
As a part of the “cameraless” photographic movement in the U.K., Bucklow's ongoing “Guest” series (1993-) uses pinhole camera techniques to create large-scale photograms of human figures.
The complex process begins with projecting silhouettes onto aluminum foil and tracing them with thousands of small pinholes. He then uses the foil as his lens, placing the foil over a sheet of photographic paper and exposes it to sunlight, the various qualities of light on a given day yielding different colours and shades in the projected image.
Bucklow’s photographs are produced using an extremely large multiple-aperture pinhole camera to achieve a galaxy of images of the sun – a ‘solar body’ – in a life-size portrait. Both the Guest and the Tetrarch series are intended to be viewed as a collective self-portrait, portraying a group of individuals, spiritual friends and foes, whose combined characters reflect a multi-faceted image of Bucklow himself. The subjects in these works are portraits of Bucklow’s own interior in which he explains the importance of the selection of his subjects: “It’s like a cast of characters in a film. I think I was casting for my ‘film’ even before I knew that I was about to launch out on a narrative.”
Bucklow has exhibited widely internationally, and his work is included in many key international collections, including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Fine Art, San Francisco; Herzliya Museum of Art, Israel; Phoenix Art Museum; High Museum, Atlanta, USA and the British Council, to name but a few.
Bucklow was the first of the British Museum’s ‘Artist in Residence’ in 2002-2003, in London.