Two photographic series, two approaches. One conceptual, one more abstract. Both rely on a variety of artificial lighting—outside at night using a flashlight with a diffuser; in the studio from below or using a light box.
For his first solo exhibition, 21-year-old William Carroll has chosen five images from his “Congealed” series and five from the series entitled “Above”. The latter includes three close-ups of natural objects, but there’s a twist. William has manipulated the colour spectrum as well as the focus to produce dusky, unnatural images. The remaining two photos in the series, in black and white, show unrecognizable manufactured objects shot to create intriguing abstract shapes.
The “Congealed” series looks at food in an entirely novel, if initially off-putting, way. Each image focuses on one vegetable or piece of fruit. If viewers can get past the congealed green goop (William’s word) covering the broccoli, the past “best before” banana, the oozing Nappa cabbage that looks like layers of mucous membrane, they will be rewarded with the visual interest William has created in the slickness of the artichoke, the shape and movement of the cabbage leaves, the richness of the white banana, the beauty of the Dragon fruit, the texture of the broccoli. Hung in staggered fashion in one corner of the gallery, the series draws the eye and pulls in the viewer.
A word about the goop. William explained that it was a cornstarch-sugar mixture, boiled and applied with a paintbrush, pressed onto the objects, or thrown at the objects. Because it was extremely hot, it cooked the objects just a bit. And then the objects were put in the freezer before they entered the light box where the goopy glaze truly came into its own.
William became interested in photography in Grade 9 when, being bored in the middle of the night, he took random cell phone pictures. His high school curriculum was based on arts-related courses. In 2012, he proudly told me, he was in the top 50 of an international competition entitled “Children’s Eye on Earth”. Now, as a full-time artist, he continues to work at night when it’s easier to achieve the effects of technical lighting. Because he’s autistic, William likes working alone, in a quiet space, away from the brightness of daylight.
“Photography is a way of showing people how I see the world,” he said. His work can be seen online at greenmothphotography.myportfolio.com.
“Congealed” and “Above” continue until September 1.