The Photographer Who Couldn’t
[ FUJIFILM/YOUNG TALENT AWARD 2016 RUNNER UP ]
In “The Photographer Who Couldn’t” Pearce presents himself as the titular photographer and through a mixture of appropriation, studio photography and photo montage Pearce attempts to come to terms with his identity and overcome his photographers block. This photographer’s block has been caused by his father who was a professional football player; Pearce did not follow in his father’s footsteps, instead choosing the become a photographer meaning that he did not succumb to the pressure placed on him from both family and society.
“Volume One” of the project showed Pearce’s struggle with his father’s image and was seen in his handmade book. The book is a unique “one-off” copy. All images and text were glued into the 52-page Panini sticker book by hand as is clear in the imperfect aesthetic of the piece; the non-parallel layout and poorly cut elements reflect Pearce’s struggle with his identity. In the book Pearce moves from giving out cameras in a jazz club to an attempt to become his father through staged studio portraiture and the appropriation of old images.
In “Volume Two” Pearce attempts to find some resolution for his struggle with his identity. Through a series of positive slides, taken in 1969 in Seattle that show his great-grand mother on holiday, he attempts to reconnect with his family and overcome his photographers block. By editing himself into these images Pearce aims to reconnect with his family through photography and therefore overcome the issues of representation that are placed on his shoulders.
By placing his own images, text and appropriated pieces into a Panini book and slides respectively Pearce reflects the relatable burden placed onto our shoulders by both family and society. The theme of phototherapy is present in this work and Pearce uses the camera as a means of healing.
Bradley Pearce is a fine art photographer who specializes in self-portrait work that is based on themes of identity and representation. Using studio photography and post production Pearce creates scenes and photo-montages that reflect narratives focused on the self and the perception of the self. Pearce deals with relatable topics including: societal and familial representation, and the difficulty of understanding one’s own identity. By using text in his work Pearce not only creates another layer to his pieces but also creates intricate narratives that are always based on truth. For example, in his latest piece “The Photographer Who Couldn’t” all interactions and happenings are true, as well as the main theme of the work which is based off of the life of his father. Pearce also takes part in conceptual work for others including a body of work at Wolverhampton Art Gallery based off of an item from their archives and a commissioned piece for the Birmingham Midland Institute.