Ian Howorth is a photographer based in Brighton, England. Ian’s work is difficult to define – from documentary photography in and around the English south coast, portraiture, cinematic staged scenes to simple observations of the every day – the one thing that binds his work is the specific use of color and light. He prefers to leave the narrative to the viewer and is never too keen to give up too much information about his images – talking about the image too much defeats the purpose, its intended merely to be consumed as it stands – liked, loved or loathed is what’s important – not the why’s, where’s and how’s. Ian feels there should be an innate response to photography, with words augmenting the meaning, not driving it. Ian works exclusively with film – both 35mm and medium format.
Photography can have very fragile concepts – they can be a stretch where the only link between idea and photograph is a few words. Although there are reasons behind capturing what I capture, it is ultimately up to the viewer to make their own truth about what they are seeing, almost like a film done backward, where the cinematographer shoots everything and the director places the story that fits. People always want answers to things and for the things to make sense, but the fun ends once you have them. I try to build scenes that create a slight feeling of unease, not quite discomfort but a sense that there is a subtle abnormality within normality. I like scenes that are arresting in some way – not necessarily immediately beautiful, but ones that make you question. My urban landscapes are often devoid of people as – I prefer subtle reminders of the passing of people and the subtle effect they have on the environment.
I tend to seek out places that are forgotten and not often tended to anymore. I like the idea that these places are no longer catered for in the traditional sense – things are overgrowing, the decor is dated and objects are perishing and fading. There’s beauty in these places, it isn’t as immediately obvious, but it’s there.
My portrait work is a mixture of ideas coming together to form a scene. The aesthetic is often based on inspiration drawn from cinema, both color and the lighting aesthetic, but there’s more to it than that. I see a lot of work that depicts women in an overtly sexual way – not necessarily nudity, but with very established sexual connotations attached. I don’t want that for my images – I want to try and extract the inner mystery through expression, color and light. Much like with my other work, I like the idea that someone might arrive at one of my images and think “why did they take this picture?” There is something innate about it that you might enjoy, but maybe the reasons are not immediately obvious. We get spoon fed a lot in today’s world – this is this and this is that – and I think sometimes its good to let things just go un-answered and let them be.
To view more of Ian Howorth’s work please visit his website.