Dave Imms style is described as ‘post-documentary’ – where fine art meets reportage. His distinctive portrait driven approach focuses on subtle construction or interference in the images – be that with lighting or perhaps the relationship with the sitter. The structured moments depict the intent and demonstrate the personal connection between photographer and subject, showing an energy or calmness that wouldn’t be present otherwise. Dave is fascinated by people and their motivations. His work is inspired by the likes of Rineke Djikstra, Nadav Kander and August Sander.
Since graduating from University in 2009, Imms cut his teeth in the world of fashion, assisting some of the most current and highly regarded artists in the scene before turning his attention to his own practice in portraiture and lifestyle. Some of his most recent work has included projects for Adidas, Sony, GQ, Ink Global, Grey London, Spring Creative, Mr Porter and Soccer Bible. He lives and works in London, with a studio in Leyton in the East of the city and likes heavy metal and soccer.
In early 2019 I was asked to supply an image to a magazine that I’ve been a long term contributor to with the brief simply being to make a picture that sums up me and and my roots. I went to my home town and decided I wanted to shoot a picture of a seagull (synonymous with the city of Brighton and also the mascot for the local soccer team). To be ‘ULTRA-POST-GOTH’ I thought to shoot a dead one and dropped in to a museum I’d visit as a kid with my dad, famous for it’s large collection of taxidermied animals (especially birds) to which they permitted. It was only once I was there that I realised the greater project was the museum itself and embarked on a mini-project to document the place, The Booth Museum.
Booth was a Victorian…urm, Taxonomist? A bit of a stretch of the word I suppose…but his intention was to collect one of every species of bird native to the UK. Legend has it that wherever he found the bird he’d sketch the setting so that an artist could create a diorama for the dead bird to be placed in and be as true to life as possible. I’m told he achieved 75% of his goal before he died. Many people, including the staff, muse at how he killed the smaller, more fragile birds and we can only assume he’d raise them from an egg and then drown them. Rather macabre…but dedicated. What more can you expect from a man who named his home ‘Bleak House’?
Originally a private collection for him and his mates to marvel at, upon his death in 1890 the gallery was made public and still exists now.
I find the collection barbaric and amusing in equal part but have a further fondness for the staff at the museum and their enthusiasm to preserving the works. Under the surface, their occupation shares many parallels with photography, to document and record, and perhaps that’s where I have a form of sympathy for their past-time as for all of them it’s not just a job but a devotion.
To view more of Dave Imms’s work please visit his website.