“The greatest ideas are the simplest” is one of the most verifiable philosophies ever stated. Perhaps you are sitting there thinking, my god why is this kid quoting Lord of the Flies, a book that everyone tries to forget because Jesus Christ the nightmares we all had as kids! I assure you however, that if you direct your attention to Chris Mitchell’s photography you will see how truly fitting William Golding’s statement is in relation to this particular body of work.
The result of the uncomplicated photographs Mitchell creates is that our attention is directed to the specific objects he chooses to represent. We ask ourselves “why this?” and suddenly the most basic of things becomes the most fascinating. From house candles and spatulas, to test tubes and light bulbs we begin to question invention. Things that we would otherwise overlook, as they have been around for as long as we can remember, are now subjects of curiosity. Why was this created? What was life like before this?
If you know anything about photography, you will also know that simplicity comes with significant effort and craftsmanship. Mitchell’s work demonstrates remarkable patience and understanding of technique in his manipulation of light. The items he photographs can seem almost two-dimensional at times, and when shadows are present in his work, they are very carefully designed.
Mitchell is currently completing his BA (Hons) in Fine Art Photography at Kingston University. We see considerable experimentation throughout his projects in order to better execute his simple (and therefore great) ideas. This occurs most visibly in his choice of backgrounds; from block colours, to clashing patterns to camouflaged compositions. His methodology is as scientific as his subject matter/message – hypothesis, predictions, experiments, evaluation and improvement. Thus his work is only bound to get better.
There. I hope by now you have forgotten all about poor Piggy’s destiny. Oops, nevermind.
Words / Ana Gomides