Fox Talbot

Feet of Angels

I discovered Fox Talbot photographs as a schoolgirl, fascinated by the powerful sense of place at Lacock Abbey and by the stiff figures of the family and servants who lived on the estate in the 19th century – long dead, yet strangely intimate and alive. Working with them recently, I chose images that offered settings for a new cast of characters with sources found variously in the search files of ‘seated women’ and ‘standing men’ in the Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné archive, from a painting or film (the woman on a swing in Jean Renoir’s ‘A Day in the Country)’ or from an article in a newspaper reporting on current events. In this way artists can hide behind an original image which becomes a springboard to something that excites and connects them with their own internal life.

There’s a mystery, an alchemy, in the act of turning a photographic image into a drawing that is connected, but has different meaning. Photographs unlock ideas intuitively – a buried obsession, a meeting between the sacred, the historical and the political or a collision between the past and present. My drawings on photographs seem to ‘emerge’ in a mysterious, alchemical way – not unlike the way photographic images appear while being developed in a dark room. The important thing is the effect the photograph has had on the imagination: whether triggered by an incidental subjective detail (Roland Barthes’ Punctum) a powerful atmosphere, or an association sparked by personal memory – the final outcome becomes something different.

Feet of Angels catalogue cover

Some of the works in this series are for sale. Please use contact form to enquire.