Despite the title, no, this isn’t about the esteemed Brit photographer – what hasn’t been written about him? No, this is about another camerasmith entirely – one whose family nick-named her that because of her obsession for taking pictures from a young age. These days she’s very accomplished at her art, although it would be fair to say she’ll never be in the same league as the great Bailey. But, nonetheless, she is making a splash and she caught my eye.
It was the boat, first of all, that drew me in during a systematic trawl through an on-line photography site – then the head. Both were black and bleak, the former beached on a grassy sward like a wannabe Ark. On a closer inspection it wasn’t that large a wreck of a vessel – it was all in the framing. With the other, the head, broken and distended – well, it just seemed so incongruous. What was it doing there in that desolate location? Most likely it’s a sculptural installation designed to surprise. Perhaps it is attached to something we cannot discern due to a rise in the land. But whatever the case with these two images, I decided then and there there was much, much to admire about this woman’s product.
And, as her family intimated when they accorded her the appellation of the other famed lensman, Dawn Black freely admits she is addicted to capturing images. As she stated in a recent interview. ‘… I delight in the creativity that photography gives me to interpret (landscapes)…in my own way.’
She has this knack for the art in her gene pool, with both her father, as well as his father in turn, keen amateurs with a camera The elder man worked all his life for Ilford, in the now redundant profession of film processing. From an early age Ms Black had a Kodak in hand. She later studied architectural design at university, but her fervour for pointing a camera and snapping re-imposed itself once digital technology arrived. She claims she is not a manipulator of an image, preferring to present what the eye nets via the lens.
It has also helped that she has been a bit of a gypsy in her life. She’s now resident in the Netherlands, but English born Black has lived in Wales, Scotland and Singapore, before finally settling on The Hague to raise her family. Her work also features product from the US, Italy and France. The mother of four has found that she can make a reasonable living selling her prints and since 2009, her offspring apart, this has been the main focus of her world.
Dawn Black has deliberately tried to create her photos in the old style of black and white darkroom production that her grandfather would have been up to his neck in. Her attachment to an older style is perhaps the reason why my focus was so drawn to her. No doubt, if he is still around, Granddad would be awfully proud of his now not so little David Bailey.
Her site’s on line – check her out = http://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/