2021 Retrospective: A few of my favourite portraits given the ‘Art Remix’ treatment
The end of a year is always a good time for personal reflection. To look back on what you created during the previous twelve months and perhaps curate a few of them into a collection that ties together visually, even if the images were taken in different places at different times.
With the pandemic and particularly the various lockdowns, there was certainly less opportunities to shoot the things I previously took for granted. But the upside of having time on your hands is you have more time to experiment. And that’s exactly what I did.
Part of that experimentation involved reimagining some previous work, the photographic equivalent of remixing a piece of music — giving it a whole new flavour.
Whatever I’m shooting, I always aim to create images that are inventive, that are a little different from the norm. Whether that’s in the content or the execution, for me, it can all be summed up in four words: out of the ordinary.
Since day dot I’ve never been content for my images to be restricted to what can be achieved ‘in camera’ and have continually experimented with different looks and treatments to find my own individual aesthetic.
I quickly realised I didn’t want to be limited to just one visual style as there were several that really appealed to me.
This particular collection however all share the same look, portraits that owe more to modern art rather than just a standard photograph.
The majority are based on my own images, although a few are created from found images. All of course rely on having a strong foundation image and often the process to get to the finished portrait requires considerable finessing — far more than just aiming one’s camera and pressing a button.
As with any post-production technique, this speckled look doesn’t work for every portrait, but when it does I think it creates an eye-catching effect. Wherever possible, I’ve made them all square shaped, a format chosen so they could be an album cover. Finally, for those unfamiliar with my work, every image I create always includes graphic text.
Having shared these images individually on my social channels, I knew they would make even more sense when viewed together as part of a visually cohesive collection. In this case, while all were remixed in 2021, they are displayed here in the order that I took the original photo from earliest to most recent.
Duran Duran bassist, John Taylor onstage at the Brighton Centre back in November 2011.
The legendary Steve Winwood onstage at the Brighton Dome in June 2013.
Mumford & Son’s Winston Marshall onstage at the Gentlemen of the Road festival in Lewes, back in July 2013.
Charles Bradley, the self-annointed Screamin’ Eagle of Soul, onstage at Brighton’s Concorde 2 back in October 2013. Sadly, Charles died in 2017 aged 68.
The founder and guitarist of Foreigner when the rockers played the Guildhall, Portsmouth — the city he grew up in — back in April 2014.
Shereen Cutkelvin of Neon Jungle onstage in August 2014 at Brighton’s Preston Park during the Pride festival.
Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson onstage at the Brighton Centre back in February 2015.
Years and Years lead singer Olly Alexander onstage at the Brighton Centre back in March 2015.
Conor Mason, lead singer of Southend rockers, Nothing But Thieves, during one of the band’s early gigs at Brighton’s Coalition during The Great Escape new music festival in May 2015.
Matt Mason at the London Tattoo Convention in September 2015.
From a portrait I took of Donata Talesca in January 2016 near The Old Market music venue in Hove.
Joel O’Keefe, lead singer of Aussie rockers Airbourne, onstage at the Pyramids, Portsmouth in September 2017.
The electro pioneer onstage at the Brighton Dome in October 2017 during his Savage tour.
One of the most distinctive and immediately recognisable faces in music, this is Seal onstage at the Brighton Dome in February 2018.
Xamvolo onstage at the Brighton Centre back in March 2018.
Legendary guitarist Johnny Marr during a guest appearance at The Great Escape in Brighton back in May 2018.
Brighton model Sadie Gregory at the Brighton Tattoo Convention in May 2018.
French actor Gerard Darmon who plays Gerard Hazan in the Netflix black comedy Family Business.
Rising star Sam Fender onstage at the Brighton Dome in November 2019 during his Hypersonic Missiles tour.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
South London songstress Joy Crookes onstage at Brighton’s Concorde 2 in November 2021.
About the author: Based in Sussex-by-the-Sea, on England’s south coast, Gary is a creative writer and image-maker. He specialises in out of the ordinary portraits of musicians and people with interesting faces, as well as photographing some of the world’s finest flowers and gardens. With a lack of concerts and major events taking place during lockdown, Gary turned his attention to creatively capturing the landscapes of West Sussex. On the writing side, he also penned deep dives into some of his favourite songs beginning with Bryan Ferry’s ‘These Foolish Things’ ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials and ‘All The Young Dudes’ by Mott the Hoople. Most recently, he has written a biography of Robert Palmer and the story behind Whitesnake’s ‘Still Of The Night’. All these can be found here on Medium, along with his reviews of gigs and events and chats with musicians.