Paul Boyle


My name is Paul Boyle, resident in Livingston, retired Principal Teacher of Art & Design, Linlithgow Academy (1991-2010). I have practised photography from age 14 and started processing/printing my own work while studying at Glasgow School of Art (1969-73), introducing photography into my teaching practice in 1975. I have trained myself to a high technical standard, initially in monochrome and colour chemical photography, and now work in the digital realm.

In my current series of boat detail images I am using a specific subject to illustrate a bigger concept, that we are, or become, a product of our conditions or environment. I look upon my creative practice as a form of printmaking and think almost entirely in terms of the handling of visual elements, as opposed to the use of the camera primarily as a recording tool, My direct influences include Matisse, Picasso, Klee, Miro, Nicholson, Photographers include Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Walker Evans.

I now work digitally and have my own RAW workflow studio at home where I produce my prints using archive quality print media. I have an aversion to excessive digital manipulation, preferring to compose within the viewfinder and only develop the digital image to the degree that it will print correctly. I do not combine images.

I have taken a leading role within West Lothian Education Services in developing and embedding photography, both traditional and digital, within the Art & Design curriculum. I have taught Fine Art Photography at GCSE level, photographic silk screen printing, and photography within graphic design.

Statement about my work

…That fishing boat is a secret
approaching me. It’s a secret
coming out of another one.
I want to know the first one of all.

         On the Pier at Kinlochbervie (extract), Norman MacCaig

These images are of details of boats in dry dock awaiting or undergoing overhaul and refitting.

The visual development of my ideas falls into 3 stages.

Initially I was looking at the visual elements, shape, colour and texture mainly expressed in the rudders and propellers series.  Although using photography in this project I was subconsciously referencing Picasso, Matisse, Klee and others rather than photographers. I used tight compositions in the main to remove surrounding contextual references to the location and I thought of the process more akin to a form of print making, in the sense of seeing in 2 dimensions, rather than the use of the illusionary role of photography as a visual recording medium attempting to recreate 3 dimensions.

I then developed an interest in the juxtaposition of the worn timber supports and their relationship to the paintwork and structure of the hulls, particularly the streamlining and scooped shapes. I also observed the ways that the sea seems to have left its mark on the hulls both through natural erosion and by the man made process of cleaning with electric grinders which has left patterns reminiscent of fish scales and nets.

I also studied very small areas of the hulls especially where colour lines feature and sharp downlighting brings out the texture of the paint. I began to see elements of nature in the form of miniature seascapes.

I am left with the continuing thought that although these once pristine vessels are temporarily high and dry, the sea has not released them without leaving its mark and they await each other’s return with quiet anticipation.

Everything is, or becomes, a product of environment.

For more information please see the artists own website Paul Boyle

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