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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Positions and Practice – Considering other photographers – Helen Sear

During the first part of our visit to Paris, the cohort were treated to a talk by Helen Sear. I was drawn to find out more about her work when she commented that she works towards the ensuring the viewer is able to ‘experience the image’.

Helen introduced us to various pieces of her work and some of the many projects she has produced.  I was struck by her theme of reinforcing the dominance of the human standpoint in the natural world.  Her work reminds me of how we interact with nature and the world around us and that we are inseparable from it despite what we sometimes might think.

Helen uses the language of photography and often uses layering processes to create visually stimulating work.  She involves the whole body in the interpretation of the image and not just the eye.  Her images are tactile and have texture.  It is this that draws me in.  As part of my MA project I have been considering layering processes and adding narrative to my work through hand crafted intervention.  Helen’s work has inspired me to push my own practice further.

In Helen’s practice, the scale of the image has been important to how her work has been perceived.  She talked about spending a lot of time working out the different relationships size and scale has to her work.  She considers the conversation the viewer will have with her work and commented that she has different versions for different venues (either physical or online).  The presentation and the scale of my images to create dialogue between the viewer and the work will be a key area of research as I move forwards with my project.

Viewing Helen’s website has inspired me to try new techniques and try to extend my viewer’s experience with different senses to interpret my work.  I am keen to put my touch on the images; to intervene with different media to connect with the surface and meaning of the image.  Helen has said “I am trying to slow down the instantaneousness of the camera, to allow the viewer to see behind the normal, adapting the surface when necessary.”[1]  These are very similar words to those I have used about my plans for my project.

I am sure I will keep revisiting Helen’s work as my project moves forward.


[1] Wright, Karen (2015)  Helen Sear, artist: ‘I am trying to slow down the instantaneousness of the camera’. [online] London: Independent. Available from  [Accessed 14 November 2016]

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