Its worth mentioning from the outset Douglas' photography is technically brilliant and assured. Craft skills honed over 30 years in the commercial world of advertising and theatrical photography allow Douglas to focus on his art without distraction.
The work presented here uses the camera as a visual recording tool, the prints are Douglas' visual thoughts and feelings about his journeys into the landscape.
It's only when walking, exploring the hills and forests with Douglas that one understands that the photograph is the culmination of days, weeks, sometimes months of rooting around. Pushing his way through the bushes, ducking under branches and in all weathers. Following almost invisible trails, he scours the nooks and crannies, looking for wee signs, evidence of other creatures and other worlds. He often returns to the same spot time and time again waiting for a situation to develop and ripen. There is another part where he will casually snap a potential site mark the spot in his minds eye. These will be reviewed later in relative comfort, sometimes this produces surprising results and the site is catalogued in his brain for further investigation.
With his walking stick, tripod and camera slung over his shoulders the man takes to the hills often before dawn going out into nature, being there, being immersed, involved, cracking its code.
Its a camera that allows Douglas to show us what he sees. Ironically the work is not about photography its about art.
Compositions are tense and complete almost abstract until some little detail catches our attention and the penny drops. Linear abstract lines on the ice are animal footprints the scratchings of paws, vegetation shaped by seasons of changing weather and extreme weather events creating ephemeral temporary never to be seen again things. Douglas searches for these phenomena, hunts, stalks, anticipating things will present themselves.
When Douglas takes a photograph his mind is already focussed on a final print and how will it convey the special meaning he intends. Archaeology allows us to walk a mile in his shoes and join the adventure. And who else but Douglas would pick out natures angels in the branches of a snowy covered tree.
Review by Bernard Mallet-Griffiths. Artist.