Everything is Real presents a series of architectural Rorschach tests inspired by the artist’s three year old daughter Zoë, who defiantly proclaims “everything is real!” whenever her fantasies are challenged. Despite alluding to something more fantastical – spaceships, monsters, objects from another world – everything about these photographs is actually real. The trace of a real place is preserved entirely intact in each image, the only creative intervention being the placement of a mirror – another technology we routinely rely on to tell us the truth. The viewer is tricked by reflective symmetry into seeing something which is not present, a psychological phenomenon known as pareidolia – the same illusion relied on in Rorschach tests. Does what we see in these meaningless forms have something to tell us about ourselves? All photographs have this latent ability, here rendered obvious through the simplest of manipulations.
In this series the artist revisits his own urban landscape photography, trying to see it afresh as if through the eyes of a child. “Reality” is a trick of perception and there are other ways of seeing it that we have forgotten. Photography should be about seeing through another set of eyes, perceiving banal and everyday things and spaces in new ways. As a manifesto this challenges the objectivity and authoritative “truth claim” of photography, something which has been shown as both false and politically problematic by key theorists such as John Tagg. At a time when reality itself seems to be bending out of recognition, it might be comforting to consider that how we look at things, has a profound ability to alter what we see – but equally, we might be troubled by how little we can trust the image as evidence.