«I want to take some quite incredible photographs that have never been taken before… pictures which are simple and complex at the same time, which will amaze and overwhelm people … I must achieve this so that photography can begin to be considered a form of art.»
This exhibition of photographs by Charles March demonstrates just how much the photographic universe has changed in the nearly two centuries since the medium was invented. The images also demonstrate how far the medium can be pushed, and how flexible it is in the hands of an inventive practitioner. March has been in love with photography since the age of twelve.
What liberated him to make the series of photographs shown here was the advent of digital photography, which permits a much freer approach than was ever possible previously. Charles March’s photographs of trees are seldom or never meticulously detailed, in a way that we still tend to describe as ‘photographic’. Instead they seem astonishingly free, with the kind of rapidity and sketchiness that we feel is appropriate to drawings — even more so perhaps to the wilder kind of classical Chinese ink-painting.
In making these images, Charles March has turned to sources that existed before photography was invented, not only to Chinese ink-painting, but also to some of Constable’s pencil drawings and the ‘Colour Beginnings’ made by J. M. W. Turner when planning his landscape compositions. A number of the images come from sites very close to where he lives, at Goodwood. In this sense, they can be seen as a celebration of Englishness and of the English Romantic sensibility.