Nick Dunmur’s photography examines broader concepts and themes that involve and engage us all, whether we are aware of them or not. In offering his perspective on those things, he hopes to prompt others to consider their own. Kinetic, longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, is a body of work comprising 16 black and white photographs that seeks to explore the notion of energy, both its containment and its release. We speak to Dunmur to provide an insight into his practice.
A: How does your approach differ between commercial clients and your personal work?
ND: Working for commercial clients invariably involves responding to a brief, sometimes which is developed in conjunction with a few others including myself, but more often a pre-determined set of parameters is presented to me, which I am asked to work to. Whilst I might make parameters for myself in my own practice, through the preparation of an artist statement, for example, those parameters are much more fluid and I can allow myself a greater degree of freedom to go where the idea(s) take me.
A: Longlisted Kinetic makes white liquid seem entirely static and sculpted. How did you create this effect?
ND: It’s simply the result of high-speed flash photography: using flash durations of about one-seven thousandth of a second is fast enough to freeze the liquid mid-flight.
A: You mentioned that in Kinetic, each new “sculpture” takes on an entirely different form despite it being subject to similar forces. Why did this unique and uncontrollable method interest you?
ND: I find it fascinating that minute differences in the forces applied, result in unique shapes – no two would ever be the same. There’s lots in the world of physics to explain and analyse the results of applied forces like this, but it is also interesting, I think, to examine things from a visual and aesthetic viewpoint too.
A: You’ve worked for quite a range of clients; is there anything you look for in potential clientele?
ND: I would prefer to work for people who are interested in developing long-term relationships and are happy to have discussions about the visual nature of their requirements – it’s part of what I’m being paid for, after all.
A: You’ve described your work as an examination of broader concepts and themes that involve and engage us all. What themes and concepts does your work examine?
ND: Big themes, like energy and its manifestation, that affect everything around us, are more interesting to me because I think there’s a wider audience for that. Other people might produce work that’s much more personal and introspective, but that’s not me, I enjoy working with ideas, issues and themes that touch everyone; energy, the environment, globalisation, economics…there’s loads to go at, and it’s all front and centre in making our world what it is. Making work that’s a bit more abstract can open up discussions about all that, which is, after all, why I do it.
To see more of Nick Dunmur’s work, visit www.nickdunmur.com
Pick up a copy of Future Now: The Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology featuring Dunmur’s work here.
To enter this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize, visit www.aestheticamagazine.com/artprize
1. Nick Dunmur, Kinetic_0034 (2014).