Stuart Bailes photographs landscapes at night, using artificial light sources to imbue them with an uncanny eeriness. Supernaturally empty, his images take on the appearance of crime scenes illuminated by a police helicopter searchlight or a spot-lit diorama in a natural history museum.
More recently, Bailes has been working on several commissions, from the wilds of Exmoor to the Welsh mountains, which have involved him working purely with natural light. Here, the challenge for Bailes is to 'try and make fresh and interesting images without going too far into contemporary commercial photography', adding, 'I don't think my work has that kind of aesthetic anyway, in a way I feel like my work is quite raw and not hugely polished'.
It's almost impossible to pass comment on the work of Bailes without reference to Roland Barthes seminal book Camera Lucida (1980) within which the author coined the term 'punctum' to describe that certain something that lends a photographic image its unique impact. Bailes himself talks of 'waiting for 'that moment' when something magical happens and the light hits the right place at the right time', though he adds, 'I think it's safe to say that actually I never had that'.
Paul Stone, 2008
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