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Light Matter 2019

Light Matter captures natural forms lit by artificial light. The work is inspired by the life and work of the Victorian scientist Joseph Swan, the notable inventor of the incandescent electric light bulb. His innovation changed our experience and view of the world forever.

The images draw on Swan’s enduring spirit of enquiry, marked by observation, curiosity and experimentation. These photographic responses capture visual nuances, descriptions hidden to the eye, and details of natural forms revealed by photography and artificial light.

The subject matter selections are from a wide variety of flora, gathered from the English landscape and Dracup’s own garden. The taxidermy bird specimens were sourced from Bradford Museum and Galleries natural sciences collections. In the photographs lie visual ambiguities, which go beyond traditional ideas around photography as a mirror to human vision.

The images are infused with visual excitement and wonder, offering us an unconventional view of our natural world. The legacy and impact of Swan’s invention on our daily lives and the natural world are complex and multifaceted, the traces of his invention continue to influence and transform our world.

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