Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography. Garry Fabian Miller

This is a revealing and evocative look at Garry Fabian Miller's working environments and an insight into his creative ideas.

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Video Transcript

To be looking and living on the margins is a place where things can be found. It’s a kind of unknown path and I have to find my way along it. 

My interest in light and time is the accumulation of days. So you start with day one and you live until the last day and the kind of life is the accumulation of all the days, and the meaning comes from an engagement with everyday and then making sense of all the days.  

Something happens which is incommunicable, and it can happen in a work of art or it can happen in a moment, in the landscape when you’re walking, and something occurs, a certain kind of light touches the landscape or in your home, light comes into a room and something else seems to be in the room with you, and you feel it. 

I suppose I’m using the circle and the square as a place you can inhabit. I think I see the circle more as nature, and I see the square more as thought. 

In recent work I’m bringing two colours together, and where two colours meet they make a third colour and also a kind of floating transitory space and that kind of edge, that is a kind of place of disappearing or emerging.  

Really what my work is about is to try and create a thinking space, but also a kind of place one can slide into, and disappear into and perhaps not come back from.  

I want the thing that appears to kind of come with a grace and a simplicity as if it’s always been there, and for me that should be an aspiration as if it’s just emerged into the world. 

I used to say it should be just like breathing and it should come into the world as easily as that. 

Obviously it’s more complicated than that, but the aspiration should be that it merges fully formed and the struggle should be absent.


Garry Fabian Miller creates glowing abstract photographs by casting shadows, or blocking and filtering light on photographic paper in the darkroom. He walks on Dartmoor for inspiration, the location of his home and studio in south-west England. This film shows the  landscape and the artist at work, discussing the symbolism of his powerful imagery. 


The exhibition Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography (13 October 2010 – 20 February 2011) featured five international artists who challenge the assumption that a camera is necessary to make a photograph. The V&A commissioned five short films on each of the artists, showing their studios and places that inspire them. This is a revealing and evocative look at their working environments and an insight into their creative ideas.