Garry Fabian Miller: working methods

Garry Fabian Miller grew up learning about photography from his father, who was a commercial photographer. Despite establishing himself as a successful landscape photographer, Fabian Miller turned his back on the camera in 1984, instead choosing to explore camera-less photography in his darkroom. His work is informed by the landscape of Dartmoor in south-west England, where he lives. He repeatedly explores the subjects of time, light and colour in his photography.

When we're born, our brain is like a dark rock. Each day you live, it is exposed to the light and thus it slowly fills with light and the light accumulation becomes our mind and our thoughts.

Garry Fabian Miller

By shining light through coloured glass vessels, over cut-paper shapes or transparent objects such as leaves and flowers, Fabian Miller creates forms that record directly onto photographic paper. His process recalls the earliest days of photography, when the effects of light on sensitised paper seemed magical. He varies the light exposure time on the paper from minutes to hours to produce sequential results. The use of dye destruction print paper (unwanted dyes embedded in the paper are bleached away leaving a vibrant image) means that the final image is incredibly clear and detailed.

Once each image has been produced, it is displayed in the large white space of Fabian Miller's studio, which is flooded with natural light. Here, the image is studied and assessed for days to decide whether the shape, luminosity, density and presence are 'right'.

In this film, Fabian Miller discusses the concepts behind his work, from his studio in Dartmoor.

Background image: 'From the Red Pool, December 1st 2004', by Garry Fabian Miller, light, water, dye destruction prints. © Garry Fabian Miller