Fine Art Photography School of Fine Art

Thomas Irving

Based partly in Glasgow and partly in Copenhagen, artist Thomas Irving (b. 1993) works as a photographer, with lens-based work drawing from a background as a documentarist. Irving is currently studying Fine Art of Photography at Glasgow School of Art. His personal documentary-style pursues an honest approach to picture-making. From emotionally charged snapshots to portraits, abstract photograms and landscapes, his images represent the ambivalences of life. By physically engaging in analogue processes, Irving is exploring the parameters of lens-based work in a contemporary relevance. Exploring the beauty of the world through the artist’s intimate perception of his surroundings.

Degree Show 2022

Degree Show 2022

Thomas Irving’s poetic portrait series presented alongside abstract and formal photograms. The series is as much about the many potentials of the medium of photography in terms of aesthetics, method and material, as it is about the individuals portrayed.

With a pronounced predilection for the photographic processes in the dark room, for riso prints and low-technology photo copies, Irving lets himself mix techniques and methods. Every portrait is created with different techniques, and small errors in the development process, such as light leaks and stains, are welcomed as add-ons to the collective expression.

At once the portraits seem both documentary and snapshot like, while poetically staged. With a comprehensive attention to details and the visual coincidences that encompass us, Irving captures the vulnerability of the portrayed. You sense a confidentiality between them and the camera, a presence behind their eyes, something fragile and delicate. They are all fixated in a situation, but a now, a before and an after still exists.

Irving shows us that photography represents a moment, but also a process, which will always be more or less constructed. He is aware of his own position as the photographer behind the camera who purposefully dictates what should be in focus. He consciously uses the photography’s effect and meaning and the mysticism that will forever be a companion to photography. We sense that we receive a small piece of the portrayed person when they look us directly in the eyes – an experience of both presence and absence.

Kit Leunbach
Curator & Art Historian