Jake Gatehouse (He/Him)
Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries: Selected Artist
‘These systems are not static’ was a statement made by research ecologist Craig D Allen Ph.D. describing the ecosystems and the migration of forests within The Valle Vidal in Northern New Mexico in September 2019. It was a fleeting remark but uttered with certainty, urgency and frustration. It spoke of a disconnect in the perception of our environment. A call to action, stating an obvious fact but one that is all too easily forgotten.
These words impressed me and stuck in my consciousness; they became the title for my ongoing conceptual photographic project of making submerged self-portraits. The oxymoronic quality of pairing this statement with the visibly static photograph seemed to adequately describe the elusive and uncertain relationship photography has with reality.
Using a large format 4×5 camera and a mechanical self-timer. I set off the timer and then run into water (be that the sea, river, lake, loch and so on) then dunk under before the shutter is released.
Despite calling them self-portraits I don’t consider the pictures to be representative of me or of my experience. Far from it. I am more interested in the implications of what can occur from denying information in photography rather than displaying it. I believe that there is life in an ambiguous subject.
Since the generation of the project I have been cautious to allow it to develop naturally. There have been changes to the process and the priorities behind the project , the rules or limitations I set myself and why I continue to make them. Mainly because in all honesty I haven’t figured it out yet. But that’s why it’s exciting.
So far, I have 38 successful submerged self-portraits and I’m generating physical work in the form of prints and a publication to be shown at the Alternative Degree Show in July.
This online showcase exhibits all 38 images through high quality scans, contact prints from the darkroom, laser jet prints, sound, and video (intended for a future installation).
The pictures shown were made between February 2020 and March 2021.
These Systems Are Not Static
*All photographs are for sale. Price on request.
Series of contact prints made in the darkroom on Resin Coated Glossy Paper measuring 8×10 inches.
Recent display of two pictures from These Systems Are Not Static under a footbridge in Glasgow Green.
A video intended to be projected as part of an installation I am planning in the future. It tracks all the images made so far. It can also be found at the These Systems Are Not Static website. This as well original sound for the projection video can be found in the project links.
HD video 6:21mins