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Safety, Service and Security, 2018
Safety, Service and Security, 2018Courtesy of Colin Dodgson

Photographer Colin Dodgson explores the tension of rest and restlessness

The photographer releases a body of personal work which reveals a yearning to be idle

Photographer Colin Dodgson is revered for his work with brands such as Vivienne Westwood, HBA, and Simone Rocha, as well as magazines like Dazed. Recently, however, he has cast his eye to his new solo exhibition, titled Safety, Service and Security. It’s a project which, in many ways, has taken him a world away from the precipitate and structured operations of the fashion industry.

“When you shoot a campaign for a brand, it’s a very linear thought process and the end result is finite,” Dodgson explains. “With an exhibition, it’s merely a stopping point or a pause at that particular time, and the works themselves continue to live on and provide context and meaning to other works that you may have done in the past or might do in the future.”

At the exhibition in Marseilles, the photographer's cyclical understanding of the artistic process is reflected in the photos themselves – images that Dodgson says explore “the tipping point between modernism and romanticised nostalgia, and the longing that arises therein.” With the distinguishing marks and tinctures of analogue film development, Dodgson's work seems to exist between modernism and nostalgia, belonging to neither the then nor the now. The dazzling saturation of sunlight, a recurring motif in the photographer's work, further places these photos at cryptic points in time. Are these moments in the middle of the day, in the first blinding rays of dawn, or in the crepuscular embers of twilight?

“When you shoot a campaign for a brand, it’s a very linear thought process and the end result is finite. With an exhibition, it’s merely a stopping point or a pause at that particular time” – Colin Dodgson

How Dodgson experiences time in his day-to-day life also affects his work. As he explains, “The time I spend ‘working’ is sometimes motivated by the desire to live a more passive existence not ‘doing anything’. It's a dichotomy that I suppose everyone needs to face, but in the past few years, it's really been an over-arching theme for myself and my work.”

“The title Safety, Service and Security has its roots in basic human desire,” the photographer continues. ”Wanting to be home, wanting to be happy and safe, but also wanting to make work and be productive and feel useful.”

Dodgson finds a home between continents, living and working in both London and Oxnard, California. Coupled with his fashion work, it’s an agitated, unsettled lifestyle that only deepens his search for settlement, idleness, and rest. As the photographer explains, “I'm planning something for October in London and hopefully an exhibition in California soon, as well as another small publication, similar to Street of Bushes, 2017. But for now, I'd really just love to drink a beer in the sun, go surfing and fishing, and get some much-needed rest…”

Safety, Service and Security, organised by Matt Williams, runs 30 June – 15 July 2018 (Wednesday to Sunday 2 – 6pm) at Adelaide, 17 rue du Chevalier Roze, Marseille