Only Black: Selected Photographs


Amber bridge

A footpath and bridlepath that was once a proper field road leads down steeply to the river. As well as the footbridge there is a ford crossing for horses and they can splosh through the water to the right of the picture to access the path again.

I took the photograph in the Spring when the light was still able to penetrate the newly leaved trees. The vegetation grows profusely racing to flower and seed before the trees shade out the light. During the course of a year I make this walk lots of times and always stop to look into the river and sometimes sit and contemplate. It is a delightlful place to do so.

Danger of death

I began this with some old fibre board I found on an industrial estate, added an old garage door, then I found an electricity sub station with the warning signs. I wanted to add to the drama and used some grafitti, some broken strips of pallet timber and I posed in vulnerable mode.

All the stuff came from a couple of industrial estates and a back alley in the locality, I’m always amazed at what I find on them especially at the back where it tends to be a bit tatty. Every time I go back to one there’s more to find and I’m always surprised at that happening, just stuff I missed the first few times I suppose.

Fag ends

I always go out with a camera in my pocket and I wander around industrial estates looking for odds and ends to put into my montages. In this case an old oil tin that had been used to drain oil from vehicles, some fag ends in a heap outside one of the units and a pile of stone chippings.

I like to make figurative montages and I also like the effect from wearing a metallic Lycra Zentai suit, they photograph very well indeed and give a more highlighted shape than the plain ones. As a juxtaposition I made a straight up and down pose to complement the rest of the image.

Forest figurative #2

Quite simply the joy of the first warm sunshine in the early Spring, at the bottom of a steep escarpment sheltered from the worst of the winds and trapping the early sun. And there small plinth like mound ideal to pose on and to express the joy I feel and the ‘oneness’ I experience when posing.

I have felt this for many years and recently came across some words about Zen, amongst them ‘oneness’ and everything being not quite as it seems to be, I realised with a bit of a jolt that my block prints are representations of this idea.


This started with the grill. I removed all the holes, added some cardboard and the tree branches behind it. Posed ‘en femme’ for the figure and added the leaves. I used a compass and a pencil to make the drawing. A lot of fiddling with the colour and the Clone tool to finish off.

I make montages because I like doing and occasionally they end up in a video.

Window bolt

I started this after finding a lamp standard in a scrap yard, at the bottom of it was the clay that it had rested in and the bolt that held the base on. It had a nice texture and I knew I would be able to start an image using it.

To that I added a bread basket, the window and the brake discs and posed for the figurative part. I like the dense black broken up by the texture of the clay.

Once I’d got going with the idea, I found that I could pretty well use any image I could lay my hands on. I was a bit concerned about the montages, but even they worked out OK. —Jem Raid