Michela Griffith’s images celebrate the beauty and diversity of water in motion, and its ever changing interaction with light, land and season. This ‘Liquid Light’ also inspires her to experiment with movement in and through the landscape. By working locally and through experimentation she has developed a clear vision and a distinctive style.
The landscape has always been central to Michela’s life. Working as a Chartered Landscape Architect for 24 years, Michela maintained the interest in photography that began in her teens and this increasingly became a creative outlet for her after moving to the Peak District National Park in 2007. Her image making changed dramatically in 2012 when her local river, the Dove, became her muse. A particular piece, “Ice on Rust” received a commendation in the Landscape Photographer of the Year Competition in 2013. The associated portfolio of abstract images led to membership of professional artists’ group Peak District Artisans in late 2013. In turn this brought her work to the attention of the organisers of Lichfield Festival, who invited her to exhibit in Lichfield Cathedral in 2014 as part of their Visual Arts Exhibition.
Her highly individual interpretations of water led to a first solo exhibition at The Joe Cornish Galleries, Northallerton, in 2015 and subsequent solo exhibitions at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (2015) and The Peak Gallery, Bakewell (2016). A joint exhibition at the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek in 2016 brought her work to the attention of Sarah Clemson of the Longitude Gallery, Clitheroe.
In parallel with these she has shown work with Peak District Artisans for the last 4 years at a variety of venues including Chatsworth House, The Devonshire Dome in Buxton, and Tatton Park in Cheshire. She has taken part in Derbyshire Open Arts and Buxton Art Trail (where she received a nomination for excellence in the Visual Arts in the Buxton Festival Fringe Awards 2017). Her work was exhibited for the first time at the Longitude Gallery in April 2017, and featured in at The Montefiore Hospital, Hove, for Brighton Fringe.
Her images have been shortlisted in a number of national and international competitions and she was a finalist in the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017.
‘There is an obvious beauty to be found in water but we tend to underestimate how this changes with time and how important movement is to our experience of the landscape. The images that you see are created in camera and not at a computer: using longer exposures and introducing subject movement allows me to create works that are frequently mistaken for paintings. I print all but the largest images myself onto a fine art paper which emphasises this quality. My choice of white mounts and frames is intended to set apart the picture from its surroundings, in the same way that I use the camera to isolate the qualities of water and light that provide me with endless inspiration.
These personal interpretations have, for me, a richness missing from representational views. They allow me to combine an early love of drawing and painting with my long-standing passion for photographing the landscape. The digital camera lends itself to creative interpretations, only our imagination and our tendency to adhere to precedent limit us. I’ve moved away from what many people expect photographs to be – my images aren’t a straight record or the result of a fortuitous combination of location, timing and light. They are interpretations of things that I see, which others may not always notice. Photographing water has fundamentally changed my way of seeing, and I now look at the land with new eyes.’