commercial photographer london and essex tom mcgahan


How do our perceptions determine the way that we view a place? Our memories from childhood are filled with places where we experienced different aspects of our lives, from the house where we grew up, to places we played with friends, or fought with foes. When we ‘travel to the land of motionless childhood’i the layers of thoughts and emotions that arise, cloud our true perception of the place and prevent us from encountering the full spectrum of experience.
When we enter these locations, using our awareness of our feelings and emotions, we can take a step back, and view the space as it truly is. All things are marked with impermanence, all is in constant flux. Using this theory, a process of letting go can take place.
Echoes is a record of these sites as they were at the moment that the image was captured, the form is illuminated by light, and has become reality in the field of awareness, they are ‘a discrete parcel of time’ii nothing more nothing less.
The scenes from this project are like postcards from a collective past that challenge us to transcend what we have previously thought about places from our childhood and view them with a renewed sense of awareness.
These images are documents, in that they are a chronicle of events and a record of the past, but also recognition of change. They are deeply personal, and yet universal in their approach as to how we can challenge our perception of reality. They are also esoteric in nature, as they have hidden layers of meaning that can be revealed when approached by being open and aware; they are like a Koan iii in that as our awareness evolves new levels of understanding is revealed.
The predominant influence on these images come from the teachings of Hamni Buddhism.iv Through the practice, you are constantly reminded that our perception due to our conditioning does not reveal the true nature of reality. Artists such as William Eggleston, Martin Parr and Alec Soth are examples of influence, through their exploration of the every day and mundane,
This collection of images were shot on medium and large format film, shooting on film slows down the process of photography to a form of mindfulness that is often overlooked in the modern world. A deeper sense of appreciation for the craft of producing images arises, which seems to be lost from the instant gratification of an image on the screen of the back of the camera.
When entering a scene, which has been considered for the project, staying present in the moment, and not being overly swayed by the constant tug of preconception was the guiding principle for capturing the images during this process. “ Photography does two things, it shows that everything is perishable, and because of the evidence it collects is arbitrary, it suggests that reality is unclassifiable.” v

i The Poetics of Space by Gaston Blachelard

ii Swarowski – Basic Critical Theory for Photographers by Ashley la Grange

iii A Koan is a riddle or puzzle that Zen Buddhists use during meditation to help them unravel greater truths about the world and about themselves

iv Hanmi Buddhism is a form of Esoteric Buddhism founded c. 720 in China. 

v Susan Sontang – Basic Critical Theory for Photographers by Ashley la Grang
© Copyright 2022- Tom McGahan Photography
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