UCLH Arts and Heritage instigated an Arts on Prescription pilot initiative for outpatients receiving, or who had recently completed treatment at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine to be referred to a 6-week mindfulness drawing course, aimed at improving wellbeing.
Paul Colley has created a substantial body of work in collaboration with the photographer and artist, Georgie Scott. Georgie creates accessible and highly engaging environments in the studios at Project Art Works that Paul directs with subtle, nonverbal gestures and presence. Paul’s photographic images are visual soundings of an experientially unfiltered world. His practise is rooted in the art of looking as he tries to make sense of the world around him through careful observation. He has an acute interest in portraits, from the faces of strangers to those of his closest family, caregivers and friends. Paul engages with humour and subtlety when collaborating, intensely studying the changing facial expressions of those that sit for portraits and who choose to engage fully with him.
Georgie projects imagery of what the camera ‘sees’ and then supports Paul to use a remote shutter release without the need for an LCD screen or viewfinder. In this way Paul takes many photographs, switching his attention between this and reviewing an evolving body of work – intensely searching, noticing, discarding and by a process of elimination identifying images that move and hold him.
Through subtle direction from Paul, Georgie set-ups complex environments and table-based installations. Images are edited and printed onto acetates and perspex, attached to hand-held wood blocks or made into paper objects and books that Paul holds and turns or carefully arranges and then re-photographs or dismantles.
Paul takes his time to activate the shutter when taking photographs of people. This gives his portraits particular qualities of anticipation, empathetic focus, playfulness and connection.
This selection of playful and intimate photographic portraits presents a window into Paul’s world, where you meet the people important to him, and his creative process within and outside of the studios is revealed.
Order Paul Colley’s book here.