Beyond the Mask Featured artist: Steve Wintercroft

Late July 2017 and completely out of the blue I get a text message from "my name's Roger" with a pleasant invite to "get in touch with a small team of local creatives who are involved in a very interesting project" they wanted to talk to me about some photography "if I was interested?" ...No harm in finding out a little more I felt.

A few days later and I am comfortably familiarised with 'Wintercroft Masks', a small team of friendly creatives working from a converted living room less than one mile from my home. The guest seating is a horse's saddle and I'm on it.

The masks - various and plentiful - are a concept that blossomed from Steve Wintercroft's dislike of fancy dress. For most of us the solution would be to not go to the party ...or suck it up and buy something cheap, but Steve is a man who thought outside the box and then chose to wear one. The very first mask - a fox design, was built from chopped up cereal packets. My brief: Game of Thrones mask series.

Necessity is the mother of invention Plato

Is winter coming? Not for several months, no.

For those familiar with GOT and in particular series 7 which was current, there is a notable lack of available Winter during the UK Summer. I ask that you use your imagination.

Whilst I was blown away by the Game of Thrones mask series, what really caught my attention were many of Steve's less prescriptive designs. All beautifully crafted with no ambiguity regarding identity, but often challenging to discern whether I was observing pure maleficence or deeply mystical charm. We discussed more shoots.

Incipience: noun the act or process of bringing or being brought into existence

Once upon a time.

Telling Stories

It is my experience that photography discussion mostly gravitates towards technical and composition, but far too often overlooks the possibility for narrative. Fact based or fiction, obvious or otherwise, narrative adds interest to a photograph, often by simply inviting the viewer to take part in the image.

In the smaller images [above] the narrative is deliberately vague and left for the viewer to choose their own turn of events. In the main image however, by capturing a suit-wearing, cookery-book-reading Polar Bear on an 'unseated' modern world journey, I am asking the viewer to ponder the Polar bear's future ..."But what when the ice has melted?"

“The ultimate wisdom of the photographed image is to say: ‘There is the surface. Now think — or, rather, feel, intuit — what is beyond it.’ Strictly speaking, there is never any understanding in a photograph, but only an invitation to fantasy and speculation... It is doubtful that a photograph can help us understand anything. A photograph of the Krupp [munitions] factory, as Brecht (Bertolt) points out, tells us little about this institution. The ‘reality’ of the world is not in its images, but in its functions. Functioning takes place in time, and must be explained in time. Only that which narrates can make us understand.” Susan Sontag

On a personal level and linking with narrative, my own enjoyment of photography is no longer anchored in simply creating images, but increasingly about telling the story behind them.

Insanity was embraced in a dance without hands. Every dog has his day, but some days are more complicated. @when_i_change [Instagram]

Steve's designs offer a great beginning - the rest is up to you.

Please pay a visit to the Wintercroft Wonderland by clicking the button below the image.

Save me.

Thanks for reading.

Created By
Paul James



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