Photographer and PORT contributor Thomas Brown discusses his new ‘adoption-based’ exhibition, ‘Volume of Light’
Volume of Light (VoL) is a project by photographer Thomas Brown that started as a series of images, grew into an exhibition, and will culminate into a book due to be released in September. Inspired by websites that allow people to ‘buy’ square metres on the moon, or name a star, VoL invites the viewer to ‘adopt’ one of the 469 photographs Brown created in his studio by scrunching pieces of paper, hanging them on fishing line and bouncing light onto them. Viewers who adopt images get to volunteer a title, which will appear in the limited edition book, right next to the original caption. “I want to know how people are interpreting the work,” he explains, “and this is one way of doing that.”
Here, Brown tells PORT about the inspiration behind the exhibition, why he set up an adoption system and how he is attempting to change the way people view art.
“I’m fascinated by the way we all perceive our environment and how life experiences, personality or education, can either drastically alter how one person might perceive something over another person, or in fact give them a shared understanding of the same thing. As a commercial photographer, I’m confronted with this phenomena every day, shooting to a brief that might require a certain mood or feel. It’s the translation of these subjective notions into a finished image that makes my job so rewarding/challenging and created the spark for VoL.
“By making all 469 images available for adoption, VoL invites the viewer to collaborate with me. Adoption requires the viewer to volunteer a title; it’s very much my image and your title, together forever.
“I can’t say VoL offers a new way of experiencing art, people are visually assessing the world every second of the day, but maybe for some people it caused them to think a little more about what they were looking at, or to reflect on their experience of looking. It certainly offered an interesting way to interact at the exhibitions.
“In London, people were lifting the prints of the wall, sometimes collecting a few to compare, before committing to one. It got quite competitive! The exhibitions are just a way for people to come together and experience the images in a physical form; the internet is great, but nothing compares to touching and seeing things en masse.”
Interview Cécile Fischer
Head to volumeoflight.com if you want to take part in the project.