Patrick M Higgins is a well-established and respected photographer based here in the North West and recently won second place in the Wirral Festival of Firsts Photography competition. Art in Liverpool spoke to Patrick to find out more about this artist, known for his startling monochrome, architectural and landscape photographs.
How did you first become interested in photography?
My father was a semi-professional photographer doing mostly portraiture, and from quite a young age I was interested in his work. I didn’t take photographs myself until my wife gave me a camera for my 21st, but I haven’t stopped since. I started with 35mm and medium format cameras before moving on to digital, which I now use exclusively. For me, the immediacy of the digital image and lightroom capability have revolutionised the process of my creating an image.
Did you enjoy your experience as part of Wirral Festival of Firsts?
Its always interesting to throw your hat in the ring and enter work. The entries were of a high standard, and varied in subject and approach, so I was more than pleased for my image to be amongst the winners.
What are your favourite subjects to photograph?
I take both architectural and landscape images but in a sense my subject is always the same; light. I find shape, texture, colour and detail revealed by the changing quality of light, to be both exciting and inspirational.
You recently took part in a project “See Me Take Over Time Square” – tell us more.
Lately I’ve been submitting work all over the world for competitions, submissions to galleries and publishers, and through social media. The response has been amazing, particularly in America. I had work exhibited and published by the Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon and took part in an open exhibition last summer in the See Me Gallery in New York. This year the See Me Gallery invited me to take part in a digital billboard exhibition See Me Take Over Times Square. For an evening Time Square became a massive art gallery showing work by artists from around the globe. Unfortunately I was not able to get there but I watched it via a webcam. It was exciting to see my pictures of Liverpool architecture, high up on a building on the corner of 43rd Street and Times Square.
Will you be exhibiting in Liverpool this year?
I have nothing planned currently, but I post images almost daily on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook which are getting a good response and creating some interesting opportunities.
What exhibitions have you been to recently and loved / hated?
I covered the Chagall at the Tate a little while back for Art in Liverpool which was amazing and I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with his granddaughter, who incidentally loved our buildings in Liverpool, “….much better than Paris.” It was eye opening, inspiring and humorous, which I loved.
Which photographers or movements in photography do you admire / who are your influences?
A dear friend of mine once advised me to stop reading about how to take photographs and look at the work of others. Best advice, but hard now to draw out the influences. I have always been in awe of Ansel Adams unsurprisingly, for many the greatest exponent of Landscape. I admire the landscapes of the late Eliot Porter and that of Paul Wakefield and David Muench. Sebastião Salgado is a master of power, scale and documentation and a member of the Magnum Agency, a collection of the most amazing photographers. Silbeman’s New York monochromes, Brassai’s Grand Central Station, Doisneau’s Kiss, Bresson….life works and individual photos, an endless list of great art and influence.
What or who would your ideal subject be?
I love the diversity of cities. We live in one of the most amazing cities in the world and I spend a lot of time working here, trying to capture images that have some resonance with the place I live. I visit other cities whenever I can. I’ve just returned from a short trip to Brussels (view photography here) and am going to New York next Spring. I am fascinated by the architectural history of a city and its relationship with sometimes challenging modern architecture. All cities have their dark architectural side; occasional grotesque structures, soulless estates, but discovering the gems that exist is very rewarding.
I find myself constantly drawn to the coast, where the quality of light seems most extreme. I spend a lot of time on the Welsh coast where the weather can trigger a sequence of changing light that can be breathtaking. We are blessed with stunning coastal regions and unpredictable weather that makes for great landscape images.
Have you or would you ever consider branching out into film?
I love the moment in time that a still photograph records and how it is perceived. I am fascinated by film but absorbed by the single image!