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Allan Forsyth: The photographer who doesn't like the camera

Victorian techniques meet 3D moving portraits in new exhibition

Despite working in photography for over ten years, Allan Forsyth says he often gets bored of using a camera.

Not that you would guess from his photographs, which have a hyper-real quality achieved with the help of digital manipulation.

Set against a jet-black background, his high resolution images of animals and flowers have an almost surreal quality to them.

Not content with capturing taxidermied specimens in 2D, Forsyth has pushed his work away from photography into animation, creating moving ‘lenticular’ portraits.

“I’m more of an artist that uses photography in their work, rather than a photographer,” he says. “I like putting the lenticulars on the wall- and doing something different to stand out.”

His moving portraits are created by placing a print behind a motion lens, giving the portrait an illusion of depth.

Allan Forsyth

Forsyth’s animations are, surprisingly, the least digitally manipulated of all his work. For his time-lapsed lenticulars he edits each individual frame just for saturation and colour, “almost like they used to do it the dark rooms”, he says.

Although he relies heavily on modern day computer-aided techniques, Forsyth also likes to go back to basics and produce images without using a camera.

“Photoshop sounds like a dirty word to a lot of people these days,” he says. “Sometimes I do like going back and not using a camera. It can be a bit of a pain.”

Allan Forsyth

For his latest exhibition, he has created a series of photograms, a Victorian technique that involves taking a photo with no camera.

By shining light onto objects placed above light-sensitive paper, a shadow is created that is then developed to create a black and white image.

Without the use of a lens or a flash, Forsyth is able to create ethereal images of leaves, butterflies and seahorses (see image below).

His manually-made photograms could not be more different to his 3D portraits, a disparity that Forsyth is all too aware of.

“My work is developing into two extremes - it’s a bit schizophrenic - but I like trying something old with something new.”

Allan Forsyth: Vivid Light runs at Gallery Elena Shchukina, 10 Lees Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 6LL until 28 March.