Moody Photographs Capture Grit and Beauty

Gil Gilmour shoots shadowy portraits resembling topography.

by Antwaun Sargent
May 25 2017, 5:09pm

Gil Gilmour, Untitled, 2015. All images courtesy of the artist.

Whether photographing fashion, faces, or nature, a good artist must train her eye to capture something singular. For Australian photographer Gil Gilmour, that aspect is his country's form. In each of Gilmour's pictures, what comes forth is a vividly rendered natural and built environment.

The Melbourne-based artist, who considers himself a "human photographer," is attempting to commune with life by capturing the natural wonder of the Land Down Under. Studies of the natural world and closely cropped images of the human body are deeply influenced by landscape photography. In an untitled work from 2015 of a curvaceous figure lying on their side, the topography of the human body resembles a nature scene, in the way it appears both alpine and prepossessing.

Gil Gilmour, Untitled, 2016.

"I tend to operate on the philosophy of Flow, Feel, Form," Gilmour tells Creators. "Which is, to arrive at something of significant form, or that of which the sum of it's parts transcends the whole not reaching to be anything other than what it is. It exists so naturally that in a world full of pretense, it stands singularly, [communicating] much more than what is on the surface." The photographer uses a meditative approach, which he calls "a state of flow and non-thinking," as a way to see people and the environment beyond what is obvious.

Gil Gilmour, Untitled, 2016

This is glimpsed in an untitled photo of a man asleep in the sun with his pants halfway down on a busy Melbourne street. "There is a break in the foot traffic, the street appears empty apart from one hint of a shadow walking away from him," says Gilmour, describing capturing the picture. "The man rises, rests on his elbow, turns his head away from the sun, gazes down the street and for a single frame, surrounded by darkness, he imposes a presence of utter regality and statuesque strength. Then, he moves, the people return and that moment of hope is lost."

Gil Gilmour, Untitled, 2016

An early morning untitled image of a woman sleeping evokes the idea of the body as a landscape of identity. She is seen wrapped in a blanket as the sun flits through the room, producing shadows filtered through empty wine bottles. For Gilmour, the shadows recall both "maiden and mother." He says he shot one frame before the light disappeared, and so too did "a hidden account of feminine archetypes." The way Gilmour uses light is also glimpsed in the untitled black and white mountain landscape from 2016, which expresses a moodiness that seems imbued in the lighting and composition of the image. In another scene captured just after dusk in 2016, the dark blue sky produces a shadowy silhouette of a figure with his hands crossed.

Gil Gilmour, Untitled, 2016

"Photography, for me, serves the same purpose as my pen and as my book of paper does," says Gilmour. "The tool of the camera can be so unobtrusive and integrated with one's natural course of living, that I find it indispensable in the translation of appreciation for life. I find it malleable enough to augment visually the reality projected to us and to shift that reality closer to something based in feeling."

He believes that there is a world less seen, but rather sensed, "and it is this endless appreciation and exploration of the world that, for me, comes most naturally through the medium of photography." He adds, "If I achieve anything, I hope that it may be the stamina to remain in this place and to share what has been seen. I hope to achieve something greater than what is created only within, to find oneself harmonized and sung along the wind, never to come back, never to end."

To see more of Gil Gilmour's photos, click here.


Here's How Photography Will Change the World

The World's Best Photojournalism Arrives in London

The Sickest Photos from National Geographic's 2015 Photo Contest