Transfigure Photography (TP) aka Roland Keates is a Belper, Derbyshire Photographer and Conceptual artist who’s ethos is to find the converging line between the world of film, fine art and commercial photography and bound all those agents together to cook up a dream and add it to a reality to make it history.
Transfigure Photography says as much about Roland than the name denotes. He has metamorphosed himself from a snapshot photographer to a professional photographer, photographing many different subjects, from seascapes, portraiture, to earth moving equipment.
In the academic establishment Roland is known as a late bloomer. He did not come into his calling until he realised his potential by my then University professor, Mark Hall, who told him
“he had a knack of experimenting with photography.”
Roland formally studied photography at Derby University for (arts) in Applied Photography receiving a distinction (2012) and also studied part time while working full time for an honours degree in commercial photography at the same institute, in which I received a 2.1 (2015).
Roland has been around photography his whole life
“My Polish grandad had a dark room in his shed, which was out of bounds to me and my sister, but Roland always remembered the magic of when the picture would amazingly become transparent on the photographic paper.”
Roland talks about this period of his life in this short video
At the present time Roland is collating all his landscape and portraits photographs of dry stone walls of Derbyshire which he took during his research into his last documentary “If Walls Could Talk” and all these photographs will be made into a book with the same title and self publish.
“If Walls Could Talk” was a personal project, which Roland thought about during his time studying at Derby University and as a personal project, this took him two years to see it come to fruition.
Along with his commercial photographs, Roland continues to work on his personal projects, he is in full swing to make a documentary on the Druids of Derbyshire which will be released 2020 and he is in full swing to photograph and research about different Bus Shelters of the UK.
In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.
LeWitt, ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’, Artforum Vol.5, no. 10, Summer 1967, pp. 79-83
Why Bus Shelters? One of Roland favourite photographers is Edward Ruscha, Damien Hirst, Raymond Moore photographs everyday objects so thus making “Conceptual art.” Conceptual art is the idea (or concept) behind the work which is more important than the finished art object. Conceptual art movement began in the 1960s and finished in the late 1970’s, however this art movement is still going strong as Roland sees it as a record of history, which time will forget about. Conceptual art can be seen as critical reflection on the very fact of making art, producing self-referential works, free from that feeling or spontaneity that acts as a stereotypical prejudice in an artistic work outside the conventional market. Roland believes
“the idea, is the most powerful weapon of an artist.”
Roland works mostly in Belper, Derbyshire, however he travels extensively with his personal projects. As you can imagine, Roland personal projects takes more than a year to complete, he is extremely patience and documents everything he does.
During Roland time at university, he found a love of art and started to research deeper into the essence of art and what is art? He enrolled on an art history course at Nottingham University and wrote a thesis on “The Head of Medusa in Paintings and Symbols” “Forget Me Not – The Use of Real and Fake Photographs in Victorian Mourning Practices” and my last thesis on “The battle of the Painting of Judith and Holofernes – Caravaggio vs. Gentileschi.”
Unfortunately I was unable to finish my studies due to family and the ever-growing expense of University fees.
During this time, I had started to write blogs on my website http://www.transfigurephotography.co.uk/blogs and my first ever blog was about the life of Caravaggio which was written February 12th 2012. This blog looked at Caravaggio early life and his realism of religious figures bordering on early naturalism, as well as the choices of their models from the poorer communities. From this moment, of writing the blog, I was hooked on research and flowed between different artists, film makers and photographers. If I read about an artist from a publication, I wrote about it. In total I have written over 150 blogs with a total readership in excess over 1,368,592 according to my last statistical report.
At the present time I’m researching into writing another thesis on the “Depiction of Women in Harem Paintings, by Middle Eastern and Western Artist.” This will demonstrate how culture, and thinking will command how subjectively a painting of a mysterious subject can influence outsiders’ interests.
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