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Links - Body Symbols - 1986-88 - © Lloyd Godman


Lloyd Godman started photography many years ago. Surrounded by a varied natural environment; he took as his subjects the river, rocks, monumental but fragile coastal structures, endless sky and earth - the wild nature of Otago. From the instant moment of a thousand drops of running water to the peaceful dream of a stone or rock, each of these elements has a very important  value in his photographs. Spending hours in this environment to catch the right light from the sun, softness of shadow and emotions, he has explored an understanding of the living body of mother earth.

His photographs are based upon his immediate environment, and a whole image can be created in a fraction of a second , consequently, retaining a sense of immediacy.

Instantaneously: an essence of the precious fragments of life.

He achieves his best results when there is a strong flow of relationship between the two participants, the Artist and Nature.

Now, using the same emotions, and the ability that photography has to describe the subject matter as faithfully as possible he is presenting us with another part of nature, The human body! A subject as old as human civilisation and often controversial.

Photography is an independent and creative medium, a medium of selection not of synthesis like other plastic arts, But it is also a medium with its own specific appeal; sharp minutely detached , with a full range of tones from deep black to pure white. A photographic print is like nothing else, it resembles neither a charcoal drawing nor water colour, it is uniquely a photographic print. Using that type of print, and photography as a medium of selection, Lloyd Godman is presenting the nude to us.

Dividing the light from the darkness or mixing both to achieve a variety of greys he creates sky and earth, water and flame, open horizons, mysterious shadows and glades of light. Revealed is an elementscape that we have never seen in reality, because we are too busy, too prudish or we have covered our bodies with too many clothes. Without shame he is telling us the analogy that the human from has to large heavy stones, delicate unfolding flowers, part of the erosion of the soil, the dancing flicker of flames or the endless rush of water. The transformation of each part of our body in these photographs is like an infinite sky of life around humanity from past to future. A kind of Arabesque motif is mixed with the constant composition to produce symbols and metaphors with the constant composition to produce symbols and metaphors for modern life.

Small black and white squares open for us numerous ways to penetrate an image ourselves. Each part of the body has for Godman the same value, the same importance. Each part is performing, from the quiet power of being to flammable existence and the  almost nonmaterialistic eternity of seconds. Small parts - a chin, a neck a shoulder with an elegant line of a breast, becoming paradigms of huge boulders and rocks looming in the distance. From primitive African images of fertility to fine calligraphic of the music of drops.

Having passed all these associations of elemental composition, it is a way of penetrating our imagination of infinity.

Enclosed in a few square centimetres, Godman forces us to examine and question our private thoughts of being. The intimate scale forces us to step forward, forces us to examine, forces us to question. This is a conscious step into our private thoughts.

Godman said that for him, "The body has the same value as the sun, a rock, water or the atmosphere; silence or sound. We are just part of the story of the universe".

Like Ruth Bernard, he sees in human forms elemental relations to the larger forms of nature; fluidity like water, space like mountain range. It is an old truth which he explores, like many artist in the past and present. We can follow his understanding to create our own vision of his view of reality. From his puzzle we can build up our own emotions of life. Filling the black and white designs with our meaning and experiences of daily life, we can enjoy his vision, tricks precision and perfection.

Godman's photographs are very much a conscious product of imagination, aesthetic sensibility and understanding of the subject. He carefully selects images creating in the viewer an overall cumulative effect. The body is an element of his photographs and the world. It is a symbol for him and his work. The body is a parallel between the outside of us and the inside of his photographs. These symbols are universal and global.

This exhibition represents a celebration - a hymn to the beauty of the body as it is. It is unconventionalised, uncovered, being full of vitality and erotic sensuality.

Possessing a highly developed sense of abstract forms and acute sensitivity to harmony, these works carry out the words of Edward Weston (one of the greatest photographers of our time); that " to photograph a rock or body it has to look like a rock or body; but it must be more than a rock or body". To succeed the work must transcend the subject and materials of the medium. In their final effect these works do just that, for they allow us to forget the subject, even though it is the human figure, and the medium, even though they are literally only photographic prints.

Edward Sakowski 1989