We are so proud to have had the opportunity of interviewing the busy Dillon Marsh, local Cape Town boy making it big in the art & photography scene right around the world.
Growing up on a small farm near Stellenbosch Dillon Marsh spent most of his free time playing outdoors. Riding on his bike, he loved exploring his surroundings and he says he still has that wanderlust, “I just upgraded my means of travel to cars and planes”.
Since he can remember he has always been drawn to wide, open spaces; thinking that it’s the fundamental reason for his interest in the environment. “I’m very curious about how we interact with the environment around us, so most of my work focuses on specific features of this theme.” One of his biggest dreams is to explore the Arctic and Antarctic circles since he is fascinated by these kind of remote landscapes covered in snow.
Taking the Leap
After he completed his degree in fine art at the University of Stellenbosch in 2003 he spent two years working in the UK. He occasionally worked in photography related jobs that included a short stint as a photographer of tourists visiting the theatrical London dungeons (complete with accessories like fake axes, stocks and rats). Thereafter he returned to Cape Town and he worked as a retouch artist doing post-production with regards to commercial photography for 5 years. During this time he started producing his own artistic work and then in 2013 he took the leap of quitting his job to pursue a career as a self-employed artist and photographer. He feels that his main motivation to grow as an artist comes from interacting with like-minded people, fellow artists and other professionals in the art industry. “By doing so I am able to clearly gauge my strengths and weaknesses and develop ways of improving.”
The Character of a Subject
When going through his work we couldn’t help but notice that he had the subject matter placed directly in the centre of the photograph and as fellow photographers we just had to know what the reason for that was. He explained that he has been influenced heavily by the work of photographers like Bernd and Hilla Becher who developed a photographic style called typology. “This style typically has the subject centered in the image and shows repeated images of similar objects composed in a uniform way, usually displayed in grid formation.” By working in this specific style he feels that he’s able to show both the character of the individual object as well as the characteristics that makes these things a family.
In his series Gold, he placed a giant gold ball in different locations, putting into context the total amount of gold extracted from a single gold field. We asked him how he got the idea and how he went about creating such photographic art. He replied, “While researching remote areas of the country, I discovered records of the old copper mines near Springbok. I was intrigued by the amount of effort that was required not only to extract the copper from the ground, but also to transport the ore through a dry and inhospitable region to the coast where it was then shipped to England to be processed. This made me curious about how much copper was taken out of each mine and I decided to represent this amount relative to the mine itself. I later continued with this theme, exploring the mining of diamonds, gold and platinum group metals.”
How he does it
We then continued to ask him how he creates those photographic works of art and he gave us a step-by-step guide:
- He starts off by photographing the mine or a scene relevant to the mine.
- Then by using a 3D rendering program he models a sphere that reflects the environment of the photograph.
- Lastly, he uses Photoshop to combine the rendered sphere with the photo, making sure that the size of the sphere is a realistic representation of the recorded amount of minerals extracted and that it is accurately scaled relative to the scene around it.
Representing South Africa
He is currently getting ready to leave for Copenhagen as he is participating in a group show called ‘Africa Reframed’ and when asked about future plans, he said that he’s working on a few ideas but there are no concrete plans yet.
Well, we are excited to see what Dillon does next and will surely keep you guys updated about the talented photographer.