THERE WAS & THERE WAS NOT
Claire Newman-Williams is an British photographic artist who uses photography and collage to explore the world where imagination and reality collide.
Claire grew up in North Lincolnshire and after studying at Birmingham University she moved to the United States in 1988. She worked as a portrait photographer in Washington, DC and New York and her work appeared in numerous national and international publications including Time Magazine, The New York Times and The Advocate. Returning to the UK in 2005 she had become disenchanted by the hours she spent sitting in front of a computer tweaking digital files and making people look pretty. She wanted her work to reflect more of her life so she stopped looking for things to photograph that could be “fine art” images and started looking instead for emotions and memories, feelings and thoughts that she wanted to express.
By blending her unique photographs (often portraits that she creates with old cameras and alternative processes) with text, diagrams, and inscriptions that other generations have left behind, Claire builds visual stories of recalled experience and nostalgia. In her Story Boxes she creates collages layered and arranged in antique wooden boxes. These boxes are intended to be like inner landscapes, addressing the recurrent themes of the smothering of identity and our fear of being seen – truly seen – by those around us. The boxes themselves are sourced from auctions and house clearances and the contents of the box are the ephemera of everyday life, the junk that others throw away: old book covers, flakes of old textured paint, strips of leather, old nails, snippets of newspaper from years past.