There’s nothing better than finding an image so crafty and weird that it makes you question its origin. In a new book by Tyrone Wiliams, a Northampton-based artist-cum-photographer-cum-experimenter, he prompts a few raised eyebrows through the spellbinding imagery found in Phosphorescent, now published TXTbooks.
Glitchy, neon and strange, Phosphorescent invites its viewers into a bizarre landscape of squiggly shapes and lines, presented through stark black pages and luminescent drawings splattered across the page. It’s difficult to tell exactly what you’re looking at, or how the works are created, but there’s something ever so captivating about each page. “This new project Phosphorescent is the latest book which focuses on neon hues and altered textures, trying to push the image out of its limits,” he tells It’s Nice that. “It’s a way of expressing something further – a transformation with traces of raw form.”
In some ways, this new publication defies the usual art or photo book. Without much detail or description, Tyrone consciously leaves his readers in a perplexed state. It’s his own space for experimentation, where the artist has toyed with 3D renders, iridescent palettes and textures to create his glow-in-the-dark pieces. Using Photoshop to achieve this futuristic look, this latest accomplishment is certainly more abstract than the work that came before it.
The last time we heard from Tyrone was after he’d launched his new photographic publication Ordinary Fragments, made in collaboration with Jean-Chistophe Recchia. Snapping moments in their local dwellings – UK and France respectively – the project saw a mash-up of things they’d observed from flowers to rolling paper, shrubbery, cars and architecture. Presented in his signature warping style, the work itself is explicitly photographic (although waning on the post-production side), which proves quite the contrast to his latest release of Phosphorescent. But even if he’s gone down a more experimental route of late, Tyrones’ heart will always be with photography.
In fact, Tyrone first picked up a camera around 10 years ago. He started off by experimenting with disposables and 35mm compact cameras, “intrigued how the camera had so much freedom and depth to understand how images are interpreted,” he says. “I was hooked.” So much so that Tyrone always kept a camera with him firmly in tow, “like a diary,” he adds, “and felt it was a way of expressing myself fully within a medium. For me, it is a way of understanding life and embracing it.” His interests in the medium grew over time and, eventually, he started building an impressive portfolio. Consistent in the way he likes to toy with perception and process, it’s been clear from the get-go that Tyrone is no ordinary photographer; he now works as a graphic designer and product photographer full-time, making sure to spend time on his own personal projects on the side.
So where exactly does Tyrone source his otherworldly ideas? “I find my inspiration mostly from my own thoughts and feelings and also for trying to understand the image itself,” he says. “As life adapts forward, so does the image; I like to keep a fresh head and not a fixed idea on what an image has to be like.” Meanwhile, his process is a lot more simple and, because he always carries a camera, tends to be quite spontaneous. “I usually find subjects to shoot anywhere, but when the inspiration in a subject I’m looking at happens, it’s as if it falls into place and it’s another step in moving forward visually for myself.” More recently, for example, he’s been manipulating images to “challenge their form” and present them in unique ways, specifically those that “might be extreme visually”.
With all of this in mind, perhaps your understanding of Phosphorescent has become a little clearer. Tyrone is an artist who never ceases to stop experimenting and growing in his practice, and this publication is the next step in his journey. “I would like to think that, as a whole, my images show how there is always more to see and that inspiration can be found anywhere,” he concludes. “Imagery hasn’t got a finish line, it’s one’s personal way of understanding an infinity.”
Tyrone Williams: Phosphorescent (Copyright © Tyrone Williams, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.