My research into the photos of my blood cells as self-portraits, insights into myself, the ‘self’, have led me to contemplate parts of who I am and my identity.

It’s been an enlightening journey so far – I’ve found that my love of pattern, order, and repetition is a big part of who I am. When I mirror the images, it’s amazing to see how chaos can transform into order. It’s like I’m structuring my own chaos.


I’ve been editing the photos of my cells. I was expecting the typical circular forms of the red and white blood cells, those images we are so familiar with from school biology and TV documentaries and I am very excited that the images reveal so much more. If I was told that they were collagraph prints, I wouldn’t have been surprised – the combination of lines, surface textures and contrasting tones is visually exciting. I have a doctor friend who has analysed the photos and explained the unexpected components: fibrin strands, plasma, platelets…

In fact, in these scans I have a lifetime of visual stimulus. I can find starting points in nature, in a photo or a video or even one from the making of the work itself – I feel working from my cell photos is very different to copying a photo of an object or a landscape… the photos of my cells offer a unique insight into form, shape, tone, texture etc. that the naked eye cannot see.

Print seems the obvious starting point to explore the images. There are so many approaches that I can explore: multi-plate using etching, drypoint, carborundum, collagraph and relief, and then also combining all those techniques in a single plate. I like the idea of making a series of each type of image, perhaps a series of three and even printing 25 en bloc, 5 by 5, on a large piece of paper. Playing with surface is the most inspirational process for me and I can’t wait to get back into the studio again – hopefully I’ll then develop them as colossal paintings.

One of my favourite theorists is Roland Barthes, in Camera Lucida he wrote of the umbilical cord of light waves that joined him with a photo of his recently deceased mother: the light that made her face visible bounced onto the film of the camera and then the printed photo captured that light which he then viewed, ultimately creating a powerful link between them (“the photograph…will touch me like the delayed rays of a star”) – my cell photos touch upon a very tangential version of this for me, but they explore something which is intrinsically part of me and that which gives me life…