Dear Garry Fabian Miller

I am writing this note on my iPhone in my way back to Brighton after your talk at the V&A tonight.

We briefly met when you signed my book and I sheepishly confessed to two decades of loving your work. As I left I reflected on the £35.00 I shouldn’t have spent, on your generous thoughts about promoting Unknown artists and my complete inability to take up such a golden opportunity to expose myself, an artist, in your presence.

Perhaps it is pride, I thought. Or just the weary understanding that no one can really help a struggling artist, beyond giving them encouragement to continue.

But then, reading the essay on the train I realised you may have been interested to know that I have worked for ten years in photographic labs and that it was me who persuaded Metro Imaging to buy the super wide lightjet on which you now print. In fact, coming into the lab and seeing your work in the table was probably the greatest consolation for those hard years of trying to preserve one good printing house when so many were falling in a war against everything 'old fashioned' i.e. Film.

And I thought you’d like to hear about my colour-loving journey from painter to photographer: how I moved over to printing digitally once the light jet made it possible. All those early experiments in inter-negatives, dye sublimation and inkjet. And what about the computer? Buying my first Mac with grant money from the Princes Trust…for a business I confess never existed. And then making my first digital images, postage stamp size. Waiting for an affordable solution to that problem: with the necessary advances in processing and storage decades away. Most museums don’t yet understand the craft of making art on a computer. I’m hoping in another twenty years they will.

Both of us are optimists, both craftsmen, artists, decorators. I'm reading William Morris, it seems the right time. I too am firmly committed to the domestic. Believe it or not, making images with software is something like breathing out for me when I'm in contact with what you called Deep Time. I share your belief in the transformational power of thought.

Tonight I realised I have always walked in your footsteps without knowing it was you.
I hope I've done more than just follow you.

But thankyou Gary Fabian Miller. You are my hero and my guide.

Garry Fabian Miller, 'Becoming Magma

Garry Fabian Miller
'Becoming Magma, New Year, January 2005'
Water, light, dye destruction print
Width 41 cm x height 30.5 cm
© Garry Fabian Miller

Gary Fabian Miller was talking at the Victoria and Albert Museum Tuesday November 3rd at 6.30pm where his work is currently on show. His latest book : Illumine: Photographs by Garry Fabian Miller, A Retrospective by Martin Barnes (Merrell Publishers, London and New York 2005).


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© Lisa Creagh 2019