The artist discusses the sculptural elements in his photographic work 'December Water'.

A triptych of three framed photographic images, ‘December Water' (1976) shows a section of running water in a snow covered landscape.

All the images are taken from a fixed viewpoint and have a very shallow depth of field. However, the camera is focused differently in each one so that it captures distinct aspects of the same scene and of water as an element.

The first image concentrates on the extreme foreground, picking out the bubbling stream; the second on the midground, showing the crystalline snow; and the third is focused on the background, capturing the thick, freezing mist.

John Hilliard (b. 1945) started to use photography in the 1960s and early 1970s as a means of documenting his sculptural practice, which focused on temporary installations and performative events. By the mid-1970s he was experimenting with photography as an art form in its own right.

In photographic works such as ‘December Water' he retains sculptural elements: he constructs the photographic images in a logical, modular fashion and uses them to articulate space and to explore the physical attributes of his subject matter.

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John Hillard, interviewed by Victoria Worsley, for the National Life Stories project Artists' Lives
Video credit: The British Library Board