Daniel Gordon describes himself as a photographer, “as straight as you can get”, before throwing a spanner in the works by adding that what he’s photographed never really existed. It’s the act of photographing that brings things into existence.
By way of explanation, he relates a story of seeing a woman step on a pile of baby birds, though it turned out to have been a heap of shredded cardboard. The feeling he tries to convey in his work is the one felt in such a moment, when things suddenly turn out to be not what you’d thought they were.
Gordon admits that the complex assemblages he constructs from stacks of old magazines and internet downloads may also, once he looks through the lens, amount to no more than that lifeless, “shredded cardboard”.
It’s his particular version of Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment: it happens, or it doesn’t. Photographing creatively is willing things into life, or as Gordon puts it, “making ordinary moments extraordinary”.