This is the website of image maker/photographer (ex-illustrator) Jasper Goodall.
Goodall came into the public eye through his seminal illustration work in The Face magazine and his etherial imagery for the English rock band Muse.
In 2014 he left illustration behind and spent several years training at the Psychosynthesis Trust in London. During this time his output ceased and he made no images, believing that he would never make another picture. This cessation however caused a growing sense of grief and a dawning realisation that he needed to make work in order to feel alive.
On a whim, he picked up his camera and visited some local woodland at dusk. As the sun set he switched on his torch, and discovered a whole new world of image making.
The Nocturnal Forest
The forest at night is a liminal place; full with unknown darkness beyond the torchlight. One feels quite palpably that this is not our domain; it belongs to the deer, the owls, to the wild night. To enter the nocturnal forest is to shed ones normalcy and to take a step towards the not-known, the other. To leave the village and to enter the wild forest.
Goodall’s photographs are an encounter with this nocturnal world.
‘Taking the photographs is quite an intense experience. However rational one is during the day, at night in a dark wood, your mind can run away with you. Sounds you don’t normally hear echo out of the darkness; Owls call, deer bark and strange screeches make you jump and shiver.’
His photographs have been described as being at once beautiful and terrifying, a combination he refers to as reverence. His images are an attempt to capture the stillness, the sense of hushed, waiting presence that is palpably felt between the dark boughs.
The forest landscape is notoriously difficult to photograph; trying to make compositional sense out of the chaos of trees and plants is a challenge to those photographers that are drawn to the woodland. You will frequently see forests shot in misty weather; the fog helps to isolate foreground from background and bring some sense of form out of the jumble of flora.
Instead of using misty conditions, Goodall uses chiaroscuro - the interplay between the deep shadow of nightfall and strong light falling on the trees. Forms that in the daylight are invisible and overlooked - lost to the confusion of branches and twigs - stand out starkly against the inky black of the night.
Goodall cites the 18th century Painter George Stubbs as a significant influence. Stubbs’ paintings of horses and other, more exotic mammals exhibit what Goodall refers to as ‘a museum like quality,’ that comes from the way Stubbs described forms with light. It’s as if the animals are exhibits in a dark victorian collection lit with a soft directional light.
‘I attempt to capture this feeling in the woods - I hope my compositions feel a little like the natural history exhibits I remember from when I was a kid visiting Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in the late seventies.’