Keith Arnatt

My relationship with Keith Arnatt was different from that which I had with the other artists and photographers I have written about. I worked at the same college as Keith for 15 years and continued to discuss his photographs with him for another decade after that.

I wrote about his work on four occasions. The first was in 1984, when I published a short essay about his series A.O.N.B. in the June issue of Creative Camera. This was the body of photographs which were at the most extreme pole from the conceptualist use of photography which had made Arnatt’s reputation in the early 1970s.

In 1989, the Photographers’ Gallery, London, and Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, mounted the first retrospective of Keith Arnatt’s work with the title Rubbish and Recollections. I was invited to write the lead essay for the catalogue, ‘Between Seeing and Knowing’, which gave an opportunity to think more widely about the range of his work.

I was again invited to write about Arnatt’s work for a special issue of European Photography in 1990 (no.43), this time concentrating on what was then his latest body of work Pictures from a Rubbish Tip.

Finally, following Keith Arnatt’s death in 2008, I wrote a short obituary which was published in Source (no.57, Winter 2009).