John’s previous body of work is a homage to Cindy Sherman. Sherman captures moments in time that tell a filmic story through photographs that give the impression of being individual film stills. In this way she is suggesting a scene of chronological order. She has been very methodical about placing props, controlling lighting and reconstructing her identity for each shot, as her pictures are always self-portraits. In the words of Ansel Adams ‘You don’t take a photograph you make it’.
John uses family members in his work. This allows him to use models who are both willing and patient to pose time and again. At present, John is working with film rather than digital, as this is similar to the way Sherman worked, particularly on ‘Untitled Film Stills’ in 1977.
John’s homage to her work is further developed by his use of his own family in his photographs. This has expanded his interest to investigating and analysing the different individual personalities in his family, in a similar way to Sherman’s idea of representing different stereotypes in her images.
John Mullaney ‘Untitled Still’s’ 2015
Cindy Sherman ‘Untitled Film Still’s’ 1977.
John Mullaney, ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ 2014
These two images show figures from the Berkeley Building in Armada Way. They are part of a series called Hidden in Plain Sight that show unnoticed, historical, architectural features from the three towns of Plymouth. One image shows a set of Greek Gods and the other an ARP Fire Warden from WWII, both features on the 1950s building.
John Mullaney ‘Fire Warden’ 2014
The image of the Fire Warden has brought him ‘into the light’, moving him from his hidden home on the corner of the building to the centre of the frame. It shows details that are not easily seen when viewing the figure from the street. The combination of the images reinforces the status of the Fire Warden, showing him how the architects placed him on an equal status with the Gods.
John Mullaney ‘The Gods’ 2014
The image of the Gods utilises the evergreen palm trees to show how architectural features can be permanently obscured, changing the architect’s original vision for the building.