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Photography - Weeds by Gavin Burke

Gavin Burke was walking a well-beaten track with his six-year-old daughter Khaya one day when she pointed at an oak tree about 25 feet away and said ‘wow, dad, look at that!’ She started dragging him towards the tree. It wasn’t until he was within touching distance of the oak that he noticed it was covered in tiny yellow and black ladybirds. He decided that he had to start paying more attention to nature. The result of this decision is Gavin’s latest photographic exhibition, ‘Weeds’, up at Trading Boundaries near Sheffield Park until the end of the month. “This revelation coincided with a period when I wasn’t cutting my grass,” says Gavin. “And I was really taken by the dandelions that grew there. Not the usual close-to-the-ground things but tall and stately dandelions. That got me thinking about ‘Weeds’, a project which looks closely at plants and isolates them from their context so you can really focus on their particular shape and form.”

“The dictionary definition of a weed is something growing where you didn’t intend it to grow,” continues Gavin, who started collecting images of plants from his garden, from the roadside, from the fields. Gavin, formerly a professional portrait photographer for the glossy Sundays, and now primarily a teacher of special-needs kids, uses a Hasselblad camera to ensure that every splendid detail of the plants, which he generally shoots against a black background, is apparent. “Some people,” he says, “say that the results are rather architectural.” AG

Cowslip by Gavin Burke, from the exhibition ‘Weeds’

Trading Boundaries directions
When? Until end of the month
How Much? Exhibition free