Dweller on the Threshold
Dan Kerins is a photographer, writer and horticuluralist who was brought up in Swanage, Dorset. With fields and beaches only a walk away, he built dens and dams and began to body-board on frustratingly small and inconsistent waves. In 2000, aged 18, he followed his love of surf, first to Newquay and then to Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, Australia, Tasmania and Indonesia, funding his travels by hard graft on building sites, orchards and hostels. His camera went with him.
A year earlier, his trip to Mexico City had been a visual and emotional shock. 'I'd lived in a cosy town, shielded by two headlands, and suddenly I was in this mad place, teeming with people and frantic activity, and the sensation of that collision between natural and urban life has never left me.'
You can see it in his pictures. There's an endless variety of subject-matter - it's one of the delights of his work - like turning a street corner, you never know what to expect. But the tension between man and the environment is always present. Life is shown as something to be experienced, and our place in it as something we don't want to muck up, but we're rather afraid that we have, and that were still doing it.
On his return to Cornwall, Dan explored this interaction of the biological and the human by studying World Horiculture at Duchy College, a choice that subsequently took him to the Cusuco National Park in Central America and then back to Cornwall, first at The Lost Gardens of Heligan and now at The Eden Project.
As a child, he was part of a world that was photographed and drawn by his illustrator father, and of which he was often the focus. It's something that has made him reluctant to pose for photographs himself and reluctant to take photographs that are posed. He prefers the camera's ability to catch reality unawares. 'I'm slap bang in the middle of ordinary stuff, the place where everything happens, and my camera is on the threshold between stuff happening and my ability to show it.'
He might say that he doesn't want to be in them, but in this collection there is never any doubt about the physcial presence and the discerning eye of the photographer who produced it.
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