Real or Imagined Places

Artist Clifton Stewart talks about “Images: Real or Imagined Places”, a work featured in a previous Art & Algorithms festival.

What was once a real event becomes changed and shifted through re-telling and dramatization where iconic images take over and historical truths are blurred and re-interpreted.

Clifton Stewart is a part-time lecturer in Lens and Digital Media at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Clifton Stewart is a part-time lecturer in Lens and Digital Media at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Whether we receive these images passively or actively engage with them it does not matter, as they are everywhere: from newspapers and dedicated news channels to movies, the Web, computer games and toys. The original intention may be to inform or entertain, the effect in the body of work is a blurring of authenticity and face, what have we seen? Was it real or imaginary? Who are the heroes and what, if anything is accomplished and learned?

Clifton Stewart 2

The work for exhibition/projection:

Images: Real or Imagined Places is a series of digital images about the world we live in and our responses to them, dramatic often world changing events that are created as something reminiscent of something seen, an event or a film experience, a news or documentary scene, each moment frozen through a digital image.
The initial impression is transformed by the knowledge or realization that the images and objects within them are toys, scaled down recreations of often historical, realistic events and all lit with film lighting techniques. Very little, if any, photo-manipulation is used.
How should we read such images and how do they relate to our childhood imaginings? Indeed are they imaginary at all anymore, or just another way of communicating something seen, a half-remembered memory now changed and interpreted as such.

Clifton Stewart 1The work will come from popular culture as well as news and historical events that will further blur the borders between a real historical and imagined event.


As a film maker I have made use of my experience and adapted film making techniques to my photography, particularly in the lighting of the items, figures and objects.
There is an intentional cinematic quality of mood and effect created at the moment of capture that reflects film making sets and techniques, where as much as possible is captured ‘in-camera’.