Garry Fabian Miller was born in Bristol in 1957. In 1974 he undertook an intensive study of the remote island community of the Shetlands, an experience that strengthened his interest in rural communities, and his developing ideas about the potential of an artist’s life lived outside the mainstream of metropolitan culture. The importance of place has since become a predominant theme and was at the heart of his first major body of work Sections of England: The Sea Horizon in 1976: forty photographs taken from a fixed point on the roof of his home overlooking the Severn Estuary in which the photographic elements of lens and film and exposure remained constant so that the only change from frame to frame was in the time of day and the weather.
Since 1984 he has worked without a camera, using the techniques of early nineteenth century photographic exploration to experiment with the nature and possibilities of light as both medium and subject. Since 1992 he has explored a more abstract form of picture-making by passing light through coloured glass and liquid and cut paper forms. In parallel he has explored the ideas of exposure, the quantities of light that are required to make things visible, or invisible, in the making of a picture. In sharp contrast to the photographic norm of exposures that last for a fragment of a second, Miller’s work tends towards long exposures lasting anywhere between one and fifteen hours. These unusual methods create alternative, luminous realities that shift from pure abstraction to imagined landscapes of the mind and the resulting pictures have tended to appear from the studio in series, each image leading to the next.
In 2006, partly as a reaction against the physical and technical challenges of these composite works, and partly in response to the threat posed to his methods by the digital age (specifically the demise of light sensitive Cibachrome paper, which he has worked exclusively with since 1976) Miller began an intense period of working on a smaller scale. Since 2005 the Cibachrome paper material has been under threat, ceasing production for a period, and thus prompting the artist’s Year One and Year Two cycles. In Switzerland during the autumn of 2011 the final sheets of paper were coated and processing chemistry mixed.
The Victoria & Albert Museum have the largest public collection of the artist’s work having collected pieces for over 25 years, the most recent acquisition the 2006 Year One cabinet which is on permanent display within the Museums Print Room.
Since the winter of 1989 Garry Fabian Miller has lived with his family on Dartmoor in the South West of England.