When it comes to describing Garth Hill’s photography, many call it “dream-like,” comparing him to Salvador Dalí or René Magritte. But if you ask Garth directly, he says his Flickr name best defines his work.
“On Flickr, I go by Photoimaginarium,” Garth says in the accompanying video. “When you go to my stream, it’s always going to be a blend of photography and imagination.”
Garth considers himself both an amateur photographer and an amateur philosopher. “It’s important to me that the viewers have a deep connection to the work,” he says. “Also that their imagination comes alive, that they get inspired by what they see. It’s about connecting with the viewer.”
Garth takes all his pictures with a point-and-shoot camera and edits his pictures on a free software program called Gimp. He hopes this easy and low cost approach encourages others to create thought-provoking pieces of their own.
“It’s important to me that people have the ability and encouragement to make art that’s fun and deeply personal to them,” Garth says. “From the grandmother living in rural Nebraska to some kid in the city. They don’t need fancy cameras or Photoshop to make fun and exciting imaginative experiences. Anyone can do it.”
Garth uses collage as a basic principle with his photography. “I really enjoy blending different scenes and different people,” he says. “I like to startle a viewer — to stop them — and then the space around that character tends to be full of little details from other spaces.”
Every weekend, Garth takes close to 300-400 shots — mostly landscapes, backdrops, and people out on the street. He likes to work with candids, something ordinary that he can turn into something stimulating. At home, he’ll flip through the images until something strikes his imagination. A good example is, Unwrapping the Afternoon Light.
“I’ll take a character or person from the candid shot,” he explains. “And I’ll pull him out and add in some sky. I’ll throw in some birds. And suddenly he’s in a fantasy landscape. And they’re all ordinary shots I took right on the street.”
One of Garth’s favorite photos is called Live Bravely. The original picture was a blurry shot of a man pushing a baby carriage on a sidewalk. Garth blended the picture with another he took of a cheese grater, made it dark so the viewer’s eye would be drawn to the redness of the carriage.
“When I look at this picture, you’ve got this guy almost walking through a Greek myth of the clashing rocks through two enormous skyscraping cheese graters,” he says, “ I love it because it’s very simple, but it makes people stop and look again.”
Garth believes in the power of symbols and connecting people through them with his art. He admits he’s fascinated by everyone’s different interpretations.
“Everywhere in the world you’re going to have clouds, the moon, the sun, and they might mean something slightly different to you,” Garth explains, “But there’s a way in which all those very ordinary symbols connect people all across the world. They all evoke feelings and everyone has a different personal take. It’s what I love the most about my art.”
At the end of the day, Garth hopes his work is inspiring to people. “I definitely hope that people will do a double-take and get drawn in. And the more that you get drawn in, the more I hope that there’s a chance you’ll start to really connect your own life to the world of art and photography.”
Visit Garth’s photostream for more of his photography.