Dead Men Tell No Tales


I call myself the existential artist. All my life I’ve been acutely interested in the subject of existence. That of the universe and how our lives play out within it. The subject of destiny and karma. Do we get a second chance? I’m still not totally sure. But I have to mention that my fear of ending up in a dead end job, leading a humdrum existence, is what led me to commence the great existential escapade that still consumes me today, and which drives the visual narratives within the photographic collections I present here. Note the word, photographic?

You see, photography came to me some 30 years ago quite by surprise. Yet I now fully understand that I made a subliminal choice against the notion of the ‘dull life’ by choosing to become a photographer and an artist. Photographers have to be curious about their own lives and the lives of others. The dictum apparently uttered by Socrates, “the unexamined life is not worth living” is apt. I chose the camera as the means to lead an examined live, and in so doing make it interesting. The backstory and the existential clause that I embed within my work as a result of the way I think, fuses all that I attempt to create as an artist and it is this;

I’ve wondered ever since I was a child why I am at odds with myself and why we seem to be at odds with each other. Out of synch with God. Creation, The universe. I’ve pondered over why we seem hell bent on destroying lives and the planet we inhabit. With our wars. Our pollution. But then I reckon on our numbers. We are certainly not an endangered species. What 7 billion of us? I acknowledge how we find solutions to our problems. And certainly human consciousness is profound. Human history inspiring. The stories we’ve told and the stories we have yet to tell. I consider each day how we all must tussle with the realities of our daily lives and what ‘reality’ dishes up. We wonder what reality is anyway? An optical illusion perhaps? We spar inwardly too. Dealing with that confused entity we call the mind. The conflicting voices in our head. Living in the past. Hoping for the future. Neglecting the present.

Most of us miss the point. That life is short. Existence is fleeting. We are here today, gone tomorrow. We all share the same fate. And we all get wrapped up in the existential angst. Uneasy feelings about the meaning, choices, and freedoms in life? Ultimately life is what we make of it, but it’s also governed by things out of our control. Lest we forget. Time and tide wait for no man!

I am alive therefore I create. I offer you personal insights into my past and future journeys as an itinerant photographer and artist. I look at the lives of others and the world around me with a critical, existential eye, with a heightened sense of urgency. This is apt given that in the grand scheme of things, our lives are over in the blink of an eye. Ultimately dead men tell no tales!



Richard Mark Dobson / The RMD Gallery

The Existential Artist. “There is light and darkness, all and nothingness”