Steve Pyke | Soles intro
Steve Pyke takes the view that "The contents of a photograph are not facts, nor reality, nor truth. They are a means that we have created to extend our way of seeing in our search for ‘truth’". In his photographs of the objects and beings represented as "stilled lives", Pyke plays with the idea of the photograph as document, as a source of revealed truth.
He makes these images as ways of classifying the things which create identity and a sense of belonging, as records of our transitory grip on objective certainty. In classical European painting, the still life generally contains intimations of mortality. So it is with a Pyke photograph. Nothing perhaps seems more grounded than a pair of shoes, nothing more prosaic than a well-used garden tool. But these photographs belie their documentary appearance, for they are simply abstractions, the cast off evidence of lives we can never know.
Nowhere is the abstracted quality of Pyke’s "stilled lives" more clearly presented than in the flattened frogs and desiccated rabbits of his "road-kill" series, memento mori appropriate to our time.
The cracking of your feet on the road makes a certain amount of road come up into you. When a man dies they say he returns to clay funereally but too much walking fills you up with clay far sooner (or buries bits of you along the road) and brings your death halfway to meet you.
Flann O’ Brien
The Third Policeman. 1940