Neil Shirreff is a British artist and photographer based in London. His interest in photography has always lain in the alchemy of its materials and in its ability to describe a visual world beyond reach of the human eye. Currently the sense of wonder and excitement he holds for photography’s reactive properties has reduced all traces of realism in his images to abstraction. These projects demonstrate how, over time, Shirreff has stripped the medium to its bare essentials, and striven to innovate techniques that instil in the viewer the same curiosity and inquisitiveness he shares, for exploring the medium through its own prism.

He has exhibited in UK, Germany and Canada and his work is held in numerous private collections.


“Shirreff’s deconstruction of the colour process is ingenious and eccentric, but it requires a conceptual leap to understand its ramifications.”

– James McArdle (On This Day in Photography, 8 December, 2017)


About the work:

Fragmented Paintings – Small mirror pieces’ shatter light from a projector scattering fragments of paintings by Paul Gauguin onto the surface of a ceiling. Captured on film over multiple exposures maelstrom of information eddies in the darkness. Colours and details severed from their source appear in flux. Whilst some pieces of light remain detached, others collide, binding together to form fragments of a new whole.

Light Rings and Light Lines are part of Light Arrange by Chance project based on the paintings “Spectrum Colours Arranged by Chance” by Ellsworth Kelly. This project proves the idea of visual representation and in its photographic form is best considered to be within the infinite possibilities of its multiplicity.

Light Rings – mechanical apparatus was built for the series where light sensitive paper spins on a record player.

Light Lines – colour transparency film fixed to a motorised 10 x 8 inch tray moves from side to side. As the light sensitive material moves flashes of coloured light are fired systematically through laser cut or acid-etched holes. In total each image is made up of 11500 flashes and the resulting image resembles the collection of complex pieces of data such as DNA. Light in this series appears as information that can now be used to gain a more detailed understanding of its source. It seemingly resembles a code that can be used to reveal the design of something new or a picture of something previously hidden from view.

The process involved in the making of each ring or line of light is identical, and potentially perfectly formed rings or lines of colour could be formed. However, chance determines the resulting image and the photograph acts as evidence of the picture making process.

Light Movements challenges the act of looking, our perception of colour and our fidelity to our sense of sight. The work comprises of colour luminograms in box-frames lit by colour changing LED lights.
The luminograms are made by firing flashes of light through laser cut holes that are covered with coloured gels. The exposures are recorded on light sensitive colour photographic paper and, once developed, are mounted and presented in 100 x 100 x 20cm box frames. Hidden from view in the frame, LED lights cast coloured light onto the luminogram. This light smoothly fades through a twelve colour spectrum.

(Viewing is recommended as still images seen on screen don’t reflect the actual movements and visual spectacle of the light works)

Moving Shadows – a backlit white sheet captures the setting sun as it casts its light through woodland. In each image, a white rectangle floats in the landscape like a portal to another world or a film projection of shadows moving across a screen.


Neil Shirreff at Photo London 2017

Curiosity, Invention and the Photograph, Neil Shirreff’s solo show at MMX Gallery

Chromoscopy – On This Day In Photography. An article by James McArdle

All works can be viewed at MMX Gallery by appointment.

For PDF catalogue with all available work and prices, please contact the gallery directly or write to:

Each work comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, including the complete description for each work.