Denis Doran’s work from the series Common Ground explores connections, both geographic and autobiographical, in the peopled and productive landscape and in the specific urban environment of the allotment. The works are created through the process of collecting and assembling ephemera – detritus, scraps of images, typographic fragments, and text, which function at the pictorial level as aids to memory, and as echoes of significant locations.
Doran has had a number of solo shows and contributed to many group shows both in the UK and abroad. His exhibition The Reading Room was shown at Impressions Gallery in 2002 and toured to Tom Blau Gallery (London) and Globe Gallery (North Shields). A publication on his work, Salvaged, was produced by Photoworks in 2005 and he contributed a chapter on his autobiographical practice for the publication Temporalities, Autobiography and Everyday Life (Manchester Press, 2002). A selection of his works were exhibited in 2006 in Crossing the Atlantic/Uneasy Spaces at Washington Square, New York, and he also featured in Common Ground & Globe City (Newcastle) in 2007. He is Senior Lecturer in Photography in the School of Arts and Architecture at the University of Brighton, and has worked on occasion as an illustrator on book covers for Vintage Press and Manchester University Press among others, while continuing to develop his own practice.
Doran’s practice emerged out of a background of documentary/reportage photography during the 1980s-90s. Working very closely with various groups of people, Doran was forced to re-consider his own position in relation to the subject. This in turn lead to a desire to work autobiographically, and to situate this re-positioning of his practice within broader fine art traditions, as well as situating it within wider cultural and environmental concerns. Text, in the form of short narratives, has become increasingly central to the point where Doran now sees writing as having at least equal if not greater importance to the imagery that he produces.