Jason Evans, photographer, has chosen his bike as an object of beauty
GB Why have you chosen your bike?
JE It’s beautiful to me because of the experience I have with it. It’s my way of chilling out and resolving issues in my head and thinking things through. And keeping fit.
GB So would any other bike do or did you make aesthetic choices when you chose this particular bike?
JE It is quite a particular bike. It’s a bit of a Volvo in the bike world. One of the reasons I chose it is because it’s not the kind of bike that’s going to get nicked. It’s very functional and not very flashy. Although it has quite high spec fittings, it doesn’t look expensive. It’s very heavy and very solid and very clunky which is kind of how I like things. And also it’s brown. I don’t remember seeing a brown bike before. It’s made by a company called Sachs, a German company that makes scooters and tyres. I’d never seen a Sachs bike before either.
GB But is it more the function or the bike that you find beautiful?
JE I find it beautiful in a form follows function way. It doesn’t have ‘jazz hands’. There’s nothing there that doesn’t need to be there and to me that’s beautiful. I’m a ‘form follows function’ kind of guy. And it’s index linked to some really good experiences so in that sense, visually, it’s a talisman of really good times.
GB Do you look for beauty in your work?
JE Yes, the best way I’ve ever heard beauty articulated and the way I identified with the most was in a quote from an American artist called Agnes Martin. She said, “Beauty is the mystery of life.” That sums it up for me. I don’t know why I like looking at light falling on an object nor do I care to over-intellectualize how I’m made. I feel lucky that all I have to do to be happy is go outside the house and look around me, jump on my bike and head for a country lane. It’s all very attainable. I feel quite fortunate in that. I don’t think it’s a choice. It’s just the way I was made. I was brought up with an appreciation for craft and things that are well made. My mother’s side of the family were ship builders. My dad’s an engineer.
GB Did you notice when you were teaching that the subject of beauty would come up in art and photography or is it not relevant today?
JE I think it’s totally relevant. I think there’s a problem in contemporary art photography. I think there’s an anxiety that things that are visually nice to look at are somehow less serious. That it’s eye candy and not political propaganda. I think we need more beauty. If I was going to generalize about photography in general I’d say there aren’t enough concessions to aesthetics. There’s a lot of head scratching and naval gazing and not a lot of ‘eye joy’ as I call it. I like to think with my eyes and that involves looking at beauty.
GB What makes something worthy of the word Beauty to you?
JE That’s a tough question without defining beauty first, but for me it’s when something is quite specific, simple and neat. It doesn’t have to be something valuable. It’s not to do with something created by an artist, say a famous painter, it could be a pebble on a beach. I get excited about things that just work visually without over thinking it. Right now I’m looking out of my window and the sun is shining on a pumpkin in the garden. Very random, very orange. What could be nicer?