Steve Pykes: Soles Work

In my last post, I started to look at the anthropological side of art and how we should think about how our images need a variety of things to make them work:

  • A range of artists so that we can blend in a variety of ideas to create a different image that suits us for our needs
  • Talking to a variety of people so that we can get a deeper back story on what we are looking at
  • To stick to the field I am looking at and to represent it in a proper way

For this post, I want to refer to an artist who I’ve looked to help me get an idea on how to think about how an object can be shown in such a simple way, yet can hold so many questions for the viewer about what might be going on elsewhere.
For me, this person exactly was Steve Pykes, in particular his Sole’s work where he photographs the soles of a pair of shoes on a white background, leaving us to just look them only.

shoes (Pyke, n.d.) [1]

Pyke talks about how the process for these shots began in the first place, in which he says that the “act of walking had become a meditative process for me, a place I could go to and not be disturbed. A place I could think, turn things over, and move on.” (Pykes, 2011) It was from this that he began to think about how this process was so repetitive, and began to look at his soles, as each little detail and mark on them documented how much they were used. He claimed that really they had become ‘self-portraits” (Pykes, 2011) as the lines on them documented his own change in himself.

soles_01 (Pyke, n.d.) [2]

What instinctively comes to mind is that how Pyke has taken the soles out of context from the person or the place. We have no idea about who these shoes might belong to; but due to the ambiguity of the pictures, it makes an intriguing piece of work as we begin to look at the shoes in our own way and ask a variety of questions: Who might have worn them; where were they heading to; were they worn for specific reasons; how old are they? These are the questions that come into my mind as we are left to fill in the blanks ourselves.
However, even with no information, we look at the type of shoes and we get a vague idea of what they could have been used for, but we really need more information to tell us. However, what is interesting is that we can recognize the persons presence whilst looking at the images; shoes are a part of our daily lives, so we instantly build up that connection.

soles_02(Pyke, n.d.) [3]

In relation to my work, I think this really helps in how I can look at my own ideas. I can’t zoom in on the pictures too much as they may begin to become too vague for the viewer to actually understand what is going on. However at the same time, if I was to focus on the scratches and bumps, I would want to keep these in focus, however I would want the rest of the picture to include parts of the watches so that it would give some context for the viewer. However at the same time, I do want the viewer to ask questions like who owned the watch, what happened to it? These are the important questions that need to be addressed.

[1] Pyke, S. (n.d.). Shoes,. [image] Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2014].

[2] Pyke, S. (n.d.). Soles #1. [image] Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2014].

[3] Pyke, S. (n.d.). Soles #2. [image] Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2014].

Pykes, S. (2011). The Daily Eye:Photographer Steve PykeDiscusses his Approachto his Still Life Images:Part One – Hungry Eye. [online] Hungry Eye. Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2014].


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