I am the first to admit that I know next to nothing about cameras and photography...I simply have an artist's eye and and enjoy making images.

Fred Wilkinson

I live on the Lizard Peninsular, and although my photographic interests embrace the beautiful Cornish landscape and coastal scenery, much of my work is semi-abstract and celebrates the largely unnoticed and unappreciated. I like to explore new ways of seeing and experiencing the familiar and the commonplace, and I take a painter's delight in framing abstract compositions hidden within everyday subjects.

Living just beyond the tide-line it's not surprising that my subject matter is often ocean oriented.  I am intrigued by the interaction of sand and tide...the subtle shifting and sifting of grains, the shaping of pools and drainage channels, the placement of pebbles, footprints and flotsam.  I am drawn to reflections and shadows on water, nets and anchors, the frailty of fishing boats, and the weathering and aging of objects and structures dotted around the coastline.

I approach much of my work in a subjective way, reacting to visual stimuli and felt responses...until ideas begin to form and my focus shifts from one pictorial possibility to another.  I strive to capture the definitive essence of my subject with clarity and simplicity, and once I have an idea for an image I return to it again and again.  Sometimes, by association and careful framing, I deliberately strive to create a narrative around my subject...but I tend to work quickly and intuitively, and often as not only become conscious of a narrative element when processing the image, or later still after printing!  This unexpected feedback often surprises and amuses me, and greatly adds to my enjoyment of the finished print.


Fred Wilkinson was born in London in 1944 and graduated in Fine Art at Goldsmith's College in the mid 60s.  He exhibited in solo and group shows in the UK and Europe, and taught life drawing and painting before qualifying as a teacher and entering primary education as an art specialist.  He developed a passionate interest in child art and the creative process, and for 7 years observed, collected and annotated thousands of spontaneous and unsolicited drawings by children.  He became an enthusiastic exponent of the progressive movement for child-centred education, and in 1973 was appointed a full-time lecturer in Art and Art Education at Froebel Institute, London University, where he taught post-graduate students and continued his empirical research into child art and the relationship between language and action in the creative process.

In 1981, at the age of 37, Fred opted for voluntary redundancy to pursue other interests, and moved to a small farm in Cornwall with his wife and family.  Virtually overnight they became farmers...growing fruit and vegetables, hand-milking two house-cows and rearing pigs, poultry, sheep and cattle in an attempt to become self-sufficient.  It was here, whilst farming, that he took up photography to record the development of the huge barn conversion which was to become their home.

In the mid 1980s the Wilkinsons embarked on a period of world travel, their trips embracing South America, Nepal, India, China and Thailand, but particularly focussing on the Far East.  They eventually made more than 40 trips to the Indonesian island of Bali to study its art and culture.  This led, in 1988, to the opening of Cornwall's renowned Morning Price Gallery, in Falmouth, specializing in ethnic Art & Crafts from around the world.  In the early 90s they opened a second gallery in Falmouth, and others in Penzance and Penryn.  The Wilkinsons were early pioneers of fair trade.  They personally purchased and commissioned their stock directly from artists and craftsmen at source in the country of origin, and later provided well-paid regular employment for about 200 craft families in some of the poorer regions of the world.  Their Falmouth Gallery remained open until 2004 when the business emphasis switched from retail to web-based wholesale.  Trading as World Art & Crafts the Company supplied fair trade decorative and ethnic handicrafts to retailers throughout the UK and Europe until its eventual sale in 2010.

Fred's interest in photography steadily grew during this time, but it wasn't until the advent of consumer digital cameras in 1995 that it became his creative mainstay.  He lives in Mullion with his artist/poet wife Maureen and their two Irish red setters.