William Douglas is far from a traditional “on the road” artist. Recognised as one of online publication LensCulture’s 50 best emerging photographers for 2015, his nomadic images capture common themes in the lives of Americans, from Florida to Puerto Rico. Highlighting water’s “importance to the biological growth and survival of all living organisms”, ‘The Same Difference Between Us and Them’ raises questions of humanity’s vulnerability and integrity.
His compositions stray from the conventional. Whilst some images use colour gradients to express a relevant mood, others strike candid portraits into an impression of human fragility. The diverse style of Douglas’s frames – from a lonely bedside to a forgotten old car – show us the significance of the ordinary, the strong voice of life’s tiny details.
Juxtapositional awareness is key to interpreting Douglas’s work. Two bare-chested men help each other up a rock face, a fragile picture against a huge stream of falling water. In one image, a man stands alone in a wood, whilst in ‘the storm above his house’, a mass of heavy clouds are seen from the sky.
Highlighting central themes of life, loneliness and death, ‘The Same Difference’ offers distinct familiarity to all of us. Held together by water’s simple significance, these images show that our worries and defections are innocent, collectively felt characteristics that make us truly unique.