Vaughan Grylls Home

large artwork
Places That Shaped Today's Middle East Enlarge

About the Work

My driver stopped at this unassuming place and said "This was where it happened". I thought he was wrong but my maps showed that he was right. There was little here other than a 'No Photography' sign, some sheep foraging in the stony soil and Damascus in the distance. My driver asked me to photograph his taxi. A boy wandering past with some bamboo whistles was also keen to be in the picture. I was happy to oblige them both.
This was the site of the 'Damascene Conversion' where Saul fell from his horse after seeing a heavenly light.
Thus, Saul, chief persecutor of Christian Jews, became Paul, chief prosletyser of Christianity to everyone else.
Paul is seen by his detractors as the principal pedlar to the Goyim of Judaism For Dummies. But even they would have to admit that if Paul hadn't seen the light, a small aberrant Jewish sect would not have become one of the world's most powerful religious and political forces.
'Seeing the light' is a familiar metaphor for changing one's outlook, personal or political.

Places That Shaped Today's Middle East

The news coming to us daily from the Middle East give us the impression of a battle zone continuously erupting with violence and mayhem. The photojournalist or news broadcaster's job is to seek out the news-worthy event. Rarely do they focus on the quiet before the storm - the moments between events when ordinary life continues.

While travelling through Lebanon and Syria in 2006 - it struck me that the day-to-day reality of people living under those conditions differed greatly from the news-worthy images sent to us via our media. Most of the time very little was happening. What was of the real interest was how the people there lived out their ordinary lives in a landscape scarred with traces of its violent past and present.

It was the ordinary sitting side-by side with the extraordinary that became the subject of Places That Shaped Today's Middle East. Delving into the regions more distant past I tried to trace that legacy through to the present day - excavating the present situation for evidence of a place's historical resonance while somehow capturing the stillness of the quiet before the storm

About Vaughan Grylls

Born 10th December 1943 in Newark, Nottinghamshire and attended art schools at Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Goldsmiths' and the Slade. He has taught at several art schools in the UK and the US.

From 1996 to 2005 he was Director of the Kent Institute of Art and Design. In 2005 he resigned to concentrate full-time on his own work after joining the Kent and the Surrey Institutes of Art and Design to make the University for the Creative Arts.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

Copyright ©2017 belongs to Vaughan Grylls
Design: www.renebach.dk