R J Poole was born in Sydney, Australia in 1960. He comes from a traditional art background, drawing with pencil on paper. Since childhood, has also practiced writing and photography. Initially, the Anima Series, his ongoing work, comprised of works on paper drawn with pen or pencil. Having developed his drawing skills since childhood, R J’s drawings were typically a metre wide and executed in the traditional chiaroscuro method. R J taught himself this method by studying the masters.
R J’s interest in photography began in the 1970’s with his mother’s 35mm Kodak Retinette camera, where he learned to operate the speed and aperture settings manually. This grounding in traditional silver halide photography has served as the foundation for his shift into digital technology. Yet despite these changes, both his subject and work methods have remained consistent throughout.
While his work is inspired by personal experience, it also embraces the broader subjects of gender identity, cultural tradition and spirituality. These subjects are woven into his images as symbols, props and backgrounds to form a complex tapestry. This creative milieu transports the viewer into another realm populated by alter egos who speak for R J Poole about the other side of man – the side that includes woman.
My work is a tribute to the feminine part of the masculine.
— R J Poole