I bought my first camera, a second-hand Topcon SLR, in 1964 when I was eighteen. I started by taking photographs inspired by Cartier Bresson; as time passed I learned to make rather than take, understood where to put my feet, make my own luck and find a way of seeing. At the beginning I started developing negatives and printing in my bathroom and stripped the pattern from the lino (my mother was not amused), later I built my own large darkroom and revealed to my children the alchemy that unfolds under safe light. I still find photography magical.
In 2016 I will have been a photographer for over fifty years – the time has come for me to reflect on my journey by means of a retrospective exhibition. It will be a real challenge to select 100 images from thousands in different formats from 35mm, half plate glass negatives, colour medium format to digital. All the work will be specially printed prior to exhibition. Why do this?
I haven’t exhibited my photographic work for some time. I want to learn and see what I’ve made as there are many more images waiting for me to make. I want to see what my selected work looks like all in one place at one time. I want gallery visitors to tell me what they think.
My creative practice covers a broad range and over the last ten years has predominantly been through writing for the page and screen but I don’t see my practice as existing in hermetically sealed boxes. My way of seeing through images is directly related to my work creating images through words. One informs the other – to this extent I consider myself an artist and craftsman attempting to articulate a philosophy of the unity of head, heart and hand.
I seek to celebrate the ordinary and to show the ordinary to be extraordinary.