About The Photography
One of my passions is photography, both documentary work and landscape photography. My other passion is architecture and interior design. I have been fortunate to own interesting homes from converted industrial building conversions to a medieval french castle.
These days, we buy a home to create a place of refuge, a place we can entertain friends, protect our families, rest, and express ourselves. A home becomes a creative endeavour. We decorate, we style, and we create vistas from room to room and fill them with items that hold special meaning for us. Our eyes alight on books and cherished possessions, textures, and images on our walls. My photographic images of the land, the sea can be found on the walls of many homes, bringing the atmosphere of the country from outside to inside. My documentary images fulfil the opposite and reflect bygone eras of life in the city.
When I was young, I simply just went out and took photographs of what ever stimulated me as a subconscious response to what I was seeing and feeling.
Later we photographers were educated to regard photography both as a window and a mirror on the world. The window idea represented direct observation and the mirror the reflection of the world back to us, allowing introspective narrative interpretation. Together they offered a method to look both at and beyond the physical and to help us question the condition of man.
I started to photograph in a time when political awareness started to grow, when women started to assert themselves, demanding economic liberty. It was a time of high unemployment levels, power cuts, strikes and a massive recession that culminated in Conservative Government, headed by Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman Prime Minister in 1979.
I took my first photographs in 1973. During this time I documented Sheffield, Leeds, Blackpool and London's East End, as an 18-23 year old. 1979 was the year of my first commercial commission - to document the Tombs of the King's in Egypt, for the Brooklyn Museum, New York.
The documentary photographs shown on these pages were made during what is considered to be one of the richest periods of photographic history. As documentary photographers and photojournalists we actively evidenced or witnessed a period that would have been more difficult to record in any other form. People believed photography largely held a unique relationship with 'truth' – in other words, photography was considered to be the best method we had to capture reality in time because the images literally reflected light emanating from something tangible. In fact, in their rendering of life, the images at best, hovered tentatively somewhere between fiction and truth.
There has been a continuous reinvention of the method of capture, from plate camera to mobile phone yet photography is still considered fundamental to humanity. The last twenty years has seen photography grow from a marginalised art subject to one of the most important art forms of the contemporary art world. Through the photograph, we can begin to understand our world, our lives and the consequences of our actions.
As a student at the Royal College of Art, the renowned documentarian, Bill Brandt (1904-1983) who was my personal tutor at the time, said "What ever you do, keep these photographs, do not destroy them, for you may find they hold social significance one day". I understand the value of being able to look back in time and see my life as I witnessed it all those years ago.
I cannot present one side of my photography without the other. At the same time as documenting life on the street, I also photographed the land. I would walk for miles to quite places sit for a time in contemplation. I discovered a poem written in 1795 by Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) titled ‘The Walk’. The poem used the idea of a walk to experience his life in the fullest sense of being placed in the world as a social being but also metaphorically in the sense of evolving this social relationship with nature together with an awareness of previous stages of civilisation, which made him reinterpret his feelings for the land.
I felt I had a certain affinity with his ability to link with elemental spirit of place to mythological interpretations of times passed. Very little of the land has not been trodden on before us. One can be one minute photographing the outcome of economic strife in the city and the next be photographing areas of the land where Boudica, the Queen of the British Iceni allegedly led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire around AD 60-61.
The land meant more to me than ‘pleasant scenery’ and also more than the sense of awe or terror created by more dramatic landscapes as is often described as sublime, which was traditionally attributed to melodramatic landscape interpretations of storms, volcanoes, earthquakes, avalanches, huge mountain ranges and waterfalls. I genuinely felt a profound sense of a narrative and a history of the place. Having recently completed several walks in the Outer Hebrides I was keen to turn these images into large framed prints.
As an artist, I also worked with musicians to help get to a closer understanding of life in my time, connecting lyric writing, virtuoso musical skill and the image, all in one place, and where all three mutually influenced one another. I created a double album of rock music. The lyrics are a politically inspired narrative and were influenced by my documentary photography; the sounds interpret the land as background to the words and the melodic content. Working closely with virtuoso guitarist and producer, Richard Newman, eighteen original tracks were completed by 2014 the year I became sixty years old. The album is called ‘The Wedding Dress’ and is available for sale worldwide.
I provide my images on a variety of materials and papers. The objective is to provide an image that transcends beyond artefact and becomes art.
Sizes and edition numbers of each image can be found on the detail page for each.