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I took my first photograph with a simple Kodak camera and with my father's help developed the black and white film and made my first print -- at the age of 10. I was hooked. I learned traditional black and white photography and print-making before graduating to color film. I worked for a long time with a simple 35mm viewfinder film camera, a couple of prime lenses, and a hand-held light meter which led to a strong appreciation for the variation and quality of light in photographic art.
At University I was Director of Photography for the student newspaper and nominated for a Guardian Student Media Award. Post graduation, a career in technology took me to over 35 countries around the world, and enabled me to hone my travel photography skills. I was an early convert to digital cameras for the increased control and flexibility and have never looked back.
Today, my photographs regularly appear in national newspapers, magazines, travel guides, and academic texts, and on jigsaw puzzles, TV shows and websites including National Geographic TV, The Times and The Telegraph (London), BBC History Magazine and Frommers' Travel Guides.
You can find prints of my work on the walls of wineries, hotels, offices, restaurants and private homes. I shoot RAW files (a "digital negative") and process in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, but my approach is very heavily influenced by my black and white print-making experiences, prioritizing the use of light and shadow. Ansel Adams was the master of this tonal approach, but I've also enjoyed learning from the grand masters of painting. Although out of fashion as a painting style in the art world, their skillful deployment and control of light and shadow is inspiring to me.
I spend a lot of time getting an image right using my camera and lenses. When it comes to composition, how elements are placed within the image, rhythm, grouping and what is (and isn't) shown, I do it all in-camera. I'm not a digital compositor nor a fan of AI software. I'm not trying to knock that kind of approach, but it just isn't me, nor is it how I like to make art.
The other advantage of spending that much time with the camera is that there's a lot less to do in "post". I see "digital darkroom" work as part of the artistic image-making process. Photographers like Ansel Adams and, more recently, Michael Kenna spent a lot of time in the darkroom printing and re-printing their work until they reached the artistic expression they were seeking. I see processing as an essential part of the process and it is a key part of how a photographic artist communicates with the viewer.
I also like that digital photography offers incredible control of color, something that the grand masters exploited to the maximum of their ability despite being limited by the painting materials and media they had at the time. I take a more modern approach to color choices and saturation that is influenced by the modern film-making world, as a way to convey emotion and direct attention.
Here's a video of me unboxing a metallic print from my Art Shop:
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