For all the years I have been taking photographs I have been trying to work out what it is makes one image work and another one not. I hope I have found an answer that has a wider resonance than simply satisfying my own taste. I have come to realise that what I seek when I am taking photographs and what I appreciate when I see the work of other photographers could be called a perfect snap shot. We all take snap shots, and they are the purest of all photographs. Stripped of any notion of technique, rules of composition, consideration of the light or the equipment being used, a typical snap shot is motivated by only one thing, a love of the subject. The wish to have a permanent record of a person, a place or an event. While some might consider the term snap shot derogatory to the work of a serious photographer, a photograph motivated entirely by the subject, when well executed, is a joy to behold.
Photographs that impress me are not about the equipment or the techniques used. They are not about the rules of composition, neither are they about light. The photographs that impress me are entirely about a passion for the subject, an emotional response the photographer can share. This being the case you might ask why I use a large format camera, some of the best lenses money can buy, professional quality tripods and a high spec digital SLR. You might ask why I take time and care to compose my pictures, why I ever wait for the light, why I even consider the techniques I might employ. I do these things because of my passion for the subject, because I want the best permanent record of how a moment felt. As soon as I find myself considering technique or equipment for any other reason, I know the resulting photograph will suffer, I know it won’t have the purity of motive, which I think is tangible in the finished print. I use a large format camera simply because there is no finer tool for capturing every nuance of light and texture in the landscape. When the conditions and my responses are right, light and texture form the emotional triggers to take me back to the moment of exposure. If I am successful the resulting print will allow others to share the moment with me.
There are moments when every nuance of light and texture are just too much, where the real emotion of the moment, the real beauty is in the essence rather than the detail of the subject. I have long envied artists who work with paint and brush their ability to simplify the landscape to its very core. To reduce every minor detail and capture on canvass just those parts of the landscape that drew an emotional response in the first place. Digital photography has opened a door into a whole new medium of expression. With a digital camera I can almost literally paint the landscape and reduce it to its basic elements of colour and shape. I can come away with the very essence of what attracted me to a scene. I can do this in the field rather than on the computer later, and this is my preference. We are entering a golden age for artistic photographic expression, limited only by our imagination and perhaps our prejudices.
If we keep in the forefront of our mind that photography is about capturing an emotional response to the subject, and if we keep our integrity, some of the most exciting photography yet seen might well be the result. I hope you enjoy this site and especially the galleries.