I’ve been fascinated by the magical photographic rectangle ever since I first picked up a camera at the age of 12 or 13. For something so simple, it can be incredibly powerful, moving the viewer in unusual and sometimes surprising ways. It makes us look at the world a little differently; helps us see a new story.
My rectangles record the way I see the world, and could well have actually created the way I see the world. This is something I’ll never know. But, I do know that this recording device has been an ever-present companion ever since that fateful day.
I started out using my family’s cameras and I can still remember buying the first camera I could call my own (a Minolta compact), my first SLR (a Pentax), my first digital camera (a Fujifilm compact), first DSLR (a Canon) and, of course, my current companion of choice – my beloved Fujifilm X-E1. Now, I’m patiently waiting to see if Fujifilm’s successor to the X-Pro1 becomes my new best friend. And then, of course, there’s my iPhone 6 which I use nearly everyday, simply because it’s always with me.
All of these cameras have taught my one thing. That it’s nice to have a nice camera, but it is still only a tool. And, that while it’s clearly important to have eyes, they’re still just tools too. The thing that counts is the mind; how it interprets what the eyes show it; and how it decides to record it with the camera and then how to process the final image. This is where all of us differ. This is where the real magic happens.
For me, the magic is in the contents and composition of an image – light, space, balance, proportion etc.. Occasionally, colour is an essential element of an image, but more often than not it interrupts and distracts, taking the focus away from what the image is trying to say. ‘Oh, that’s a lovely bright blue sky.’ or ‘Isn’t that grass green?’ is rarely going to be the raison d’être of an image, but is the first thing the viewer thinks, ignoring, in the process, the important stuff. This is why I mostly work in mono. This forces the viewer, me included, to look at what’s actually going on in the image, the responses it creates and emotions it stirs. The sky will always be blue and the grass always green – they don’t need to be recorded as such. Of course, exceptions do apply…
I’m driven by the belief that there is beauty everywhere (just about), it’s all about seeing those things that don’t leap out at you. This is why a lot of my time is spent photographing all the beautiful things that are missed, ignored and simply over-looked. These things are worth documenting and if my images make just one person open their eyes just a little and see the world around them in all its ‘hidden’ beauty then I’ve done something worthwhile, something worth doing.
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