About me, a few FAQs
Photographer, artist and geek (you decide the proportions), I treat my camera and computer as equals. I'm as happy in front of the computer screen as behind the lens of a camera.
My images range from planned long-term projects to opportunistic shots; from untouched photographs to experimental abstract digital transformations (usually near the two extremes, not much in between).
My approach to photography is exploratory. I prefer to discover images rather than to plan them. I tend towards the candid, often spontaneous, sometimes premeditated but rarely posed and never staged (not so far anyway); the result is an eclectic portfolio.
If you'd like to find out how I got here, read on.... And thank you for your patience so far....
Where are you based?
In the UK. I grew up in Sheffield, studied in Southampton, lived for a couple of years in Rome and I'm now based in the North East of England.
What's your background?
I grew up enjoying both science and art and chose to follow a career in science and then computing. I worked for several years in medical research and then computing science.
What brought you into photography?
Serendipity. I love gardening and set out to compile an image library of the plants that I grow. A couple of shots were unexpectedly good so I began to make a bit more of an effort. Coincidentally an evening class in digital photography started in my village - it was free so I decided to give it a go. It turned out to be an A Level in Art and this suited me fine, and that's when photography became more than just a hobby. I continued with an A Level in Graphic Art, which was just an excuse to do more photography.
What is your style?
I chose my evening class projects to be as diverse as possible for the experience but this hasn't helped me to specialise - I loved them all! However I may have worked out what motivates me - it's the thrill of the chase! Out and about with a camera, I get a real buzz from spotting the quirky; things or happenings that would normally go unnoticed.
I still love nature and the countryside but it’s the urban environment that excites me photographically. Also candid street photography of people and places. And I do love to get stuck into a serial photography project.
What camera do you use?
Primarily a Canon 5D Mark II. Or the very much lighter Canon 100D if my shoulders are feeling feeble. I carry a compact camera with me most of the time, either a Canon G5X or the smaller Panasonic TZ70. And, of course, my trusty cell phone, a Google Nexus 4, which has a great little camera and which I love using. It's quite liberating to occasionally grab opportunistic 'snaps' without bothering too much about technicalities.
Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC, Photoshop more often than not. However I like to use Picasa for the preliminary screening of my photos as the tools are great for whizzing through the day's haul and making very quick tweaks to assess a photo's potential.
Colour or black and white?
It depends, mainly on what drew me to the subject matter in the first place. I love colour but also love the drama of black and white. If colour is the initial attraction, and it often is, it stays that way. If colour detracts or if I'm after mood or drama I may change it to monochrome.
So what about editing?
I don't have any qualms about enhancing an image. If it's OK by Ansel Adams, it's OK by me - he manipulated his images heavily. Ok, so I do it in the digital darkroom rather than the traditional one but it's just a different skill. And take a look at how Magnum iconic images were marked up and edited for printing in the darkroom. So it's not new and it's not cheating, and yes, it is clever, whichever way you choose to do it.
Editing - where do you stop?
Like adding to or removing things from the image? Not a fan, not for my kind of image making anyway. It's personal preference, but as soon as I learn that, say a flat sky has been swapped for a more interesting one, I lose interest. I prefer an image to be a true record of a scene and the times. I even like the clutter, things that many photographers would remove from the scene before snapping - I see it as interesting detail - it helps date the photo and put it into context. That said, I do very occasionally remove things..... never let it be said that I'm a purist!
If you've got to the end, well done and thankyou! If you have any questions, get in touch, I'd love to hear from you.