As a teenager I belonged to the local camera club and later enjoyed some success at Oxford University’s photographic society. After university I stopped using the camera for several years while I concentrated on my engineering career. A move to New Zealand and a complete change of lifestyle found me hankering after the camera again and in 1994 I decided to pursue fine art photography full time.
I am largely self taught. The photographers who have inspired me are all American. Starting with Ansel Adams, I had the greatest inspiration and input from Howard Bond. I was overwhelmed by his skill, artistry, and his ability to impart knowledge and to inspire. I have changed techniques since those days, but I remain inspired, and grateful. Mrs Bond’s pecan pie was excellent too!
No camera can do everything, or please everyone. It’s a tool, which must be suited to the subject and the photographer’s style. My camera of choice will seem anachronistic in this world of small plastic cameras and smart-phones, but it is well suited to the work that I do even if it is a challenge to use. It resembles the plate cameras from history. It is made of wood with metal fittings. It has a bellows. I crouch under a dark cloth when focusing and setting up the shot. It can take an hour or more to make its exposure. I was asked once if I had a proper camera hidden inside it, and was the outside just for show?
The fact I use a camera which requires me to put my head under a dark cloth gives me the isolation to contemplate my image. Under the cloth I am able to spend some moments without distraction, not only focusing but considering the composition, emotion, tonality and textures within my subject. At this stage I capture everything I need within the film - this is the foundation. The interpretation stage follows once the negative has been developed, and is where I selectively lighten or darken areas of the image until the final tonal distribution is as I like, which can take several days.
I print my fine art photographs on wonderful heavyweight , cotton rag paper, which is naturally one hundred percent acid-free. I love the feel of carefully holding my fine art photographs – the substantial weight of the paper combined with appreciating the detail, clarity, and tonality close-to is very satisfying. What remains is to write the title and place my signature in the photograph’s margin, completing the transformation from initial visualisation to finished artwork.
My fine art photography has sold in America, Britain and New Zealand.
The creation of a fine art photograph is a melding of artistry and technicalities. The technicalities of my process were very difficult to grasp initially. I liken this understanding and use to learning a new language before one can express yourself fully and with finesse. Understanding the interplay of the various factors enables me to create the fine art photograph I envision.
I am drawn to certain subjects, while I leave most alone. What is it about those chosen? Light is important. Light has different qualities, and I have my favourite time and quality of light. Textural details are also crucial to me. But I bring to my art everything about myself – my experiences, my tribulations, my loves. There is a euphoria when encountering a subject which captures me. I can envision the finished photograph. It will be a true expression of how I felt at the time I photographed.
All my fine art photographic prints are printed on heavyweight, acid-free, cotton rag, fine art paper (either Hahnemuehle Photo Rag 308 or Epson Velvet Fine Art papers), with Pigment inks.
1. One Month, 100 percent money-back guarantee.
I want you to be thrilled with your purchased fine art photographic print. Each item is covered by a 100 percent, “take one month to decide” money back guarantee. If you decide in this timeframe to return your print, I will refund your money, exchange the artwork, or give a credit towards a larger print, depending on your preference.
The item must be in as-new condition.
You are responsible for the cost of return shipping from your location to my own.
Your return needs to be insured and trackable.
Please notify me and receive a response before shipping.
2. Title and Signature.
Each fine art print is individually titled and signed by my hand in pencil in the paper’s margin below the image.
3. Limited Editions.
Most of my photographs are produced in a Limited Edition. For an edition of twenty five, this means that a maximum of that number can be produced, in addition to two “Artist’s Proofs”. I produce prints individually, when they are required. They are not produced en masse. Having a Limited Edition does not necessarily mean that this many prints will be made, but is an assurance that no more than this will ever be produced, ensuring their scarcity and value.
4. Prices will increase regularly.
This guarantees that your investment increases in value proportionally. All orders placed after a price increase are billed at the new prices. I reserve the right to change prices and policies at any time without notice.
Note: If you receive your print and it has been damaged during shipping please contact me.
About the Quality Materials I use
About Black and White Photography
Black and white photography has been around for a very long time. In fact, since the beginning of the nineteenth century. After some failed attempts, the first commercial technique which worked was introduced by Louis Daguerre in 1839. Various techniques for black and white photography were introduced over the years since Daguerre’s “Daguerreotype”. These photographic techniques were by nature black and white ones, and the public became accustomed to seeing the portraits, landscapes, and the world in general captured as monochrome images. (I understand that colour photography had its roots only a few decades later than Daguerre, but didn’t make significant advances, until the nineteen thirties’ introduction of Kodachrome film).
There have been black and white processes which have had the potential for beautiful results, such as Platinum prints, which remain in use by a select few photographers. However it is the Silver Gelatin process which became enduringly widespread, from the eighteen eighties until the nineteen sixties, when colour photography took over as the mainstream photographic process. However, black and white photography continued, largely as a creative, artistic medium. The silver gelatin process is to some degree quite contradictory – a relatively simple technique which people with access to a photographic darkroom could grasp and produce results. But for those discerning photographers wanting attractive representation of tonality, not the common look of a very black and white image lacking in a good greyscale (coined by some as “soot and chalk”), needed significant ability, control and technique.
Silver gelatin photographs have a lifetime without fading or deterioration ranging from very poor to lasting generations. This depended on the type of printing paper used, and the chemical processes and washes used to remove residues of harmful chemicals. Photographers seeking longevity for their black and white photographs would also tone their prints. A popular toner was Selenium, while others included Sepia (Sulphide) and Gold. A byproduct of toning photographs was that as the name suggests, the prints took on a coloured tone, and could contribute to the attractiveness of the finished photograph.
Years ago I attended a workshop run by photographer Howard Bond, and I was in awe of his printing technique. Bond came from a very musical background and had an excellent sense of timing. Part of the creative printing process was selectively lightening or darkening areas of the image, using simple tools like a circle of cardboard attached to a wire handle, which the photographer waves over the printing paper, blocking the enlarger light from reaching a circular section of the paper. As I said, it was mesmerising and inspiring watching Bond do this.
It was these manipulations of the image which were key to black and white photography being the creative, artistic photographic medium. Take a sky in a black and white photograph. It can be any tone from white to very black, or any grey tone in between, according to the whims of the photographer. In colour photography it would seem odd and unacceptable to have sky a colour that is significantly different to what it looks like naturally.
I call this process of adjusting the tones in the photo from the direct image from the camera negative to a photograph that matches the photographer’s vision of the scene photographed “Interpretation”. With silver gelatin, the Interpretation is an integral part of the printing process. With digital photography taking over from film as the mainstream photographic process. Interpretation now usually takes place in a computer program such as Adobe’s Photoshop, before printing usually with a specialised inkjet (or giclee) printer. For my work, I take on average two days on the computer for each photograph carrying out the Interpretation,
I switched away from Silver Gelatin in 2006 to a hybrid process of film negatives, scanned on a film scanner, followed by Interpretation on the computer. I enjoy the process, and really appreciate the quality and look of the finished fine art photographs. I am particularly partial to warm (brown) toned photographs, and this is now achieved in the software of the printer. In addition, photographs printed with pigment inks on one hundred percent acid-free cotton rag paper have been shown by independent tests to have the long lifetimes demanded by discerning photographers and customers alike.
As you may by now have realised, I really love black and white photography. I hope this love is imbued into the black and white fine art photographs I create.
If you like reading about black and white photography you may like to read more on my Blog. If you would like to be kept informed of any new images added to my website please add your name to my email list. You will only receive information about my photography and your details will not be shared with anyone else.