|Place of Birth||UK|
|Residence||Hammersmith, on a boat!!|
BioIíve travelled to over sixty countries to date, ￼and in some ways I see myself as helping to record and interpret the planet at this point in its history.
I like to experience this world with its different cultures, and interact with its people. I like to eat what the locals eat (within reason) and watch how they work, rest and play. I donít see my work as just travel photography but as documentary, portraiture and reportage.
Having said all that, I also do erotic (for want of a better word) photography. This has been really interesting for me as it gives me total control of the photograph. On the road, Iím never in the position to control all the ingredients, but with my erotic work itís like creating something from a blank canvas. It also gives me projects for when Iím not travelling.
Very little matters in photography except capturing the essence of the subject. Every photographer wants to do that, but we go about it in different ways. Itís the itch we have to scratch. And when weíve done that, we just have to do it again and again.
And every photographer wants to say something in their work too. Itís the ďphoto speaks a thousand wordsĒ thing. In my case I do have things to say in a number of photographs, but I choose not to drone on about them. I prefer to let the viewer find what they want in the pictures, be it fun or sadness. My work can be seen as standalone pieces, but also as part of a set that seeks to build a picture of a place or moment.
My mission for myself over a period of time has been to loosen up my style. For years I was so controlled and cold, but Iíve made myself get rougher with the camera. I shoot more freestyle now; I shoot a lot from the hip and Iím getting pretty good at it. It gives more movement and excitement to my work, and I like the ďlooking upĒ effect that gives me. Itís like a little-boy-lost angle, that alienation thing. Iím pretty tall so I look at the finished shots from an angle Iím not used to. But not only this. Iíve also trained myself not to be so perfect and to embrace some things that I would have never allowed myself to do before. As long as I get a composition that works for me and it says a little something then Iíll go with it. Again Iíve got pretty good at this and although Iím still mostly shooting through the viewfinder, I more and more just feel the moment and stick my arm out in harmís way. Being a controlled person in so much of my life, I love not being certain what Iím going to end up with sometimes: Iíve discovered a real joy in losing control.
Accidents, they happen. Happy ones and fuck ups. Any photographer that tells you otherwise is lying or boring! This often rears its head while Iím editing my photographs. Iím ready to erase a shot and then something sometimes tells me to take a second look, and I can suddenly realise that Iíve captured something much more interesting than Iíd intended. The opposite is also true!
Iíve missed fabulous shots just by looking in the other direction. You can be absorbed looking for something, only for it to happen right behind you. The shots Iíve missed torment me for days, but thatís always going to happen. Itís simply not possible to react to everything fast enough all the time, but being prepared at least increases the odds. And theyíll always be the moments when Iím editing and saying to myself ďIf only Iíd moved one step to the left...Ē But I reckon I make more good calls than bad ones, and thatís probably as good as it gets.
Speaking of editing, itís for me the hardest and most intense part of the process. Deciding what to show and not show is difficult. It can be a great photo, but what is it saying and does it justify its place in a story? I put the photos through a sort of funnel system, gradually editing them down and down until I have what really is important, the essence I was looking for.
I donít agree with photographers who say you need to spend, say, a couple of months with some obscure nomadic people to get images with feeling. Thatís just bollocks.
My way is to be in and out. I want to feel them but also to be alienated from them (however long youíre there, you always will be anyway!) Iím not dissing some truly amazing projects that people have done over the years (although some are totally average) Ė Iím saying that, for me, I need to dr0p into their world like Iím from outer space, digesting information and doing a compare-and-contrast to my own world. I want to feel alienated. Of course Iím friendly and charming, but Iíll never blend in no matter how much I try, and my vision is much clearer in the first few hours and days than it is after some festering.
A few days to really get to know a city is fine. Often four or five days. They are long days though. Iíll relentlessly walk from morning to late night. I love shooting at night, the available shades of light and colour casts make everything magical. On many occasions, Iíll be stalking a scene or street corner for thirty minutes, or much more, to get my shot. I often find a good backdr0p to a shot, but have to hang around for the right person to appear in the photograph. During these shoots I can often forget to eat or drink anything, getting utterly absorbed by my observations.
For those of you that like to know, Iím using my Nikon D3s at the moment.
And in-between all this, I still run, with massive help from everyone I work with, my publishing companies, Really Good, and Soul.