SDk: What first interested you in photography, and how did you start?
Artpunk: When I first left school I did an art & design course and part of it was a module in photography. Originally the plan was to take photographs to paint later, and I then started to take photographs of friends. I found that I enjoyed taking photographs more than painting as the results were more immediate. It wasnít until four years ago I started to do it seriously, booking models and working on my style.
SDk: From your name and what you reveal in your SDk profile, it sounds like the punk movement had a big influence on you. Can you elaborate on this influence, and any others, that have helped develop your photographic style?
A: I used to stay with a group of folk that were old punks and New Age travellers whose ideas rubbed off on me in making do with what you have. Which meant you didnít have to have the best equipment to create something great. So when I started taking photographs I didnít have the money to use studios and had to find alternatives. I was looking to places that were colourful and interesting and thought of using clubs. Iím not one for setting up a perfect scene so thereís usually
something to give an edge to the photographs.
SDk: A lot of your work conveys a sense of detached, dark moodiness while at the same time being very stylish and glamorous. Is this the effect you aim to achieve? What does it take to produce such a striking effect? And what are you ďsayingĒ to the viewer with these images?
A: Iím not really sure where the detached, dark moodiness comes from although I was badly scarred when I was young and have had a detached view of society as if Iím always on the outside looking in. I think maybe I manage to capture how I view the world around me. To me a photograph isnít worth taking unless thereís some degree of beauty in it. Iíve actually never thought of the viewer Ė itís always been about producing an image that makes me go ďWow, I did thatĒ. I hope the viewer reads into the images what they want; Iím always surprised how others view them.
SDk: Stiletto heels feature prominently in much of your work; what is it about stilettos that appeals to you? Is it personal taste, the way they alter a modelís stature, or are they simply an essential element in the stylish, very subtly fetishistic images you create?
A: Itís because trainers wouldnít suit the dresses or clothes Iím shooting. The clothes mostly are vintage 1940s and í50s, or inspired by that era, and high heels were the fashion then.
Also, high heels set off the legs more gracefully and give the model an accentuated feminine shape, and they emphasise the calf and foot. Thereís nothing more beautiful than a woman dressed stylishly, and a pair of heels complements the overall look Ė they give the woman more style and she moves more gracefully, and this comes across when taking the photograph. It helps with the way the model poses and holds herself. Itís not really something Iíve thought about; Iíve just known it goes with the look Iím trying to create.
SDk: In your article for SDk you express great optimism for the future of photography with the technological advances in cameras and editing software we are seeing. Do you also see any downside to these developments, perhaps the potential for technology to supplant intuition and to detract from the human creative process?
A: It hasnít really happened with the switch from painting to film, or from film to digital. I think thereís always these
fears when a new technology appears. I think for a truly creative person it opens up boundless opportunities. You still use your intuition when taking the photograph. You know what works and what doesnít. I think it could change how you shoot though Ė as in shooting a certain way because you
Iím not one for setting up a perfect scene so thereís usually something to give an edge to the photographs.
know it will help produce a better result later in the editing stage with the photo-editing software thatís now available. Certain software tools and techniques, such as green screen, will work best with photos that have been shot a certain way. I think people who fully embrace new technologies will expand the horizons of photography in the years to come.
SDk: Your main point in your article is what you see as the lamentable attitude of students who blatantly copy established artistsí work. Can you expand on what contemporary social or cultural factors you think might be shaping the attitudes and approach of these students?