A Short Biography
Photography has been part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. I always felt that it had a special role to play, but like many amateurs I found it hard to articulate that role. The path marked by the camera club and the consumer press with their 'do it like me' philosophy and their professional role model never seemed quite right. I opted for science, not art. I graduated in biochemistry, gained a doctorate, researched, moved into teaching and my photographic activity fluctuated according to the needs of (paid) employment. Then, in 1989, I was asked to teach photography - and my life changed. I discovered Minor White, looked at Harry Callahan, read Paul Hill's 'Approaching Photography', did workshops at Paul Hill's Photographers' Place and visited Peter Goldfield at Duckspool. I had begun to find my place.
From Paul Hill I gained confidence that there might be people 'out there' who would appreciate my work, from Minor White I took the concept of sequence, from Thomas Joshua Cooper I appropriated the idea of grouping images into 'works' as a way of making sense of the all too quickly proliferating negatives. As I read and taught I realised that worthwhile photographs transcend their formal structures and begin to communicate on many levels. From Victor Burgin I learned that pictures don't always have to yield their secrets too easily and that the viewer could be expected to do some work.
For many years I worked only in black-and-white silver gelatin. While the fine black and white print is an object of beauty in itself I don't regard it as the only form of photographic expression. Process can be an important signifier. I therefore work in whatever form of the medium suits my expressive ends. As well as black and white (selenium toned, silver gelatin), I have worked with pinhole cameras, Polaroid Transfers, Polaroid instant film, cyanotype and gum bichromate and, more recently, the digital image.
Until 2007 I ran a thriving Photography section at City College Brighton and Hove, Brighton, England where much of the emphasis was on encouraging students to find their own, individual voice through photography. Now retired, I am able to spend time on my own work. I gain support and sustenance as a member of IPSE (Independent Photography in the South East). Recently I have become somewhat disillusioned by digital - close hands-on involvement seems to be necessary to me. I have become interested in Printmaking, finding ways of combining photographic imagery, alternative photographic printing processes and conventional printmaking. And I now do a regular life-drawing class at a local school.
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