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About Photography

I’m inspired by photography in many ways. It’s the photographers job to reframe the scene to make us look again, or look more closely. There is a difference between looking and seeing, and that is where the photographer goes to work.

I think in every photographer there is a desire to catch and own the scene. The psychology of photography is that of a collector. I return to the same subjects or themes over and over; rusty cars and trucks, sunset panoramas, textures, abstracted light and nature.

I take pictures of night time and harbour scenes because the elapsed time in the exposure gives me painterly effects. Wind and street lights on water or wet roads become a golden carpet.

In a panorama, today a group of images stitched together in software, the scene is transformed as the software tries to understand the lens and focal length and a strange and new and interesting perspective is created, one not able to be seen by the human eye that can see almost 180 degrees, but selectively focuses only on one area at a time.

In some ways it could be argued that digital photography has eroded the craft of photography. RAW files can fix poor exposures and correct unwanted hues. The barriers to entry a very much reduced by as amateurs can afford much better cameras. The world of photography is being flooded by images and the old gate keepers, Getty Images and Magnum, seem very out moded indeed.

But I think there is still plenty of craft in picture taking and making. Composition and realisation are still critical; a photographer has to conceive a picture in their mind’s eye. No amount of fancy camera is going to give the photographer that.

Likewise, PhotoShop is the new darkroom. The hundreds of litres of water required to process a single image are gone and replaced with a clean and safe screen equivalent. The photographer doesn’t put their fingers in corrosive fixative any more, they select a tool and paint with it on screen. They dodge and burn with a mouse and not an enlarger and cardboard to block out the light.

In short, its a very exciting time to be taking pictures. The bar has be lowered (to entry) but raised in that it is harder to take a truly original and exciting picture.