Short bio: am predominantly a Landscape photographer, printer and occasional book maker. I use a variety of craft based techniques including: Silver Gelatin; Platinum/Palladium and Albumen printing in my work. Photogravure and Wet plate collodion are current areas of interest that are a work in progress. I seek to engage with the changing face of the natural and civilised world. The wildness of Natural Landscapes is where I find my truest self living a life of transcendentalism, if only for a short while. Exploration of the cultural landscape challenges my perception of, and stimulates a reaction to, modern society. I seek to engage with and respond to landscape on a physical, mental and emotional level, experiencing the senses of place. Creating images beyond simple aesthetic, collecting fragments of my journey to question the past and the present with an eye on the future. I am interested in how humanity will change the face of this wondrous planet during the Anthropocene. I often use metaphor, a hint of melancholy, a touch of irony and believe in the importance of sequence in my work.
Why do you photograph on film? I have always felt more comfortable with the physical process of producing a photographic print from raw material to produce an image. From the moment the film is loaded into in the camera or holder; to pressing the shutter; to developing the negative; to printing the positive print, I have always found my connection to the images satisfying and soulful. I enjoy the physicality of analogue and the ‘sculpting’ of a finished ‘photograph’.The technical process, for me, brings a keenness of concentration. This focuses my attention on more than the image itself, each image is in part the end of a story. Mistakes and failures often reveal further avenues to explore an ongoing learning process generated from the serendipity of film/glass, chemicals and paper.
What is your work about? In May 2015 I had the opportunity to spend some time alone in the Forest of Dean. The forest that crosses the English Welsh border is one of the few surviving ancient woodlands of England. Being alone in the woods below the bows of towering deciduous trees brings a variety of sensorial experiences of the natural world. It conjures a sense of peace, contentment, awe and wellbeing. But as the light fades and the gloom descends or the mist of a wet day limits vision our other senses become heightened, noises become louder creating a more acute response. Against the backdrop of wandering boar, the scent of wild garlic, the caw of carrion and the sighing of the bows above, you cannot help but be whisked to a place of folklore; of stories of dread; of ghosts and demons; faeries, bogarts and witches. On leaving I was sure that I had some negatives that would convey the senses and experiences of my time in the woodland. I couldn’t have been prepared for the results. On developing the film I found most of them scattered with dark shadows creeping and oozing across the landscape. Manifestations of something malevolent perhaps? The hidden intrigue surfacing?A tale of something long before? The more I looked the more I saw elements at work within the images. Spirits of the forest lingering? Perhaps it was the serendipity of film or failure or was it something more? A Manifestation of the Genius Loci: Spirit of Place.