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Artists statement

 

Based in Ballater in the Cairngorms National Park, I work as a fine art photographer mainly in black and white using medium (2¼" square) cameras.  Since 1986 I’ve exhibited in galleries throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States; my work is in collections in the United States and Europe.  I admire and feel an affinity with the West Coast American photographers' tradition of craft and vision.  The image is fixed on the ground glass; the negative and therefore the print is an honest and faithful reproduction.  Pure photography - no gimmicks, no explanation required, just the silver (or platinum) image fixed on paper, well presented.  I make photographs to satisfy myself, my own desire to fulfil a need.  If others like or appreciate the work, that's a bonus.

 

From an early age I can remember my father using a camera, my life being recorded on Kodachrome!  I started to take photographs seriously in my teens and by the time I went to college I was hooked.

 

Three events had an impact on my personal development.  In the mid-Seventies I met a local photographer, Malcolm Thomson, in Dundee.  During this chance meeting we talked at length about the sad demise of GAF 500 colour transparency film.  Well over forty years later we are still the best of friends and have shared that time in following a passion for the art of photography.

 

The second milestone was the formation of 'Lightworks' in 1987.  This was a group of ten like-minded people, based in the east of Scotland, who wanted to meet and show photographic images.  The group only ran for about two years, but assembled several successful exhibitions receiving a great deal of good exposure.  The most important show, held in the city’s McManus Galleries, was to celebrate Dundee’s 800th birthday.  This is where my shop series of photographs started.  The group is still talked about today in Scottish photographic circles.

 

The third significant event was in 2000. Whilst browsing on the Internet, I discovered workshops in California by Cole Weston.  Cole was the youngest son of the great American West Coast photographer Edward Weston; his brother Brett was an influential photographer for sixty years.  Cole printed his father's negatives as well as producing his own colour work.  Cole’s son Kim now lives and works at Edward’s former home at Wildcat Hill.  It was such an opportunity to see Edward, Brett, Cole and Kim’s work, see Edward and Brett’s negatives, visit Cole’s studio at Garrapata Canyon, walk round Point Lobos with Cole and visit Edward’s house at Wildcat Hill, that I couldn’t afford to miss it.  On that trip I met Kim and became good friends with him and his wife Gina.  It was through Kim that I also became friends with the Phoenix photographer, Randy Efros who was Brett Weston’s last assistant.  Meeting with Kim in 2002, we decided to hold a workshop in Scotland.  Since then we’ve held three events at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath, two in 2004 and another in 2006. We've met up frequently since then in the US, Spain and most recently Germany.

 

TL - Lightworks group, TC - Working with Kim at Wildcat, TR - With Cole Weston at Point Lobos

CLL - Working in New Zealand, CL - Working at Point Lobos, CR - Working in Arizona, CRR - In Ballater

BL - Visiting Matt in Atlanta, BC - With Becky Senf at CCP in Tuscon, BR - With Kim Weston and Randy Efros in Carmel.