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About the Photographer

I was born on the 8th July 1947, in Lewisham, South East London.

For 30 years, I pursued a career in the National Health Service specialising in Histopathology and Cytology. Working in various teaching hospitals in and around London, photography became an everyday component of my working life, recording and documenting cases, preparing training and educational material and for publication and presentation.

A career in diagnostic pathology involved the visual analysis of tissue and cell samples by microscopy using a wide variety of preparatory and staining techniques. The mind was trained to be highly analytical, often looking for the smallest evidence of change and working to the highest standards of accuracy, technique and quality control.

Running parallel to my career has been a love of the natural world, particularly the landscape; broadening one's experience by the opportunity to travel. It seemed to have been a natural progression to transfer my photographic skills from work to pleasure. The relevance to my personal photography became obvious: analysis, interpretation and decision. It was not just about looking, but seeing!

A significant milestone was achieved in 1985, being awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society, in the field of Pictorial Photography.

After sustaining the unavoidable physical and emotional battering of successive healthcare reorganisations, the opportunity for early retirement arose, allowing me to further my passion for photography, music and the garden. Time has allowed me to widen my photographic interests to include architecture and most recently plant macro-photography. Embracing both digital and traditional photography has brought an understanding of the strength and weaknesses of both media, regarding both as complimentary.

Over the years I have contributed towards many group and solo exhibitions and I regularly lecture to photographic and other interested societies. My images are widely published and many examples of my work held in private collections. The introduction of digitally produced art prints has been successful in bringing the art of photography to a wider audience.

Statement

One of the constants in my life has been a passion for photography, in particular the landscape. It is an emotional relationship, understanding nature, fulfilling an inner need. We all in different ways try to make sense of our world, look for meaning, or perhaps simply seek perfection in an imperfect world. Fortunately, photography has allowed me to express my feelings towards the environment and our relationship to it, capturing a few special moments in time.

"Reacting with nature "is dedicated to the wonder and variety of nature and the art of photography. It reflects the notion of photography as a three way process: an interaction with nature, one's own spirit and that of the viewer.

A career in diagnostic pathology has trained me to have an analytical and precise approach, necessary to seek out the essential elements of a scene, decide what's important and how best to translate them into a final image. Combining this with a creative and sensitive mind, has given me the ability to balance the intellect and emotions, so necessary to materialise an idea. Experience also brings the ability to pre-visualise the final image, but part of the magic of photography is still the surprise or disappointment of viewing the end result!

Growing older has helped too. Indeed maturity has brought an increasing emphasis on a more spiritual attitude to life, together with a greater appreciation of beauty in all its forms. The principles of simplicity, purity, harmony and balance as embodied in Japanese concepts of Zen, are relevant to photography.

From a visual viewpoint, I am particularly interested in the idea of the "minimum", which is essentially the pursuit of simplicity, exploring the possibilities it offers as a means of working creatively. Stripping out the extraneous matter, whether it is detail or perhaps colour, allows the essentials to shine through and brings rewards in a clarity and directness of vision.

Take simplicity for instance: less is often more, more for the imagination. A person's shadow, more powerful than the person. Reeds reflecting in still water, suggesting a musical notation. Simplicity however, whether in art, architecture or life itself, requires discipline and does not come easy.

Another aspect, which to helps to focus, is to not worry too much what other photographers are doing, or what is fashionable. Select a theme, choose a technique and work it through. Follow your instinct; take care with advice! Learning from your own mistakes, brings about a greater purity in thought and action.

Much of my photographic activity has been in the wilder parts of this country and in northern "climes", such as Iceland and Norway. What is it that attracts me to such areas? Fundamentally, a heightened awareness, brought about by changing one's relationship with nature. Being close to nature and in awe of it, provides enough anxiety to fire the imagination. It is also the realisation of the transience of life and that everything inevitably returns to nature. The elemental nature of the landscape highlights the capacity for genesis or destruction. Landscape is ever changing, both in the physical and temporal sense, bringing a conflict between timelessness and progression. We try to rationalise nature by making order out of chaos. In nature, every action has a reaction and we function best when there is harmony and balance.

More recently, I have developed a fascination for architecture, which offers an alternative stimulation from that when confronting nature in the wild. In the urban environment man strives to dominate and we call it civilisation. Perhaps as an antedote for the stresses of modern life, I look for inspiration through the Japanese philosophy of reconnecting man to nature, using architecture as an intermediary. It is this interface between nature and man, where changing light and weather react with structure to give form, shape, pattern, texture and the delineation of space, thus setting the stage for inspiration. Abstraction, attention to design, exploring spatial qualities, suggests the need for control in the urban environment. Here, I am often drawn to use man's presence, either real or suggested, as an emotional counter-balance, perhaps reminding myself that great architecture can allow us to interact with nature and not to hide from it.

Plant macro-photography is a further challenge and there is much to learn. There is no short cut to experience. The perfection of beauty and variation in nature demands perfection in technique. Lighting, exposure, contrast, focus and even the background all need to be finely judged. At high magnification the smallest blemish stands out, the slightest breeze becomes a hurricane and every shadow a canyon. With such a strong aesthetic, it is more difficult to express individuality without resorting to gimmickry. However, when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, an image of great pictorial appeal can be created. Perhaps it is one area where one should be content to let nature speak for itself, rather than to impose.

Photography is inherently a rather personal affair, but it would be satisfying to think that my images could touch upon the souls of others. I hope that in some small way, my photographs provide inspiration to look at, think about and perhaps re-evaluate our visual world.