Images of the landscape have fascinated me from a young age. Not the stereotypical sweeping vistas of the rolling hills and plains, but the more subtle details concealed within those spaces, waiting to be revealed.
Although I spend much of my time exploring the open landscapes of the North West, I have never set out with the deliberate objective of documenting them through a camera lens. Nor have I sought to portray them as idyllic, beautiful, dramatic or pastoral; though one could well apply such adjectives to these environments. What I do seek to convey in my photography is some sense of the natural spirit of these places and their elemental nature, that unique feeling of presence that goes beyond a sense of place and stirs our imaginations, connecting us in a compelling way to the beauty and dignity of our environment. The changing and evolving North West landscapes and the light within them are a passion, a source of constant joy, surprise and wonder to me and I hope this element is transmitted as you view my work.
My photographic techniques are entirely dependent on the available light and the actuality of the landscape. I do not seek to ‘re-enchant the land’; my images are as I found them. I do not use filters nor do I clone or retouch my work using digital techniques. I don’t believe our landscape needs any assistance from me.
The concept of revealed or accidental images conveys something of what matters to me most in photography and what excites me about physically existing within the landscape; the combination of chance, circumstance, light and discovery. Serendipity is integral to my work and as such the number of prints I release as limited editions are few and in many ways self-selecting. At a recent exhibition a visitor remarked how my photographs 'sing of hope and wonder'; I could wish for no greater compliment.
A Technical Aside
I am frequently asked by enthusiasts about the equipment I use; which camera? Which lens? Which bit of software? These questions are understandable but can be exasperating; the emphasis is so often placed on the gear rather than the image, as if somehow all you need to do is to buy the right bit of kit and the picture will miraculously appear, beautifully envisaged, composed, focused and exposed. The lust for the latest, greatest, most desirable bit of equipment, the endless arguments about brands, specifications, pixels, and sensors and the fortunes spent on chasing that illusory 'dream setup' leave me completely cold. My equipment is simply a tool to assist me in capturing a moment in the landscape. As with any tool, it's necessary to have something reliable, accurate, and durable but beyond that it is all about the picture, the light, the moment. Many magazines and sites survive on their ability to generate sales of the latest gadgets and gear, encouraging belief that spending ever more money will bring ever greater results - there is a whole world of difference between a camera enthusiast and a photography enthusiast. The greatest investment any photographer can make is one of time rather than cash, there is no quick fix. I don't possess a huge amount of equipment; I travel light and enjoy the journey. I use a Pentax camera and only a small number of select lenses that could well be considered old, outdated and unfashionable, but they are tools that achieve the goal I set - the picture, and that is my only motivation.