I live just within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, south of Teesside. It's one of those liminal places where evenings experience the darkness of the moors on one side and the orange glow of city lights on the other.
I originally studied photography as part of a degree in Communication Studies. I studied in an art faculty where it was obvious that all the really practical photography was done by the fine artists! We also studied art history, cinema, culture, psychology, sociology, ideology and press history. I initially worked on a taped magazine for the blind and partially-sighted, then I sold theatre and events tickets in London. Like many of us, I found myself “working in computing”, which all seemed very new in the nineteen eighties. It was fine for a few years, until I realised that my “special” knowledge was just something every young person knew anyway. I have worked as an I.T. technical author for many years.
I create images in response to ideas and projects within landscape, street/urban and portraiture. It's as much a case of what I feel as what I see. I don’t restrict my creativity to a particular genre. For me genres are a distraction, though they are useful labels for types of photography and art.
A portrait, for me, is not simply about people as individuals (something we have become obsessed with these days) but about all people in relation to themselves and each other. It’s about time and space and how we think we know what that is even though we are trapped in our way(s) of seeing it. I love what people like Cartier Bresson, Fan Ho, Don McCullin, Andre Kertesz and others have done in this field but you nearly always find with these guys that they “feel” the shot. There is a sense of an underlying truth to the image. A sort of Tao of photography. It doesn’t need to be intellectually overplayed.
In street photography there is a strong artistic element. The best shots come to you. Many photographers would back this up. So, documentary photography is a challenge because you have to try to get the right images, but the best images may come from not trying too much. As Bob Holmes points out, you need to know the technology, but that should then just be something you use naturally. The photographer makes the image.
When I photograph buildings, it’s usually with a sense of the surrounding architecture too. The intrinsic emotion that gives that building its identity if you like. I also like to include clouds and reflected light from other buildings because then there is architectural structure while the light and weather give it flesh and breath.
There are so many photographers with very strong landscape styles, and a long tradition back to giants such as Ansel Adams. Among others, I admire the contemporary work of people like Joe Cornish and Charlie Waite but I don’t want to copy. I don’t even have the equipment to copy a lot of what they do anyway!
Some of what I do is a sort of landscape-portrait-street approach. A hybrid if you like. Aware of the beauty of nature but also looking for that human story too.
Here's a 15" x 10" print at home with renovation_transformationjj (Instagram).