I use photography to explore pattern, detail and texture in the natural and human-made environment. My subjects are often things that many people overlook. I want my work to show others how I see the world. Almost all my work is opportunistic. I am always on the look-out for subjects to photograph and I always have a camera with me.
I rarely go out with a clear intention of what I want to photograph. I keep my eyes open and things present themselves to me. Many of my photographs were taken while going about everyday life.
Creating my work starts with an image captured in a camera and reaches a conclusion with the image being printed. Only the first step happens outside my studio. I live in a remote spot by the sea, and my daily walks are still generating new images to work with.
Once I get back to the studio, I start the process towards the final printed work. I have to decide which of the images from my camera are worthy of further consideration – because of the way I work, this is normally only a small percentage. Then, I have to process in software each image that I think might have promise. This may involve cropping, adjusting tone and colour, tidying-up to remove blemishes or distractions. I will normally make a proof print on low-cost paper to see if the image “works” as a print. I rarely get it right first time – I often repeat this process several times before I am satisfied; sometimes I have to come back to an image after ignoring it for days or weeks to approach it with fresh eyes.
Finally, I will choose which paper will suit the image best and make the final print.
I make short print runs; normally I issue six or ten prints of each image. I do not make all of the prints at once, so they are not all the same – I often see a way of improving an image after I have printed it several times, so the last print is often the best.
The time taken to create an image in the camera is a fraction of a second, but the time it takes me to make each piece of work is many hours. I am always behind with the studio work, so I hope to use this time as an opportunity to catch up. I have moved a lot of my equipment from my studio in Kirkcudbright to home and have a reasonably functional workspace here.
I wonder what the Spring Fling weekend will bring. Things are so uncertain and subject to change, there is no way I can predict what I might be doing in a month’s time.