(or why I photograph and what I try to achieve)
Calling it a philosophy is definitely giving the concept delusions of grandeur when it comes to why I photograph. Like many before me I was a hobbyist, enamoured more of the process than the picture. But if you study the technical, you can't help but be exposed to the artistic, and somewhere along the line, that became more important to me than the camera.It was a long painful process with many blind alleys but for many years now I have appreciated the fine image. FIrst I learned to appreciate the fine points of composition, the relationship of the various parts of the image, to each other and to the edges of the image. In time, I used what I'd seen to compose my own images ever more carefully. I first saw, then attempted to replicate the subtle tonalities of a fine print. I tried to capture the grand landscape in dramatic lighting, but had neither the time nor the energy to do it as well as many others. I found I could do more with the more ordinary, the mundane, the overlooked. This often involved what I call the middle landscape, neither close up, nor miles away. My usual subjects are most often within a stone's throw of my camera.
Working with objects that are this far away means I can circle the subject matter without difficulty and find the absolute best position from which to make my image. I feel that I am making an image more than I am taking one. Whether I was in the wet darkroom or sitting in front of a computer screen, adjusting parts of the image until they all work optimally together is my goal. That this may not reflect reality doesn't worry me at all. I'm not above removing the occasional twig in Photoshop now that I can. I would have done it in the old days too, had I been able.
The more ordinary the subject matter that I can turn into an interesting image, the better I like it. For the most part, I avoid dramatic lighting. I photograph more effectively after the sun is down than just before. It's rare for me to include skies for two reasons. First, I find that dividing an image between land and sky handicaps composition so much that I find it hard to justify in most cases. Second, including a horizon anchors an image in reality, giving it a time and place and scale which frankly I prefer not to have in my images. I'd prefer the viewer to wonder about scale, to ponder the subject matter and to be curious about where I took the image rather than providing those clues in the photograph.
Of late I have brought the same sensibilities to my industrial work, becoming even more abstract in my images. it seems that there isn't a lot of difference, whether I'm photographing the shine off of wet rock or brushed steel, lichen or rust.
I'm not above photographing the exciting and the glorious and the colour, and frankly those are the images most admired by the public, but I still hold a love for the intimate black and white image in a fine print.