To me, a work of art is something made by humans that evokes an emotional response in other humans. I am interested in the extent to which natural forms can evoke such responses. actionshot When searching for an image I value simplicity above everything. After that, I am drawn to indications of tension, imbalance, movement, dynamic equilibrium. The best of my images are, to me, suggestive of relationships. These need to be strong, but assymetrical in some way, not easily resolved. This may imply tension, or movement. There may be a parallel to themes in other, non visual, art-forms, such as music, poetry, literature, or ballet.
The eye delivers one version of visual truth; the camera delivers another. To me, it is unrealistic to expect the camera to mimic the eye; if we are to see value in photography, we have to settle for the visual truth delivered by the camera. That is we should allow the camera to tell us what it will, and respect its integrity. We should not try and manipulate it in an attempt to make it 'see' as we do
I greatly admire photographers who will spend half-an-hour setting up a tripod, measuring light levels and colour temperatures, and framing a scene, before starting to take photographs. But that is not for me. I have tried many times to use a tripod, but for me it simply interferes with the flow. I want to be spontaneous and responsive.
I am much more likely to be found scrambling about on a rocky bank, taking hand-held pictures at high magnification in indifferent and variable natural light, working close to the limits of my camera. I think I take better pictures that way: my best images seem to arise as the result of a struggle. Perhaps that is because when you are struggling you are in no position to impose. Maintaining focus is a problem for me, as I am often working at slow shutter speeds. I could use artificial light, but I find natural light more interesting. I demand high electronic speeds of my camera, and I have to be careful in dealing with electronic 'noise'. If all else fails, I may, occasionally, have to ask viewers to accept a grainy picture.
When I was in my late teens I was told to choose between the Arts and the Sciences. I resolved to do both. As a scientist I got a First and a Doctorate at Oxford, and I have published about a hundred scientific papers; as an environmental scientist I was invited to visit some of the dirtiest places on the planet, with a view to helping clean them up; they are a little cleaner now.
In between I became Chairman of the Oxford Area Arts Council, and was instrumental in creating an Arts Centre and converting a derelict church into a theatre. I have given three public recitals, and sold hundreds of my paintings. So now I am attempting to become a photographer. I have no idea why - I resisted the temptation for a very long time. All I can say is that photography is now an essential part of my life, and I cannot imagine being without it. I want and expect to take photographs every day.
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