'Each man delights in the work that suits him best.'
I am passionate about photographic prints and fine books. The first stirrings of this came at a young age through looking at such books as Giancarlo Gasponi's series on life in various regions of Italy, and the series entitled 'Day in the Life' which featured many photographers' work through the course of one day in a certain place, such as 'California'. I longed for an experience of the places and the lives of the people depicted in books such as these. The most effective photography instigates this sense of longing. I believe it can be a conduit for a realm much like the one we experience in the present but that is in some mysterious way beyond the here and now. I think that prints and books are the best medium for this sensation as they offer a fixed portal through which the viewer can enter and linger awhile so as to to explore certain aspects presented by the image that connect with the memory and imagination.
From the age of fifteen I was fortunate to have use of a darkroom at school. At this time I started taking photographs in earnest either developing film and printing in my makeshift bath/darkroom or in the school darkroom. I continued reading books about photography and photographer's work, and photographing around London once I left school and went to university.
In 2001 I gained a degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute in London. Many of the specific courses within this degree have been central to my ongoing interests and occupations. In my second year I studied 'Early Northern Italian Narrative Painting' under Dr Donal Cooper and during this time visited many wondrous chapels and churches across Tuscany and Umbria, most notably seeing Giotto's "Life of St Francis" frescoes in Assisi and Piero Della Francesca's "Legend of the True Cross", in Arezzo. This experience sparked my admiration and love for the work of Domenico Ghirlandaio and his studio to whom I look to for inspiration on a regular basis. This course also provided me with a foundation text for my business practices in "Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy" by Michael Baxandall, as it set out the way that artists of this time and place engaged with their patrons with regards to contracts, materials, timescales and costs.
In my third and final year at the Courtauld Institute I studied two topics: "Island Art: Illuminated Manuscripts from the 6th to 9th Centuries" under Professor John Lowden, and "Modern and Post Modern Photography" under Professor Julian Stallabrass. In "Island Art", we studied many incredible books from this remarkable era and had the privilege to see first-hand the Lindisfarne Gospels in the British Library and the Book of Kells in Trinity College Library, Dublin. They are both astonishing productions of great care, endeavour, learning and skill and have set a ludicrous and certainly unattainable benchmark for me in my own bookmaking.
I was very fortunate to be able to study photography under Professor Stallabrass. The course strengthened my attachment to "black & white" film photographers such as the documentarians and photo-journalists Sebastiao Salgado, Henri Cartier Bresson, William Klein and Robert Frank, and the fine artists, Edward Weston, Berenice Abbott and Ansel Adams. It also opened my eyes to colour photography in the work of Joel Meyerowitz and Joel Sternfeld, the latter being the subject of my final thesis. One of the colour photography books that I discovered at this time was Wim Wender's 'Written in the West', (Munich 1987), which captivated me and has drawn me into an attachment with the landscape and towns of the American south-western states. Many of my soujorns through the years, in the USA and Italy in particular, have been attempts to mimic something of the extraordinary character of these photographers and their work.
The weekend before I was to embark on my first professional project, 'Aspects of a Communications Company', in the summer of 2004, I sat in my sister's front room and opened up her Latin/English dictionary, chancing upon the translation of 'aperto': "revealed", "uncovered" and "laid bare". These words pointed to the essence of my aim within photography. Whilst undertaking this first project, the following week, I looked out the window of the twenty-first floor of Centrepoint in London and took the image that was to become 'City Awakening' which I then produced as an edition of prints for sale. These two events provided the foundation for my photography as an artistic and commercial endeavour.,
'Man cannot understand without images'
St Thomas Aquinas