Photography links people together as no other art form, especially in the age of mobile phones whereby someone in Australia can take and send an image which is received by someone in the UK in seconds. But photography also divides people, especially when it comes to those who like and defend one form of photography above all others, whilst at the same time regarding those 'others' as being somehow 'impure'.
For many years I was certainly a black and white, 'neg' and darkroompurist. I shunned digital cameras and the software that allowed the images produced by them to be 'developed' on a computer. And, even today, after using digital cameras for about 18 years, if someone said you can use only one method, take only one type of photograph, I would opt for traditional black and white. From my perspective, there are still images that work only by applying the principles of black and white photography, especially images that call for high contrast.
So, what made me embrace the digital age? Even during my predominantly black and white years I had taken coloured slides - mainly on Ektachrome film. The subject matter was invariably much more abstract - slabs of colour juxtaposed in architectural settings, the detail of flaking paintwork or peeling plaster, strong colours against deep blue skies, etc. When I decided to start experimenting with the digital image, it was as a way to continue this more abstract exploration of colour. Sometimes I would move the camera deliberately, using a slower shutter speed in order to create impressionistic effects; sometimes I would build montages by mirroring parts of an image. As I investigated what the software could accomplish so this altered my 'eye' and I would take certain subjects in specific ways, knowing in advance how I was going to manipulate them. The aim was to create photographs that needed deciphering, that challenged both mood and, in some instances, intellect.
Now I try to balance these two approaches. There are days when the black and white image is foremost in my mind when I pick up my camera. At other times I am seeking new abstractions.