Colouring Outside the Lines

‘I found I could say things with colours that I couldn’t say in any other way –things that I had no words for.’ – Georgia O’Keefe

I have been taking photographs since my early teens, but like many budding photographers, who didn’t have access to a darkroom, funding the printing was always difficult. There is no doubt that digital technology has revolutionised the photography world. It is now accessible to all, and although I welcome that progress, it has in my view, brought with it, a frustrating sense of uniformity. It seemed to me, that all the best photographs of landscapes, wildlife and portraits, had all been taken several times over. Furthermore, the generally accepted wisdom about how technically correct a photograph should look, began to appeal to me less and less. In the words of Picasso, it is important to: ‘Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.’.

I have always seen myself as an artist who uses a camera rather than as a photographer, so I began searching for inspiration. Meeting several creative photographers was the start of my journey into a different approach. At 90 years of age, the late Harry Cundell, an Arena Group member for many years, was still experimenting and creating some wonderfully different images. He encouraged me to imagine rather than merely record. He quickly became my mentor and without his encouragement I wouldn’t have been brave enough to follow a path less travelled, for as Matisse recognised, ‘Creativity takes courage.’

At a low ebb one day, after the death of my mentor, I signed up for a course with Valda Bailey and Doug Chinnery.  Within a few moments of listening to them both, I felt I had ‘come home’. They taught me how to get the most out of ‘in-camera’ approaches and their work continues to influence my creative direction. I have also been influenced by many artists and photographers, including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Kasimir Malevich, Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore,  Uta Barth, Horst P. Horst and Man Ray to name but a few.

Most of the photographs on this website have been created using multiple exposures and/or intentional camera movement. On occasions I use post processing software to combine images. I am constantly inspired by the colours, textures and shapes around me. As Oscar Wilde said, colour speaks to the soul, ‘in a thousand different ways.’  I spend hours taking photographs in one place, manipulating the camera settings and the camera itself, until I feel I have captured at least one, of the pictures in my head. 

‘The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.’ – William Thackeray

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