My Philosophy

Photography is the most vibrant and exciting artistic medium to work with. I admit it – I’m biased. For my own work, I refuse to limit myself to one genre, one area, one speciality. The world is far too big and exciting for any photographer to remain stuck in a box for too long. For this reason, I like to explore ALL aspects of photography’s many faces – conceptual, digital, film, surrealism, documentary, still life, and so on. I don’t find this a handicap or a hindrance. I simply find it necessary in order to gain a rounded and healthy sense of its power to profoundly influence our creative lives and to reflect the richness of both the external world and our internal worlds.

My priority when teaching is to draw out the creativity and vision of the student. Sometimes this means starting over again and trying to re-programme that chip on the internal motherboard which drives us to replicate the kind of photographs that other photographers take. This is useless baggage and I will have none of it. What interests me most, and liberates the student is being able to find their own voice, their own way, and produce work which is stimulating, exciting, and full of passion. You won’t find derivative deadpan portraits on my walls, or in the portfolio pages of my students. My favourite words are VISCERAL, ESSENCE, and TWIM (many thanks to Stephen Fry for that last one).

Photography is about interaction, involvement, and immersion. I’ll set challenges and tasks which test assumptions and beliefs about photography and help to build a strong pyramid of practice from the bottom up. I’m aligned to the idea that as photographers we often interact with the world as if hunting for something amongst all the debris and the bombardment of our daily lives. It’s often a case of trying to find a vision or a voice which is actually right under our noses but it’s too close to see – a bit like the fish, unaware of the water within which it swims.

And speaking of fish, my approach to teaching follows the same rationale as this ancient and much over-used Chinese proverb:

Although, as Benjamin Franklin apparently said:

And coming from a man who also said:

I reckon he probably knows a thing or two.