Self portrait, c.1966

On My Photography


As a teenager I aspired to become both a composer and a painter. Music studies took over and my painterly dreams faded. (This self-portrait, circa 1966, is my only extant effort.) Although I had a somewhat prejudiced view of photography as ‘not really art’, I eventually bought a camera. Taking snaps was one thing, but how to change this ‘instant image-producing machine’ into something that would better satisfy my visual creative urge? Since I lacked photographic technical skills and was too impatient to learn any – I have never worked in a photographic darkroom for instance – I looked for an unconventional approach, the misuse and abuse of the medium. I attacked the pristine, normally ‘sacrosanct’ negative. I adopted a favourite kind of film, Kodak vericolour*, and used it in ways for which it was never intended. Thus began a series of projects that I carried through the 1980s and 1990s.

More recently, of course, digital technology has exploded photography’s possibilities. And I have dabbled, but with the same sense of play. I’ve not dared enter Photoshop. Rather I delight the imperfections of a random image and how it might be nudged into something more interesting. I can enjoy and admire coarse pixilation.

* KODAK VERICOLOR Slide Film is intended for producing same-size positive transparencies from color negatives or for making reduced-size transparencies from larger negatives.