Many years ago Mark Shand introduced his old friend Don McCullin at the RGS in London with the words " this mans eyes are our conscience " . I never forgot those words and on Sunday had the pleasure of shooting Don using the wet plate collodion process whilst he was down at Les Rencontres D'Arles. It was incredibly hot but Don was ever the gentlemen and sat patiently for two hours whilst I dealt with the various issues that shooting wet plate in 40 c throws up. A memorable day for me and an honour to photograph a man for whom I hold the greatest respect.Read More
Its been a busy time recently and I am now on the road for 3 weeks but I managed to get home for a few days and went straight in to a week of wet plate collodion photography. Above is a new picture that I am very pleased with, a portrait of Naomi Watts and her sister in law Jeananne Williams. It was shot towards the end of the day, not the ideal time for wet plate photography but it worked here. I love the stillness of this image. I have more pictures to come from some other sittings last week but they are going to have to wait to be finished when I get home.Read More
So the end of a busy week. I have just shot a couple of boats, one in Toulon and the other in Valletta one of the worlds great harbour's. For reasons of privacy I can not really name the boats or owners or share any pictures but I am hoping that at some point they will both be published. Two very different projects, one smallish and very contemporary and the other large and full of character and both with interesting interior design produced by masters of the craft. Its always interesting shooting boats, for one they involve shooting in very tight spaces and secondly they tend to move quite a lot which is challenging when you are doing 30 second exposures. Off again at dawn tomorrow morning and then back again for some collodion work before heading off to shoot a hotel and another boat.Read More
I spent the weekend shooting at a small photo festival close to where I live in the South of France. It was in the middle of a heatwave which is not ideal conditions for Wet Plate and the temperature outside was about 35c and inside the portable darkroom it must have been 45c. This throws up interesting reactions with the chemicals but I was prepared for this and adjusted accordingly. The results are far from perfect but considering the heat and the fact that I was in a dusty field but I shot a few plates that I really like. Above an image of Marie Samantha Salvy a wonderful poet. There are also a couple of other new pictures in the people section of the website.Read More
A detail from the home of the ceramic artists Bouke de Vries . His work is beautiful and very real. Check it out at www.boukedevries.com
This is a photograph taken in Mexico City for a book on Mexican architecture for Conran Octopus. It was taken at Las Capilla des Capucins which was designed by the great Mexican architect Luis Barragan. I love this shot, it is simple but there is so much going on within it in terms of composition, mood and light and it has an air of calm and meditation to it. The story behind the picture is somewhat different. I was in the middle of two books one in Mexico and a second in the USA. We had arranged permission and a fee with the sisters a couple of weeks before and a date was set. I flew in from LA and went straight to the Capilla with my friend Leo. The shoot was simple and went well and after taking four or five rolls of film we packed up and went to find the Mother Superior to hand over the agreed sum. She counted the money and then turned round and announced that in fact the fee would be ten times the agreed price which was a bit of a shock and demanded that we hand over the film and collect the cash and then she would give it back to us at a later date. It was clear that this was not open to discussion so we handed over a box of film and retreated quickly. We never went back and there is probably a box of five rolls of unprocessed Kodak film sitting in the fridge today.Read More
And here is a link to some more of my work on ImageBrief.Read More
And this is another shot in the same apartment showing a great mix of art and colour.Read More
A friend who I asked to review my website just wrote to say that my new blog looks a bit gloomy so I thought it might be time to add a bit of color. This is an old shot in a tiny London apartment belonging to a friend and very talented interior designer Hubert Zandberg. Hubert was born if Africa and when he moved to the UK he bought a bit colour with him. Over the years I have photographed many of his projects and they all combine a wonderful use of colour and fantastic art.Read More
I am working a lot with Collodion at the moment, the UV is strong, the sky is blue and it is not to hot. The more I learn about Collodion the harder it gets. When I first started out with the process I loved all of the swirls and whirls and in a way I still do but I want to master the process, not have the process master me. Here is a perfect example, a strong image but there is heavy fog on the right in the shadow area and now I have to go off and try and work out what is causing this and once I work that out I then have to learn how to correct it. Collodion is a fickle mistress but as is the way with mistresses there is never a dull moment.Read More
India is another of my great passions and I will be sharing many pictures of my travels here. I first visited in my twenties and as soon as I got off the plane I felt at home, it was as if I had already been there. Over the next ten years I traveled back and forth and at one point was spending more time in India than in the UK. I knew that my father had been born there and that my grandfather had died in India after the second world war. It was only many years later that I discovered that my ancestors had been living here for centuries so in some way India is in my blood.
Below is an old image taken at the Maha Kumb Mela in 2001. On arrival all of my cameras were stolen and it was only through the great kindness of a couple of people that I managed to get new cameras purchased and sent to me within 5 days. As I took this image I was standing knee deep in the Ganges with two brand new Canon's and a Hasselblad around my neck that and seconds before it had occurred to me that I had forgotten to insure the cameras.Read More
A recent shot from the weekend.
This is a recent photograph taken using the Wet Plate Collodion process of a friends two children Sascha and Kai. About five years ago I saw an image by an American photographer called Joni Sternbach, it was from a series she had produced called Surfland. I literally fell in love with her images and after two months of reading up on the process I took the plunge and flew to Manchester where I spent a weekend taking a Wet Plate Collodion workshop with John Brewer. After this I was totally hooked and began the long process of gathering all of the necessary equipment and chemicals that are needed to produce Collodion images. This took months and when I was nearly ready to start shooting I went off to Laycock Abbey which was once the home of Henry Fox Talbot , one of the founding fathers of photography. Here I was fortunate to take a course with Mark Osterman and his wife France Scully Osterman. Mark is Photographic Process Historian at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. France is an educator and artist and also a guest scholar at George Eastman House and it was such a pleasure to learn from them. After three fascinating days I returned to France with a new car, a new camera and a boot load of chemicals and started my own journey into the magical world of Wet Plate Collodion.