People often ask me what kind of photography I do. I usually reply with a straightforward; 'People.' Because, although people is not what I solely photograph, it is what I love the most about my work. I thrive on the interactions, the stories shared, connections created, emotions encapsulated. And, even when I'm not actually photographing people, it's these connections that fill me with joy as I work.
I learnt my craft in the days of film and I'm so very grateful for that. I truly believe that it makes me a better photographer. Back then each frame was expensive. Each underexposed negative, each blurred image, a never-to-be-regained loss. Hours spent in the red haze of the darkroom, straining in the half-light to watch the magic of each image slowly, magically appearing before me. Editing mistakes made so easily with the slip of a hand that let in too much light, or a too-long linger that over-shadowed vital details of the photograph; each image painstakingly coaxed out of its liquid chemical bed. Each final print so precious.
And so I learned. To spend time getting to know the people I was working with. To wait, and wait behind the lens before I pressed the shutter – just at that precise and vital second. To know, in my heart, that I’d found it – Cartier-Bresson’s Decisive Moment.
It took me a long time to relinquish my love of the darkroom and of film. To be sure that the digital era was not just a flash in the pan. To finally give in, turn my back on film and buy a new camera. And I love it, I do, but it’s not the same. Sure, it’s easier, cheaper, quicker, slicker. But, despite this, there’s always something missing. The magic perhaps. That faith and trust; that space of unknowing between pressing the shutter and watching the prints emerge from the darkness.
And so I try and bring that magic back into the way I shoot. I watch and wait, and wait again, clicking when I know the essence is there. The interactions, the emotion, the connections, and the moments in between. I look out for them and they are what I photograph.