Of all the art-forms I’ve sampled, none have provided me the ability to express my life’s experiences as well as photography and printmaking.
I was first introduced to photography in 1966 at the age of nine with a Christmas present – a Kodak Brownie, and a simple set of film developing tools and chemicals. My black and white negatives were developed crouched in a wardrobe in trays that were also used to process contact prints.
How things have changed!
This camera was taken with me on an amazing adventure to the jungles of New Guinea, where my parents lived and worked as missionaries, for many years. Sadly I do not have any of those early photographs.
In my teenage years, while at boarding school in Perth Western Australia, I continued my interest with much improved darkroom facilities, photographing for the school yearbooks.
In 1979 I purchased my first 35mm SLR, an Olympus OM10 and joined a camera club so I could use the darkroom and learn from the “old timers” the craft of photography and printmaking, quickly moving into processing colour prints from negative and transparencies (slides). A whole new world was opening up as I was encouraged by club members to send submissions of work to competitions and exhibitions.
By the mid 1980s I was submitting prints and slides to National and International exhibitions of photography both here in Australia and in many countries around the world. I enjoyed quite a deal of success having my photos accepted for display in most of the exhibitions I entered and a few awards came my way as well. I was awarded “Licentiate of the Australian Photographic Society” (LAPS) in 1985 and went on to earn the honor “Associate of the Australian Photographic Society” (AAPS) in 1989 at the society’s annual convention.
In 1984 I was instrumental in staging an exhibition of photography work by secondary school students in Western Australia, just as photography in schools was being introduced as part of the curriculum. The completion and exhibition was supported financially by a group of professional photographers keen to develop talented students. The exhibition was displayed in the then recently vacated Western Australian Art Gallery building in Perth. Work experience in the studios of these professional photographers was offered as rewards for the participating young students.
In 1985 I established an annual National photographic exhibition that was displayed at the Perth Royal Agricultural Society show. This annual exhibition is still running and continues to be a major exhibit at the same venue.
During the period 1984 to 1999 I became interested in the other fine art printmaking disciplines of lithography and serigraphy, practicing as an understudy to a widely respected artist and gallery owner. The same artist was also a renowned master photographer and fine art printmaker whose studio specialised in fine art reproductions, using four-colour offset press technology. A great wealth of knowledge was gained in all aspects of fine art printmaking which is still very relevant today even with the digital technologies now available.
Over the next decade life experiences were not so favourable and most of my images, equipment and enthusiasm were lost. Only a few images were recorded during this period when I was on vacations and able to borrow a camera.
In late 2010 I took the plunge back into photography and with the acquisition of a new digital camera and lenses reignited the creative spark within to capture and create art. I have found the digital photography technologies to be quite amazing and my artistry has developed as a result of these advances in digital media.
Since then, photography has become more than my hobby. I have turned it into my profession and this has enabled me to grow as an artist, capturing and creating images mainly from the natural environment. Subjects include scenic panoramas of our national parks and portraits of the things that make up the world in which we live.