Why ‘The Mountain Photographer’?
It all began one April in 2002. My wife, her sister and her sister’s husband suggested that we book a holiday in the Lake District. I wasn’t really bothered where I went on holiday. So I agreed. This was my first ever visit to the Lake District. On the third day the four of us took a day trip to Ullswater with the intention of taking the boat to Howtown and then walking back to Glenridding. Whilst waiting for the boat I was completely mesmerised by the snow-capped peaks. My attention was drawn to the imposing bulk of Helvellyn (it was actually Dollywagon Pike at which I was looking). Something just clicked, you know, one of those seminal moments. Something just moved deep inside. I knew I wanted to climb it and be up there on the peaks. In the intervening years many trips to Snowdonia followed and a few to the far flung Lake District. I love mountains. I love (and hate) the sensation of isolation, desolation and wilderness. I find the experience cathartic. I love the views. What a gift it is to be there! Gazing down on the world from the heights. Freedom! Never have I felt such peace – anywhere!
When I am not on a mountain, and that is quite naturally most of the time, I am logistically confined to the South East corner of Wales trying to make photographs of interesting textures and their interaction with the sublime qualities of light.
I suppose that I am a Fell walker first, photographer second. I have no pretensions about my “work”. I just enjoy climbing mountains and making pictures. If people like them, well, that’s an added bonus.
How did all this start?
For my 20th birthday my late Mum presented me with a small box diligently decorated with all the typical wrappings. “What’s this” was my rather ungrateful response. My skepticism was well founded as the previous year Mum presented me with a screwdriver and the year before that a toolbox. Only God knows why. With a degree of trepidation I nervously unpacked the gift with occasional glances to the smiling Mother. With a perplexed grimace on my face I pulled out a camera. “What!, What!, A camera!!!”. I didn’t even want or need a camera. “You can take pictures of my skittle club’s matches now” said Mum grinning widely. I have no idea from where she conceived that idea! That camera was a Praktica MTL5. I still have it. It still works and it started what has became an obsession, a total and complete consuming obsession.
Who am I?
Aspergic, reclusive, obsessive, compulsive, insular, intense, private, focussed, driven, perfectionist, forties. As such, I prefer to remain anonymous and like to convey the marvellous and wondrous gift that is light and creation.
Why I do it?
Because I have to! I love landscapes, mainly Welsh. I love the mood and tone of monochrome and the occasional splash of colour. I love texture, tone, shadow, light. I like to photograph anything and anywhere I can see these elements. A story isn’t important, often irrelevant. If you want a story then read a book. You will find no arty-farty psycho babble, no lying digital manipulations, no digital fakery. The negative is the essence of absolute truth.
Where do I go from here?
I don’t know really! I hope I can capture the evocative mood of the Welsh landscape or the amazing textures found in the things of everyday life. I hope people enjoy my work. If I can fantasise, I would like to photograph for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC or become a MAGNUM photographer. It’s just a dream and one can dream!
Who are my influences?
Fay Godwin, Leni Riefenstahl, Barry Thornton, Francis Meadow Sutcliffe, Sebastiao Salgado, John Clow, Josef Sudek, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Henri Cartier Bresson, David Hurn, Terence Donovan, George Davidson, Ansel Adams, last, but by no means least Charlie Waite (only Sebastiao, Charlie and David Hurn are actually alive and all are British except one Hungarian, one Brazilian, one Frenchman, one German and one American). Of them all, Fay Godwin and Barry Thornton are my personal favourites. These chaps set the standard to which I aspire.