“There are two kinds of photographers; those who compose pictures and those who take them… for the latter, their studio is the world. The constant flux of life exerts a power of fascination over them. They are alert to it at all times. For them, the ordinary does not exist…” Ernst Haas, Magnum Picture Agency.
My first experience of photography was as a child living on overseas US Army bases. While stationed in Japan, my father recorded “ the constant flux of life” using a Rangefinder Nikon 1. Back in Decatur, Georgia, I got my first camera for my 8th birthday; a Kodak with a built in flash reflector. I thought it normal to photograph people without asking. I became the irritating ‘kid with the camera’ and after the complaints, my parents discovered it was impossible to buy flashbulbs in Decatur.
My first news picture was published during the 1960’s freedom riders campaign to desegregate public transport. I took a shot of the local Ku Klux Clan in full regalia driving past our house on their way to burn a cross, and the next morning I took the film to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. At the age of 12, I saw for the first time how the news was made – and began my life long affair with photo journalism.
In the early seventies I moved to the UK and worked for underground publications such as the International Times and Oz magazine, photographing the social movements of the time, especially those around the vibrant and exciting music scene.
In 1982 I covered the Lebanese civil war and accompanied the Israeli Defence force into Lebanon. Having witnessed first hand the plight of Palestinians in the Lebanese refugee camps I was moved to return to the Middle East again in 1986, 88 and 89 to tell their story.
In 1984 I joined REPORT. I covered political events, including the epic miners strike and the social movements that arose from it. The launch of the Independent in 1986 brought about a brief golden age where photographers were encouraged to produce compelling narrative images . I documented the extraordinary/ordinary events of these times for the Guardian and the Times, as well as teaching photography at a London polytechnic.
The recession in the mid nineties brought a downturn in picture desk budgets and ended the emphasis placed on extraordinary photography. Since that time I have mainly worked for magazines and commercial publications, but continue to focus on the narrative of public events in my own work.
In 2007 my Kiwi partner of 20 years decided to call time on her 25 year OE and come home. In March 07 we moved to Laingholm with our son. I continue to record the world as it unfolds around me and welcome the extension on of my world into this new and fascinating “studio.”
Since moving to West Auckland I've had three local exhibitions; 'Pictures you can hear' images of the Titirangi Festival of Music at the The Upstairs Gallery, 'The English' unpublished work from the UK at The Upstairs Gallery, and 'Acknowledging Waitakere' at the West Coast Gallery in Piha. With less emphasis on editorial work I am now concentrating on person projects particularly environmental portraits - the focus of my last exhibition, Acknowledging Waitakere.
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