As a professional photographer, I was never without my Nikon and
all its lenses, around my waist and over my shoulder in a heavy pouch
that made its presence felt, as I went out chasing the magical
elements necessary for what I considered to be ‘the perfect picture’.
I was very much influenced by Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau,
and captivated by the era when images were considered ‘real’ and not
manipulated on a computer. I exhibited archival silver gelatine prints,
cropped only in the camera, took immaculately exposed slides and
learnt how to craft platinum palladium prints – attracted by the
texture of the fine French paper, and all the subtleties that emerge
with a technique that harks back to an earlier time.
Everything changed when I moved away from the inner city of Sydney
to Australia’s Southern Highlands – no longer feeling an urgent need
to search for ‘astounding’, I was simply ‘immersed in beauty’. Each day
brought new marvels and I felt I couldn’t possibly ‘do justice’ to
all the wondrous displays of nature. Learning to admire what was
before me instead – the fleeting things that I couldn’t keep hold of
but could store in my memory – I started to paint, and explore other
forms of creative expression.
Travel always brings new inspiration, and France has long been an
integral part of my life and dreams. Working on the documentary and
book ‘Lunch with Madame Murat’ by Australian journalist Mary Moody,
I found myself deep in the rural heart of ‘the Lot’ in the Southwest,
immersed in the timeless traditions and rhythms of a simple life that
corresponds with the cycles of nature.
Now I find I have created this for myself, further South, yet still
in harmony with the values and warmth generated by the local way
of being that remains steady during ‘la crise économique’, as the
history of this region tells of more difficult times that have built
resolve and practical resilience, humour and bonheur, in the face
of any storms that might pass.
Each image on this site has been taken on a tiny Canon IXUS 8015,
that I am rarely seen without. The quality is not the same if I compare,
but I am free to move about and to respond in an instant to the ever
changing canvas here. The light is gentle and alters with the season,
and I am naturally drawn to record my new environment. Perhaps it is
only because it is new – that I am looking at everything with fresh eyes,
that I see things that locals forget to notice as they are so familiar
– or perhaps it is just that I wish to share some of its many charms.
Nearby Perpignan is host to ‘Visa pour l’Image’ each September, and this
used to be my universe – I was fascinated by ‘reportage’ and often
shocked or amazed by the exposure of dramatic events. As I find myself
in a more natural environment, I am no longer drawn to extremes in
order to express myself or try and make sense of the world – I used
to follow ‘manifestations’ and it was a challenge to capture the most
arresting pictures – now I am happiest watching the forest change
its colours, tracking through the pristine snow with crystals that
glisten like stars.
Each day brings something new to appreciate, whether it is an ant
struggling with one of the stems of amaranth dropped during the harvest,
or a new sprinkling of white on the slopes of Canigou as I wake, it is
simple – my focus is on ‘the remarkable’ that surrounds us every day.