About

The first camera I ever played around with was an AGFA point and shoot viewfinder with disposable flash bulbs – the ones that burned your fingers when you grabbed them too early – which my dad was quite reluctant to let me handle at the age of 12. A view years later, with the money earned doing a paper run, I upgraded to my own Canon viewfinder with an exchangeable lens and manual controls, which was my pride and joy. I shot everything and everyone and the results looked ridiculous, but it didn’t matter, I was taking photos and that’s what eventually was going to make me a photographer, right? Not quite.

I soon realised, there is a complex process to learn, loads of equipment to master – plus – very importantly, this stuff was and still is, by no means cheap. Photography and the enthusiasm took a break and made place for portrait and body drawing/sketching, which people ordered and bought and which earned me good pocket money. My mom still hasn’t forgiven me for selling pictures for a carton of cigarettes.

“Making art is hard! Remember that when you want to quit, don’t. Just stop for a while. You can begin again after stopping, but not if you quit.”

– – From ‘Art and Fear’ by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Almost 20 years, with and without cameras and thus with and without photography, went by. Life and career changes were a wild roller coaster ride from pastry cook to professional pilot and other things in between. At times I did not even think about shooting until, following 5 years without a camera at all (thanks Mr. Thief), there was this creative vacuum, which desperately needed to be filled. This coincided just about with the birth of the Digital SLR and, consumed by curiosity and the potential challenges I entered the digital realm armed with a Canon D60 and no idea what to do with a digital image.

I studied Digital Imaging at the RMIT, because I need to fully grasp what ever I touch, at all times. Eventually, happy with being able to handle the digital darkroom I added some semesters of studio and location photography and photographic lighting. In my books, and there are friends and neighbours who don’t agree, this is when I started to take and even more importantly, make, decent and satisfactory photos. What I mean is that I learned about the difference between ‘taking a picture’ and ‘making a picture’ – the difference between composing, deciding and pressing the shutter and subsequently developing the picture, the digital way, in the digital darkroom, substituting the chemical darkroom I never had.

“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.”

– – Ansel Adams

I am aware of the stigma that digital photography still bears amongst the traditionalists and I am admittedly somewhat weary of questions, such as: “Was this manipulated – was it Photo-Shopped?”. In my own humble opinion, every image/photo/picture, is manipulated, the mere presence of the photographer manipulates the scene. I believe, from the moment that I press the shutter to when I make/complete/craft the output, I manipulate. I also believe, I manipulate you, the viewer, to see what I see. Anyway, what you see here, and not subject to change until further notice, has been taken, and made, the same way every photograph was ever taken and made. Shutter released, picture developed.

That said, I have to mention that I find the possibilities and creative potentials of digital manipulation very intriguing. However, if I ever decide to exhibit images the likes of “Blue Elephant On Red Square”, I will label the exhibition ‘Digital Conceptualisation’.

“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask “how”, while others ask “why”. I have always preferred inspiration to information.”

– – Man Ray

I truly hope you enjoy the show and let me know either way. I am my own worst critic and would love to hear it from you for a change.

All The Best

Tommy