I have had a great love for photography ever since the first time I saw an image appear on a piece of photographic paper (as if by magic), in a friend’s darkroom. For several years I produced monochrome photographs in my home darkroom, and had some success, exhibiting and winning awards in several countries. That was in my homeland, South Africa.
After I left South Africa, many, many years ago, I never set up a darkroom again, and although I maintained an interest, I didn’t take up photography seriously again – until the “digital age”. As soon as digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras became affordable, I renewed my interest with passion, and with some success, having had 10 of my photographs published in the Royal Photographic Society book “Portfolio One”.
I have always been inspired by seeing photographs taken by great photographers. Many of the best photographers, in my opinion, are members of MAGNUM, the great, independent photo agency. When inspiration is needed, I spend hours browsing their portfolios. One of my favourite MAGNUM photographers is Chris Steele-Perkins. Like me, he is a foreigner who married a Japanese woman and spent several years living in Japan. In his photos taken in Japan, he has tried to show that very often in this country, things are not exactly what they appear to be. He explains this in his photo essay TOKYO LOVE HELLO (follow the link and click: PLAY ESSAY – it has a soundtrack too). I love this, and other works of his that I have seen exhibited.
In my photos taken in Japan, I have tried to capture my view of what makes this country unique. I have found this very difficult, and feel that I have seldom come anywhere near succeeding – but I won’t stop trying. When I get really stuck, I tend to return to nature; photographing birds is a little less difficult than capturing the singular nature of the Japanese people.
It is little wonder that when I use my photographs as part of my lessons at my English school, Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi スミス英会話川西校, my students are most interested in seeing my photos of England.
I’ll insert some of my Japanese pics anyway.