My first Wilderness walk was in 1974.
with borrowed boots, borrowed coat, borrowed pack. I was introduced
to "Bushwalking" by a friend from work, Michael Higgins. My
camera hardly left my pack because the long week-end in June is not
known for it’s good weather. Snow, sleet rain and hail is the norm for
that time of year. Following that bleak start it could only get better
and in the next 2 years it seemed almost non stop trips through Tasmania’s
Wild areas. Many of the tracks had yet to be discovered by the average
walker. In just a few short years tracks that we got lost on would become
treacherous and soggy bogs, sometimes almost like a 4 wheel drive track.
In July of 1976 my walking partner Michael Higgins, took his own life
at the age of 26.
First Public Work
“At the time of Michael's death
I was working on putting together my first exhibition, a local display
in the (then) new Launceston Library. That Exhibition was opened by
the Launceston Museum Curator, Mr Frank Ellis. I dedicated the Exhibition
to the Memory of Michael and although having been left Michael’s extensive
transparency collection all the exhibited material was my own, from
"I printed all the images in my own darkroom and made my own frames
– money did not exist for the important stuff like frames and mounting.
I was always a bit of a perfectionist in the darkroom and the resulting
prints and their total lack of any retouching impressed Mr Ellis enough
to sponsor and encourage me to apply for a Churchill Fellowship. It
never happened. I did track down an overseas university that had a post
graduate course in Fine Printmaking, however both the Hobart and Launceston
campus of arts felt they had nothing to teach me in the art of making
photographic prints and were not into offering honorary degrees.” In
fact both campus's suggested I might like to teach as a guest or specialist
From the humble beginnings at the Library an exhibition and “artist
in residence” at Ritchie’s Mill Art Gallery during March of 1977. This
was followed in September by an Exhibition at Beechworth Gallery in
Victoria. For an “unknown” artist these were quite successful with over
40% of the images sold. A number of Art show entries and magazine published
material spanned over the next 18 months.
Expansion was a dream. I became heavily involved in computers with
the idea of computerising the 8000 plus slides and 3000 negatives. This
was before the “personal computer” phrase was in use. This other "hobby
was to shape my career. Until 1982 I continued to add to the collection
with a trip to New Zealand and of course the much loved Tasmanian Bush.
Several multi screen slide presentations took up 2 years. I designed
and manufacturing my own dissolve and multi screen projection units
as well as producing several shows with this gear.
And then there were kids.
In 1982 I was offered a position with a new photographic company in
Tasmania as the Technical Services manager – processing.
I helped produce hundreds of thousand of
prints for people and quite suddenly lost my own passion for photography.
The reality is that having 3 children did not really affect my interest.
If anything having kids of my own switched me from Landscape to people.
I had always been quite good at portrait work and in fact it paid for
most of my film and consumables for my exhibitions. I have some great
shots of my kid’s if anyone would like to see them”.
In 2001 I walked through Cradle Mountain National park. 25 years after
my last walk through.
Basically this was a trip down memory lane
for me. I hardly used the camera, I have some nice photo's from that
trip but I have hundreds more from years pastl. While I was enjoying
the view over the Kiora Valley from the climbing gully of Mt Ossa on
this trip, some young guys stopped to chat. Inevitably they asked when
was my last visit here,? I replied “1976” – “gosh pops that was before
we were born”.
So at 50 I felt suddenly quite old, and
not long after that I decided that I really needed to do something with
my photographs (and my photography).
So the camera case has mildew on it and there are some really very nice
cameras in the shops but what really makes life so very interesting
is the new digital cameras and printing technologies.
The Digital Era.
In late 2002 I decided that changing
to 6x4.5 Mamiya SLR was the wayforward for me. After 3 months of having
others scan my material to digital and the frustrations caused by me
being so fussy I decided that although film was wonderful with the new
Fuji Velvia, I would persue an all digital path. With noted exceptions
the images on this web site are from a Fuji S2 digital camera. Images
are pin sharp to 16 x 20 inches and with computers and digital software
I have some seamless merging of beautiful panoramas of the Tasmanian
Revisit many of my favourite places and capture new images in digital.
Exhibit, write and publish. Oh ! and start taking pictures of my grown