Photo-Zen is about images. I do not want to clutter the homepage with words so I have put this introduction on a separate page.
In the Photo-Zen galleries you will find:
Photos of Britain
Photographs of some of the most beautiful parts of Britain, including the Derbyshire Peak District, Cornwall, The Hebrides Islands, and Snowdonia. Also photos of Dublin, Brighton, Worthing, Hertfordshire, and other locations.
Photos of London
Including The London Eye, Regent's Park, Kew Gardens, The City, The South Bank, and many more areas.
Black and White photography
When I began photography I did all my work in black and white. These scans of prints are some of the most popular pictures on the site.
In these photos the inspiration was to create a picture, the actual location being incidental.
Exploring the effects of using the camera in different ways.
Here I experimented with using a movie camera to take the same kinds of image that interest me in still photography, but with the added dimensions of time and movement.
Articles offering some sound advice from experienced photographers.
To me photography is about seeing, seeing with awareness fully alive to the moment - the here and now. Hence the name Photo-Zen.
Pictures without words: about me and photography
When I left school I took a course in photography and gained a qualification from The Institute of Incorporated Photographers. I worked professionally with photographers in Hertfordshire and London for a while, before deciding to return to academic study and go to university to study English Literature. I now enjoy the freedom of doing photography as a hobby rather than a job, but I am sure that my professional training feeds into my work.
When I started photography using black and white film was the norm, and I had a darkroom where I did my own developing and printing. I didn't even switch to colour film until the 1980s. I didn't want to lose the control of doing my own printing - though when I did finally make the switch it was nice in a way to just put the film in an envelope and send it off and get prints back, instead of having to do all the work myself. I switched to digital photography in about 2004 and I really like it because it gives me back the control I used to have when I had my own darkroom.
For me photography is a non-verbal experience. When I look through the viewfinder I am searching for something that is not connected to words - some arrangement of shapes that feels OK, and when the shutter clicks I cannot use words to say what happened - only the picture can say it.
My eyes see a scene which seems meaningful in some way, and I try to capture it in the rectangle of the camera's viewfinder. I always see the subject in a partly abstract way - as shapes and colours - light and dark - no matter what the subject is.
I am always aware that as a print or on a screen the picture is going to be a rectangle, isolated from its surroundings, and when I look through the viewfinder I am partly thinking of how the scene is going to look as a flat pattern in a rectangle. When I first started photography I worked in black and white and I think that was helpful because it made me look at tone and contrast, which in my view is more important than colour.
I once heard an art critic talking about the painter Cézanne, and he said, 'He painted what he saw on the back of his own eyeballs'. I think that says something about being aware of one's own visual experience in a detached way, which I can relate to in my photography. Photography is about seeing. We have to see what we are seeing.