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30 years ago ...

August 9, 2016

30 years ago this year I first became a student of photography. Of course I had made photographs before then, but in 1986, as a 20 year old first year student, I really began to consider just what photography was or what it had been and what it might be. The course I had joined was based at the School of Art and Design of the Vaal Triangle Technikon (today the Vaal University of Technology) in the Transvaal, South Africa. I was fortunate. My lecturers were talented and encouraging and my peers were great to be around. Not only did I learn technical skills but we were pushed to be creative. Photographic Science and Theory were embedded in the course as was the History of Photography. This was still the era of 'analogue' film photography ('digital' became a commonplace only a few short years after I graduated) and I was learning my craft in a country that was not only beautiful and strange but also often threatening, unpredictable and breathtaking. My passion then, as now, was how to use photography in a creative manner, to work with this strange medium, that makes the past present all the time.


I continue to find a joy and excitement in the creative act of making a photograph, and I am grateful that I can continue to work with film, chemicals and physical processes (and to hopefully inspire new generations as their teacher). 'Digital', as useful and convenient as it is, never ensnared me despite its obvious attractions. I was already too involved to switch to a new form of image making. I was enamoured with the strange chemical negative, the silver trace, the magical mirror... 

Here's to 30 years more.... 



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