first Wilderness walk was in 1974, with borrowed boots a borrowed coat
and a borrowed pack. I was introduced to "Bushwalking" by a friend from
work, Michael Higgins. My camera hardly left my pack during the long
week-end in June as it is not known for it’s good weather. Snow, sleet,
rain and hail is the norm for that time of year. Following that bleak
introduction it could only get better and in the next 2 years it seemed
I took every opportunity to travel through Tasmania’s Wild areas. Many of the tracks had
yet to be discovered by the average walker. A few years later tracks
that we almost became lost on in earlier years became treacherous and soggy bogs,
sometimes looking like a 4 wheel drive track. In July of 1976 my hiking 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 6cm negatives. 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. At the time Frank Ellis offered to sponsor me he assumed (and said as much) that I already had a degree in 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 lecturer - it was nice flattery, but I did not take them up on the offer.
From the humble beginnings at the Library I was offered 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 magazines published material over the following 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 manufactured my own dissolve and multi screen projection units (with considerable technical assistance from a good friend, Tim Arnold) as well as producing several shows with this gear. And then along came kids. My wonderful partner Carol and I met in 1978 and we married the following year.
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 other 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 gear and consumables for my early 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. This was 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 past. 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 way forward 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 pursue an all digital path. With noted exceptions the images on this web site are from a digital camera. Since 2004 I have been exclusively digital. I broke the bank by purchasing a Fuji S2 Digital SLR and several new lens'. An Epson R1800 archival quality printer (now dumped), powerful computers and Adobe Photoshop rounded out the digital capabilities. Of course this technology seems to need constant refreshing. I now own a full frame Nikon D800 36 Megapixel beasty and some top quality lens,
Travel has become an important part of our lives. I do continue the
occasional sojourn into the Tasmanian bush although as the knees wear
out coastal trips are becoming quite appealing There
have been many overseas trips to places such as New Zealand,
The United States, Morocco, and England. An overland trip from Cairo to
Istanbul and a another overland trip of 3 months in South America in
2012 . 2013 saw Carol and I do an overland trip from Beijing to
Istanbul along the central Silk Road and of course other parts of
Australia. Age 65 looms in a couple of years and I am starting to feel a mid life crisis approaching
Revisit many of my favourite places and capture new images in digital. Improve the website, write and publish. Oh ! and start taking pictures of my grown up kids.