It wasn’t until I was in my fifties that I took the risk of leaving a safe job in social work to become a photographer. I didn’t even know if this is what I wanted to be. But I did know that I liked making pictures. In 1996, I made the fortuitous decision to take one of the newly formed studios at the Chocolate Factory in N. London and over the years I have developed two picture-making pathways.
A natural outcome of my enjoyment and curiosity about people generally has led to my becoming primarily, a portrait photographer and I am building various portfolios which include: local people of Crouch End; my neighbours at Chettle Court, the council estate where I live; communists and people whose lives are lived politically in the interest of ordinary people. I work both in the old way using medium format film and printing my own black and white pictures, as well as making digital colour portraits.
The direct realism of the photograph, however, gives me limited scope to express the more complex aspects of life, involving feelings, experience, politics and the ideas that I have. Having a studio seemed to give me a permission I longed for in my life, to make pictures of all sorts. Working so close to other artists has been encouraging and inspiring. My artwork is influenced by the countryside, and politics but most importantly, it is more spontaneous than my photography. ‘Projects’ have consisted of studies of a piece of coral I found lying on a Cuban beach, drawings of places on holidays, and painting portraits. An on-going project is creating a kind of sculpture of my own life and personality by putting pictures - both found images, and created by me - onto children’s play bricks, the bricks being a metaphor of building & growth.