Capturing the moment, creating the memories: following Henry James’s advice, I try to be one “on whom nothing is lost.”
The first photograph I recall being taken was by my father of my mother, brother and me. It was the spring of 1969 and just before being driven to begin boarding school. He used a Polaroid Instamatic. The photo slid out from the bottom and materialised. Years later, I used the image as the basis of the painting, Mother and Sons. As with writing and painting, I take photos to retain moments, events, sights: people, wildlife and places. I use a Canon 100 or smartphone. Sometimes I combine the two by editing the Canon photo with the phone. Excused by the company of Gerhard Richter, and Vermeer with his camera obscura, I often use photographs as reference for painting. My only rule is that, unless I’m the subject, it should be my own photograph. In all cases—writing, painting and photography — it’s your unique perspectives, the things you notice, that reveal your worldview to others. Nowadays, too, we can all edit our own photographs so, for me, oil painting, writing and photography feel akin: process as well as spontaneity.