When I was 14 years old I developed my first roll of black & white film while in high school in Belgium and that was enough to get me hooked on the photographic process for life. I continued to study photography on a casual basis throughout my high school years working mostly in B&W on my old Pentax K1000: a fully mechanical camera that was incredibly reliable for many, many years.
I continued to explore the World through the lenses of my various cameras: Pentax, Nikon, Rolleis and Hasselblad in black & white negatives and colour transparencies (slide films), on paper, on screen, in books, calendars, cards and more. The photographic process changed over the years with more and more automation becoming the norm as people relinquished control of their image making to the processors in their cameras and computers. I was a very late comer to the digital photo realm and use the digital darkroom sparingly: minor adjustments to contrast, colour balance, brightness, etc...as well as image colour control from colour to B&W when an image seems better suited to the monochromatic medium.
I feel very fortunate to have learned the craft while film was still dominant: it required a much different level of commitment and expertise to photograph consistently well when using film versus digital. The digital image is much more forgiving and provides instant feedback whereas with film one needed to wait for processing in a lab before seeing any results which could take a fairly long time: you made sure that you had captured a usable image!
In 2010 I received a kidney transplant from my sister Barbara which has allowed me to begin working on my photography once more after a four year hiatus. Even with a new (to me), fully functioning kidney I still have many limitations when it comes to time & energy commitments. I have learned to work around the limitations and do whatever I can even if it is only an hour at a time. A somewhat slower process but it still gets me to where I need to be...eventually.
I recently had to close my wet B&W darkroom after over 30 years of printing my own negatives. The chemicals were just too toxic and the time required too taxing. I miss the tangible process, watching the images appear from blank white sheets of paper into various shapes, tones & contrasts to create a beautiful final product. I now use either offset printing (books & calendars) or various forms of photographic, inkjet or giclee prints depending upon the final use of the image.
My vision continues to change as I age and mature as an artist: I feel much less constrained in how I pursue my photographic work and am enjoying my new-found freedom. Rather than approach a subject or location with pre-conceived notions or ideas, I keep an open mind to new possibilities that may present themselves at any given time. I still have goals, motifs and aesthetics that I work through but I try not to allow them to limit my vision.
Living and working on Salt Spring Island on British Columbia’s west coast has had a profound impact on my view of the World at large. Growing up in Belgium, I was always exploring man-made architectural features, people or famous landmarks with signs of civilization all around. It wasn’t until I arrived on the coast in 1992 and on Salt Spring in 1993 that I developed a great appreciation for a lack of all things man-made in my subject matter. Power lines, power poles, contrails (and chemtrails) are a bit of a curse when trying to frame a photo in the natural environment. I strive to keep my pictures as honest and untouched as possible leaving the viewer with a very similar impression of each photo as I had when capturing it in situ.
Influences include but are not limited to: