Which piece of your work has received the most unexpected reaction?
The Surfers series — because in terms of content and style it was a dramatic shift away from what I was known for and usually did. This was enhanced by James’ magnificent retouching! I was pleased that they were very well received and the series was selected for the 2010 AOP Awards.
What are the essential things a photographic image must achieve?
For me a photograph should leave an indelible imprint on the viewers mind. An image that will reappear, suddenly, dropped into one’s mind like a slide being dropped into a projector. A flash across your memory vision that will take you back to the moment you first saw the image. A photograph should also inspire questions, the subject matter is best not resolved, one should perhaps question the before and after of the frame. Who, why, where?
Is the role of photography changing in any way?
I think the main way photography is changing is that it is now available to everyone. No longer is it purely the hobby of the well-to-do, when a Leica or large plate camera would cost a fortune and film purchase and processing would be exorbitant. Cameras are now cheap and accessible. They are built into mobile phones or digital mp3 players. Kids are snapping perfectly resolved photographs that are well exposed, in focus and can be uploaded to the web within seconds. This can actually be a good thing – sometimes study and thought can get in the way of the simple act of triggering a lens to record.
I feel that the role of photography is not changing in the world of advertising, it is the fashion or approach or style which is changing. One second you can have what looks like a considered large format camera approach like a Steichen or the opposite like a snapped frame from Terry Richardson – in each case these are very different approaches but both are amazing in their content and have their own merit.
What would you love to be able to do with photography that’s currently impossible?
To become closer to the subject. To almost be able to step into the frame. To feel, touch, taste the environment. A bit sci-fi I know!
Whose work are you loving at the moment?
I’m looking at Taryn Simon, Sally Mann, Justine Kurland; all women I might add. All three explore very different genres of photography.
What effect is CGI and retouching having on photography today?
Good CGI and retouching opens up a new world if used with care and deft approach. But I’m a firm believer that they are tools to use with caution. They are nothing without the initial element that is a well captured image.
We’ve worked closely with Peter over the years to produce a range of fascinatingly emotive looks and feels.
Have a look through some of them below, including the AOP award-winning Surfers series: