On a very superficial level I really like the way gritstone looks and feels. Their surfaces are coarse and rough, often decorated with lichen and algae. I like the graffiti and pock marks, and the shadowy fissures. Some lay flat on the ground, barely exposed above the ground. Others are huge monoliths towering overhead with imposing bulk. I'm not the only artist to be drawn to these awesome monoliths. These beautiful rocks are sited in wilderness that is challenging to reach, making their study even more appealing.
A human lifetime is woefully short compared to geological timescales. Gritstone formed 320 million years before our earliest ancestors evolved. Humanity will be extinct long before these enormous stones erode, and wash into the seas.
The fabric of ancient gritstone display scars of change - of transformation from one state to another, from one place to another. And they record all that metamorphism within their bulk. They are butterflies.
Gritstone watches over the world with aloof disinterest, unmoved by the chaotic soap opera unravelling across centuries. Our little lives mean nothing in terms of geological time. Humanity has achieved greatness. We have conquered the Earth, and mastered our own fate (maybe). We might yet cross deep space, colonise distant planets, and ultimately populate entire galaxies. But such dreams do not change our fragile biological nature. We will never be as resilient or long lasting as rock.
Maybe that is why our ancestors used monoliths to build stone circles and temples, to aid them with worship, and act as cosmic markers. I am certain primitive people knew of the rocks in the Dark Peak. I think those people worshiped their gods among the stones. Possibly conducting ceremonies and sacrifices at the stones too? They have a cathedral like feel around them. The social importance of megaliths may not be so great in the modern era, but we still have an instinctive connection to them.
I am irresistibly drawn to the rocks of the Dark Peak, and I will continue to explore that relationship so long as I am physically able. Some will turn away from my work, because they will just see photos of old rocks. They are ineed old rocks, but those rocks should be valued for historic, aesthetic, and metaphysical reasons.
Born a blink ago in London (1961). I now live in Manchester UK. Worked in various sectors including Visual Arts, Print & Publishing, and Education.
I’m a parent, with two unpleasant, ungrateful, deeply offensive, adult offspring (it's not true - they're amazing people both). They each make a positive difference to the world. I love them.
Science and Nature are fascinating, but I have no qualifications in either field of study beyond my own intuitive investigations. In four years I will retire full time. I plan to continue my Art practice forever. I should know something worthwhile by then. That’s the big plan. I will have to rewrite this biography if things don’t work out.
Incidentally, I think of myself as an artist, rather than a Photographer. I love photography. Art however is the compulsion. Art is the idée fixe. I just happen to use digital photography as my core medium.
My art practice is unfunded, and I do not try to sell any of my work. I would not rule it out, but neither money or fame is my motivation. My overriding interest is to make progress with my art, and to make sense of life.
My mother still lives independently at the age of 90yrs. She's lovely, a little dotty, but actually very wise. Dad died a year ago. He was a hard worker, old school, a bully, but totally devoted to his family. He tried to be a good person, and I forgive him. Our happiest times were spent building things together.
In 2021 aged 59, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Condition.
The diagnosis was a relief, and a shock in equal dose. Knowing has explained intimate personal mysteries, and has empowered my continuing development.
Having some understanding allowed me to be kind to myself, forgive others, and move forward with my art practice. Success is all about development and forward motion.
INFLUENCE AND INSPIRATION
Hiroshi Sugimoto - Barbara Hepworth - Utagawa Hiroshige - Storm Thorgerson - Eugène Atget - Vincent Van Gogh - Henry Moore - Mark Rothko - Anselm Kiefer - Alfred Stieglitz