The first one that I saw is this image of Alison (above) published in the French magazine PHOTO. The magazine has its Concours Amateurs (amateurs contest) every year, claiming to receive over 50,000 photo submissions but printing only a few hundred. This is the fifth time since 1999 that it’s printed one of my images. I had heard from someone in Europe that one of my photos had been included, but I didn’t know which one and had to wait for the magazine to hit North American newsstands before I could find out. (Congratulations, too, to my friend Dave Levingston for the publication of one of his photos.)
Regarding the photo itself, it was made on the rocky coastline of the Scottish Highlands in 2004. I was visiting my friend Alex Ingram (see his link to the right) and Alison was kind enough to ride up from her home in London to join us. Alex had made many wonderful photos of Alison and I had been waiting for the chance to work with her. Thankfully it came about this time. Alison’s a very intelligent girl but has a rather offbeat character (I like to describe her as a “goofball”) and she is absolutely fabulous to work with. I hope that I’ll get the chance to do so again, though I’ve heard that she’s working at a studio in London now and has cut back on her modeling. If I don’t, I’m happy to have worked with her for the short time that I did.
The next photo that I saw published is this image made at the Zenko-ji Buddhist temple in Nagano, Japan. It was published in The Photo Review as part of its annual photo contest issue, too. While it doesn’t have the huge international distribution of a magazine like PHOTO, it is nonetheless a very highly respected publication in fine art photography circles. I had actually been sending in photos to the contest for several years but with no luck. I had only submitted nudes, so I decided to try something different and sent in some photos of Japan instead. It worked! (As the majority of photos selected in this competition fall into the category of “social documentary,” I consider it an uphill battle with any of the photos that I like to make.)
This photo was also made in 2004. It’s a close-up of the foot of a large guardian figure standing in front of Zenko-ji. A lot of my photos, like this one, have shallow depth of field. This is caused by the combination of a big handheld camera and the need for a fast enough shutter speed, resulting in the use of a wide aperture and the shallow depth of field that goes with it. While forced to do so out of necessity, I think it also gives my images a certain look that I rather enjoy.