Photography has always played an important part in my work for stage and page.
Goats on the Roof, (short story, Gutter Magazine 2012) took shape as I looked at an untitled 1954 photograph by W.Eugene Smith and wondered what lay beyond its frame. The Dark Room (The Arches Theatre 1999) was a play inspired by Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, and by the origins of that ground-breaking collective of international photographic storytellers, Magnum.
Tick One Box (Ankur Productions 2014) delved into the family photo album, while the starting point of another play, One Straight Line (A Play A Pie & A Pint, 2011) was the work of artist/ photographer Richard Long. A brief but crucial episode in my first novel Blessed Assurance, (Vagabond Voices, tbc 2018/19) concerns a late night encounter between the 11 year protagonist, Joseph Kirkland and a mysterious American landscape photographer.
Going back further, when I went to East 15 Acting School in the 80s, the book at the top of the recommended reading list was not, as you might expect, Stanislavsky’s An Actor Prepares, but the seminal work of art criticism, Ways of Seeing by John Berger, whose lifelong fascination photography is well known. Imagine my delight then, when immediately upon leaving East 15 I was lucky enough to work with John Berger and his long-time collaborator, photographer Jean Mohr, on Tim Neat’s award winning Play Me Something. (see below), a film which celebrates, among other things, photography and storytelling.
I make photographs for musicians, performers, poets, publishers, theatre, television festivals, individuals and collectives. But mostly I make photographs to satisfy my restless curiosity and to chronicle events.
“Well, I am a dilettante. It’s only in England that dilettantism is considered a bad thing. In other countries it’s called interdisciplinary research.” Brian Eno