My early days as a student in Dundee and my introduction to photography.
I was taught photography by the renowned photographer Joseph McKenzie (1929-2015, see article below) whilst studying at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee between 1979 and 1983. I initially studied Painting, but didn’t find myself attracted to the practice of oil painting in the way I thought I would and quickly moved to the Sculpture Department which was more experimental in range and media, and suited my temperament better. A chance encounter with the Photography Department led me to try a borrowed 35mm camera with a roll of black and white film. I was hooked pretty much from the moment I printed my first photograph and under Joe’s tutelage, over the next few years I created a portfolio of black and white photographs of diverse subjects (whilst simultaneously carrying on my practice-based studies in Sculpture) that earned me a studentship at the Royal College of Art in London (MA Photography 1983-85). In parallel with the creation of these images I developed a hybrid, sculptural practice of photographic installation work, initially in black and white, later moving to colour when I was in London. Following a tutorial with the legendary Bill Brandt (1904-1983) in 1983, I decided to devote myself to large-scale colour photographic installations, which have become synonymous with my work.
Below are a selection of those early works, starting with my street photographs and images made on my travels and ending with my photographic/drawing/sculpture experiments.
A series of images taken on the Whitfield estate in Dundee around 1980-81:
A series of landscapes and portraits in and around Dundee 1980-82:
Below, a series of landscapes and portraits made on my travels around Scotland (and occasionally further afield) as a student in Dundee, living the life.
I first embarked on constructed photographic works around 1983. I wanted to make more considered, sculptural pieces which were less concerned with qualities of light and the craft of printing, which had been my previous concerns. These works made the majority of my Diploma exhibition in Dundee in 1983.