Photography has the ability to make people immortal. The creation of versions of loved ones, or strangers, invests the photographer with enormous power. One only has to note the way physical copies of photographs are preserved, secreted in wallets, within boxes on shelves or bags, and handled with practiced care to appreciate their potency. This power of is hypnotic to me. The relationship and meaning of holding and carrying around a physical photograph cannot be underestimated. I know this to be true from my own experience.
My father died when I was a baby, and I have carried around the only photograph of us together in existence. Although he is cut half out of the frame, this tattered, decaying image brings solace - a reminder of someone who once existed that I never knew. Nothing is more tragic in death than an obituary that contains the chilling phrase, 'no known photographs exist'. For the most part, we all end up as a collection of photographs.
There is now a well known paradox. The explosion of photography and digital media, its democratisation and the lowered price of creating images has rendered the physical form image a great deal more fragile. We are in danger of whole generations growing up without family albums. Loved ones will no longer be immortal. People choose not to print. I find this painful.
I bought my first camera, a Minolta x700 when I was 12, setting up a dark room in the laundry much to my mother's dismay. She evidently thought photography was just a phase adolescent girls go though. I was not permitted to study photography at secondary school.
I went on to graduate with an Undergraduate Degree in Biochemistry and Genetics, Post Graduate in Criminology and in Small Business Management. I worked in the Criminal Justice System for 6 years managing offender suicide and death reports, compiling a sex offender register, managing interstate parole transfers and writing ministerial briefing papers.
I put photography to one side in this period - prioritising an institutionally defined career and moved countries. I sold and traded cameras to pay rent, tuition and one-way tickets to London and Paris.
And then, in April 2005, I finally decided to follow my passion and become a a full time photographer.