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It all began in Mycenae...

The first photographs I can remember making were with a Brownie box camera in 1954. I was on a camping holiday in Greece and I can still see in my mind’s eye the pictures I took of the Lion Gate in Mycenae and the Theatre at Epidauros.

Since those early days I have always had at least one camera and have always made photographs – with a short break in the early days of digital when it all seemed to become too imperfect and too impersonal to be worth the hassle.

When I switched from being a teacher to working full-time as a writer and editor, I was able to use my skills as a documentary photographer to illustrate my books. As well as working in schools in England, I did photographic projects as far afield as Pompeii and Western Kenya.

Now that I am more or less retired, I have time to explore the enormous possibilities that digital photography offers. It is a delight to work in the comfort of my study and not have to to fumble around in the cramped, dim conditions of my old darkroom with all its accompanying smells and discomfort.

Modern software applications such as Lightroom and Photoshop have opened up possibilities that we never dreamed of in the ‘good old days’ of film. They make possible creative explorations of the image that just could not have been done before, however skilful you were in the darkroom. In particular, you can create images that are beyond the scope of ‘normal’ human vision.

Photography has always been an untruthful medium. Far from the camera never lying, it lies all the time. When we use our eyes to see they are constantly on the move, building up a three-dimensional picture. The camera has a fixed ‘eye’ and captures what that ‘eye’ sees, usually in a fraction of a second. It is impossible to use a camera to reproduce what the human eye actually sees. The best photographers can do is create an impression.

And that is what I try to do in my photographs.

John Seely  MA  ARPS

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