I was born in 1959, in the early 70’s as shrapnel from parental collapse I arrived at a boarding school in Brighton. To begin with it was utter misery but In hindsight one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’ve never really left Brighton since and probably never will. In 1982 my eureka moment was to discover a book of photographs by Henri Cartier Bresson which was soon followed by the works of Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Andre Kertesz, Tony Ray Jones and Martin Parr. My first Leica camera was in my hand not long after and thus began a 30 year love affair with these beautiful machines. I taught myself the rudiments of developing and printing and have only ever worked in black and white.
In the early nineties after a series of trips to Eastern Europe the cameras were put on a shelf in favour and necessity of making a living, paying a mortgage, renovating a house, and three children.
Then in 2010 in a moment of “it’s not what you do you regret, it’s what you don’t do” the cameras were dusted off, I built a darkroom in the basement of my house and was hooked again. In those intervening years ‘digital’ had arrived and passed over my head, the world was now saturated with images that were quick ,easy, clean to produce. I found myself now as an anomaly and a vestige, self exiled away for hours in a small room, using time warp techniques regarded with all the reverence/suspicion of a medieval alchemist.
I have not found a definitive killer answer for my persistence with this form of image production, maybe it is nostalgic bloody mindedness but I still get a buzz from the red lit womb like world of the darkroom it is like Alice falling down a rabbit hole and entering another world. Thanks for looking at the photos, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do making them.
XX George Coles