On Simplicity

I don’t do that much work in a studio environment, but for certain things, the control and simplicity offered can obviously be just right.

In my first couple of years at Newport (on the Documentary Photography course), I was fascinated by Richard Avedon’s In The American West. The stark directness of those images immediately fascinated me - they were so unlike anything i’d ever seen before (even the book itself is something else - it’s about 14x11 inches, with over 180 pages - as Trump would say, “It’s Yuuuuge.”).

It immediately influenced the way I made work; the idea that you could so effectively isolate your subject and remove all of the complexity of context, was very seductive (especially for someone who struggled with a lot of the new ideas introduced at Newport).

After making a couple of projects using this approach, I inevitably became even more enthralled with other photographer’s work (one of the best thing’s about Newport was it’s incredible library), and decided to move on. But it remains, for me, a vital lesson in the power of simplicity, which is something I still make a conscious effort to incorporate in to my work.