Gerry Phillipson

I’ve been taking photographs since an aunt bought me a Kodak Tourist II for my twelfth birthday. I still have the negatives and prints from those first photographs. Since then, a camera has always been with me.  Digital photography moved me away from developing and printing photographs in dark rooms, however, I’ve retained my Olympus OM2n system and I’m tempted to run a few rolls of film through it. I’ve kept a note of the cameras I’ve used over the years, ranging through Olympus, Fuji, Panasonic, Sony and Nikon. I’ve now worked with  Nikon cameras.

With one knee replaced and a second threatening, I find carrying the weight of a large DSLR, lenses and tripod something of a challenge. Mirrorless with the Nikon Z6 has been liberating.

Thus far, I’ve been a generalist photographer with natural history, landscape, architecture and portraits constant interests.  To advance my photography and take it to the next level I now need to specialise and work on specific projects. I’m drawn towards Documentary,  fine art street photography and candid portraiture, series of photographs that tell a story. The Iranian photographer, Attar Abbas, sets the standard for me, “My pictures are always part of a series, an essay.  Each picture should be good enough to stand on its own but its value is a part of something larger.”

Becoming a member of the Royal Photographic Society focused and enhanced my work. In 2018 I was awarded their Licentiateship distinction.  I’m a member of the Landscape, Digital Image and Documentary Special Interest Groups which connects me to people with similar interests.

Why do I take photographs? I’ve spend many years teaching philosophy in universities. Philosophy is a quest for meaning and understanding. It occupies us with the concepts and values that determine how we relate to ourselves, to others, to the immediate world and the universe. This quest can be entirely abstract but for me it is practical and engaged. Through the use of a camera I’ve learned how to look in a new way at everything I’ve always looked at and, inevitably, I now see familiar things in a new way and many things I’ve not seen before. I don’t aim to make a record or to capture “life,” I aim to show it and let it speak for itself as did the great landscape and portrait painters. Jean Piaget said, “What we see changes what we know. What we know changes what we see.”  My photography is held in the tension of seeing and knowing.  It is a distinctive way of both observing and making contact with our wonderful but troubled world. It is philosophy in images.

 

Writing: My books are written under my middle name, Gerald Benedict. All publications are available both on Amazon and Amazon Kindle. Many of the books are available in a wide range of languages.