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"I do what I feel, that's all. I am an ordinary photographer working for his own pleasure. That's all I've ever done." - Andre Kertesz

I've loved taking photos over the last thirty years. That's not to say I was photographing all that time. Far from it. There have been periods of intense focus alongside vast gaps of shooting nothing. However, my continuous curiosity and effort to take worthy pictures has never waned.


I vividly recall the enormous satisfaction I felt after seeing a photo taken on my first camera while travelling overseas at the age of eleven with my parents. I had created a colour photo of a ship in the harbour of Flåm, Norway, with bright flowers in the foreground. I think what gave me the most satisfaction was the success in capturing a deliberately composed picture of what I was seeing at the time with reasonable accuracy. Fast forward fifteen years and I started to take more interest in photography by experimenting with composition of light and shapes. I enjoyed using black and white film for these concepts, being drawn to its simplicity, graininess and hint of glamour.


My attraction to black and white pictures was obvious when I travelled with very few rolls of colour film on overseas holidays in my twenties and early thirties. I found it challenging, though, to recreate in pictures what I was seeing when shooting landscapes on these holidays. Eventually I felt like black and white film had seduced me but failed to live up to expectations. Fortunately, in 1997 I was able to move to New York City to live for three years. This is where I found something - my love for street photography. There are few cities in the world that present endless subject matter for photography. Not only that, black and white film is perfect to capture the sights, sounds and emotions of the city.


Armed with newly purchased cameras and lenses, I'd spend hours walking the streets of New York shooting what I saw as interesting juxtapositions, shapes, lighting plays and movement. I was besotted with grainy and highly contrasted pictures to best represent what I was seeing and feeling at the time. It was exhilarating watching these come to life in the darkroom where I spent hours experimenting with chemicals and papers in the development process.


Colour transparencies, for greater tonal richness over negatives, were used as a secondary source of capture as there are scenes in New York that are best shot in colour. So, I had to also keep colour rolls in my camera bag. However, trips to America's national parks while living in New York made me realise it's OK to simultaneously shoot in colour and black and white. It was during those trips that I began to enjoy seeking out and photographing landscapes in colour.


My time in America, particularly New York, was profound. I left there at the end of the century with a new-found favourite photographic genre and a resurrection of colour photos, particularly for a burgeoning interest in landscapes. Since then, overseas trips with the family and personal odysseys for pure indulgence to take photos have been the source of many amazing photographic experiences. These are represented here in my essential streetscape and landscape photographs - in colour and black and white.

Simon Wrigley

Melbourne, Australia

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