Artist Statement - John Simpson


“Cold hearted orb that rules the night/removes the colours from our sight/Red is grey, yellow, white/but we decide which is right/and which is an illusion.” -- Days of Future Passed/The Moody Blues

Photography is all about light – it is the physicochemical reaction between a photon of light and a grain of silver halide that permits us to capture an image on film, and to print that image on photographic paper.  The obverse of light is darkness, and the interplay of shadow and light in black and white photography makes this genre unique – pure composition, without the added distraction of color.  This is what initially drew me to black and white photography – the zen quality of the images, the yin and yang, capturing the binary nature of the universe.  Similarly, shadows – and reflections – of objects transcend their literal content and meaning, entering into the mystery of what constitutes reality.

 With my photographs, I try to distill the essence of the real world while permitting the viewer to find his or her own reality within that image.   For me, the best photographs are those that pull you into a scene and provoke an emotional response -- humor, sadness, excitement, joy, revulsion. The key is presenting viewers with subject matter they can relate to. I feel the best way to do that is in the black and white palette. What initially drew me to black and white photography was the interplay of shadow and light, and the opportunity to focus on pure composition.. Black and white photographs are like reading a book:They allow you to fill in with your imagination.

I have recently branched out from street photography to capturing places and scenes that evoke a sense of timelessness. My work is printed using a Platinum/Palladium printing process which produces prints with unique and delicate tonal scales of luminous mid tones, rich shadows and delicate highlights drawing the viewer into the scene.




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