After a lifetime working as a professional photographer I became interested in asking what photography really was, I think I was ready to look for a new connection with photography. I decided to become a mature student and completed a BA (Hons) in design and photography, a Masters in Visual Communication (Photography) and a level 7 PGCE in teaching
When professional photography kidnapped me and pulled me out of senior school I had been interested in architecture and technical drawing and so during this recent study I easily re-engaged with those subject areas and began to use photography and words to ask questions about human society and community life, and how architectural design effected those aspects.
Artona is a word made up of the last three letters of my name and the last three of my wife who is called Shona. We hope to make Artona a creative organisation that focuses it’s attention on contemporary issues that have changed, or have potential to change, the way humans live and interact with each other.
I first met Shona 37 years ago whilst working as a trainee photographer and she a trainee reporter on the Brentwood Gazette in Essex, England. We both qualified in journalism with the National Council for the Training of Journalists before moving on to work for national newspaper titles at Fleet Street and the then new Wapping. Shona has also recently completed a BA (Hons) and a Masters, both in Creative and Professional writing, and a Level 7 PGCE.
Our current working methodology is to use techniques concerned with ‘reporting with a camera and pen’, but then to go past the initial story to ask questions about, and to research stories that have, or could, impact on life.
Stories that we have researched include the concept and impact of gentrification. One example of this work is where we worked with interested students and members of the Royal Photographic Society on a project concerning ‘Park Hill: Streets in the Sky’. We visited the former Sheffield Social Housing experiment before and during redevelopment between 2015 and 2020 and in doing so formed a picture not only of the changes, but also how photographers responded to the same story.
We disseminate our work by producing photo books and creating lectures based on our research findings, there are a lot of photographs involved. We also teach research, camera and writing production skills.