I have been a working photographer for 28 years, however my love of photography started a long time before that. My series on Varanasi/India came about literally by accident.
In 1987 I was studying photography at The Qld College of Art in Brisbane, I was 24yrs old at the time. Six months into the course I was hit by a drunk driver, the result was two broken ankles, broken knee, broken ribs and broken nose, every single limb in plaster. After almost 3 months in Hospital, and a few more operations, including learning to walk again, my body slowly healed. I was desperate to regain my former strength and really hungry to travel. India was never on my agenda but I knew some friends who were going there.
I knew I couldn’t travel on my own so I decided India was as good as anywhere. That first trip I did with a walking stick, and a very simple camera setup. I went to a few different cities in India over a couple of months. It wasn’t until I arrived in Varanasi that I felt this was my place, and I knew instantly that I wanted to come back here and document this city and tell peoples stories.
So that’s what I did, I would go back every 12-18months do a story on some part of the city or an individual. The next trip I would take some photos back and do another small project. This has led to some very great friendships and one person I documented over 21 years. India has taught me a lot of lessons, including losing all of my equipment on a train journey from hell. I learnt from it and now only travel very light.
I started this project photographing in Colour & Black & White. Early on I decided that the colour was too seductive and decided to commit to photographing in Black & White. These days I shoot a mixture of Film and Digital but always have the digital screen set to Monochrome.