‘Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst’.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson
Alan was sixteen years old when he picked up his first camera. Since that moment it is rare to see him without a camera at his eye. His first serious images were taken around Melbourne in 1969 when he would wait for the workers at the Melbourne docks coming off their night shift at 4.00am. In the mid 1970s and 80s Alan completed a major body of work photographing over 2000 Aboriginal children from communities throughout Central Australia, all taken with his beloved Hasselblad camera. These images now reside in the Strehlow Centre in Alice Springs as a major historical collection. His work has been featured in a travelling International Hasselblad Masters Exhibition throughout Australia and Europe and more recently in a major retrospective at the Art Gallery of Wangaratta. Many of his photos from China, Europe and Australia are infused with a social realism theme, some edged with a strong political and social protest. Others, particularly from the Australian landscape, capture the beauty and fragility of the bush. Alan’s images seek to get inside the story rather than represent it from a distance as a casual observer. He seeks the connections between the subject and the physical context. Alan’s training at RMIT in the late 1960s was steeped in Modernist design theory and his images still retain that emphasis on the carefully constructed formal picture composition. It took years for him to fully realise that there is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.