TPL: What does photography mean to you? Describe your style. Where or how do you find inspiration?
PC: When I first stepped into the school photographic darkroom and saw that first image emerge in the developing tray, it wasn’t just magic, it wasn’t just amazing – it was something else. It justified a feeling I had always had. A hunch. A longing. A belief that there was more to this world than meets the eye. It was as if the photo saw it all clearly, it was like the photo knew more than I did. An alternate reality. I still get that same feeling. It’s what drives me.
When I made my first short film, I remember my brother seeing it and saying “It’s like your living room wall, but moving.” He meant my filmmaking images strongly reflected my style in stills. It set me thinking. It has been said about my films that there is a ‘signature look’ to my work. But it’s very dangerous to become too conscious of that. At its best, your ‘signature’ look should be something you can’t help, rather than something you strive for. It should be who you are.
Other photographers inspire me! Sometimes I look at their wonderful work (including recently on The Pictorial List, I swear!) and I think “Wow, they are taking the photographs I should be taking, if only I pushed myself.” I never copy, it’s not like that. It just gives me so much pleasure to see other photographers’ work when it is honest, authentic and personal to them.
And, of course, faces inspire me.