My love of black and white photographs originates in my childhood. My parents had a wonderful jubilee book picturing the life and travels of King George V. I loved the gorgeous images, all in black and white, picturing the exotic places of the vast British Empire of that time and the billowing sails of the Royal Yacht Britannia in various seas. Later on it was the great North American photographers, Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, Roloff Beny, Minor White, and then Henri Cartier-Bresson who drew me into my own photography and into the whole magic of darkroom processing. I admire the minimal line and form of the black and white work of Michael Kenna, and share his love of Japan. But the fact is that beyond all the names of famous photographers, any beautiful black and white photograph is an irresistible attraction.
Photography has become a way for me to develop a sense of wonder for this world. I know very well that there is plenty of ugliness and despair out there, and there are plenty of photographs around to make sure that we never forget it. But I am drawn to the wonders of light, form, the natural world, the works of humanity, and people themselves---the extraordinary in the most ordinary. Perhaps it is the futile hope to make something of permanence out of what is by nature largely evanescent.
My present understanding may best be summed up in the most recent addition to this site, the gallery-book A Discovery of Trees. This combines photographs and textual accompaniments connected by the common theme of trees.
The gallery on mathematicians is connected with my professional life, a record of special moments with some of my friends and colleagues, most of them doing what they love most—talking mathematics—, a number of them sadly no longer with us. These are all photographs of the moment, and often more important than perfect focusing or composition it is the beautiful expressiveness and overt passion of these people that I have sought to capture.
I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us which can mold us, but which can also be affected by us. A balance must be established between these two worlds — the one inside us and the one outside us. As a result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one. And it is this world that we must communicate. - Henri Cartier-Bresson